Saturday, January 5, 2013

Foose a Financial Dynamo

Get Renee Foose to the State House!

You've probably read the news this week that School Superintendent Renee Foose has submitted her first proposed operating budget for Howard County Schools, coming in at $721.3 million, which constitutes a $17.4 million (2.4%) increase from FY2012's $703.7 million operating budget.  But here's the impressive part, that $17.4 million includes a $15.5 million pension shift.  Most Superintendents would have been well within their rights to craft their Budget in a vacuum and then put the pension shift allocations on top with a shrug.  Instead, Superintendent Foose made significant cuts to limit the increase to 2.4%.

And that's not all!  There's a new Elementary School opening in FY13.  Ducketts Lane Elementary School in Elkridge, opening this August, will require 68 new employee positions.

And on top of that...Howard County is projected to have 550 more students next year than we did in FY12.   Howard County spends approximately $10,000 per pupil on education costs.  Admittedly, we're getting into some funky math when you consider that the entire Operating Budget makes up that per pupil spending, but the 550 increase (multiplied by $10,000) is $5.5 million to start.  Add that to the $15.5 million in pension shift, and you have a $21 million increase, without any concern as to regular inflation, enhanced technology, or infrastructure upgrades.  Superintendent Foose's Budget limits the increase to $17.4 million.  There's a great public information page about the FY13 Budget here.

How much is the cab fare from Ellicott City to Annapolis?

*Sarah Toth did a great job on this piece, pulling together all of the important parts.  Kudos, again, to the great group of local reporters and editors we have in this County.