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Friday  •  February 7, 2020

$33 Million in Cuts Being Considered for Proposed HCPSS FY21 Budget

By Steven Keller

This week, the Board of Education met for their work session to discuss the FY21 operating budget. Instead of recommending a budget based on school needs, BOE member Jen Mallo recommended cutting $33 million from Superintendent Martirano’s proposed budget (since that was all that she thought that County Executive Ball would give them) and the Board passed this controversial motion in a 4-3 decision (Mallo, Ellis, Taj, and Wu voted yes).


The “savings” that they are considering include:

1) $7M for a 2 year-phase-in of the 217 Special Education positions


2) $5M by freezing new enrollment staffing


3) $2.4M by eliminating 36 Middle School GT positions


4) $10M by increasing class size by 1+


5) $1.4M by cutting Elementary Band/Strings (21 FTEs)


These proposed cuts only adds up to ~$25.8 million, which means that the Board is still looking for an additional $7.2 million in order to reach the needed $33 million in total savings.


The Board of Education will be holding an additional work session next Tuesday, February 11th at 12:00 PM. Please take a moment to write an email to the BoE, the County Council and County Executive and share your thoughts on these proposed cuts.


Is there really nothing else to cut from bloated areas of the budget (e.g. transportation!!!) to free up funding for critical student services such as desperately needed special education staff & resources and enriching student programs such as middle school gifted & talentedmiddle school music sectionals, elementary schools strings/band, and overall class sizes?


As many, including some Board members, have pointed out: the County Executive and the County Council will not provide funds that our board does not request.


Why is there no discussion of renegotiating health care contracts and why is the superintendent’s proposed raises for admin and staff accepted as-is regardless of what student programs and supports need to be cut?

Why was the redistricting process completed in a bubble and not analyzed in terms of cost and comparison of its impact on students, particularly compared to the cuts to student programs and supports that now must happen to pay for the transportation costs?

These are questions that the Board should be discussing publicly.

Want to discuss this topic with other Howard County residents?


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