Thursday, February 26, 2015

Howard County Board of Education Approves $776M Budget Request

The big news this week is that the Howard County Board of Education approved their budget request (5-2), which will now be passed on to the County Executive.  Weighing in at $776.3 million, this budget request is approximately $17 million more than FY2015.  Here are some numbers for historical comparison:

FY2016 $776.3M for ???? students ($5.7M over Maintenance of Effort)
FY2015 $758.8M for 53,157 students (?? MoE)
FY2014 $725.3M for 52,595 students ($8.0M over MoE)
FY2013 $703.7M for 51,996 students (MoE Level Funding)
FY2012 $683.8M for 50,062 students (MoE Level Funding)

Notably, the approval of this budget request coincided with the re-election of Paul Lemle as HCEA President, in the context of allegations that the Administration and Board were meddling in the election of union leadership.  I've yet to see solid proof of this, but I will say that I've seen enough to believe that "something is up".  I'll add that it would be entirely inappropriate for representatives of the Board or Administration to involve themselves in any way with HCEA elections and may merit Board investigation to ensure that this is not the case.

I mention Mr. Lemle's re-election because HCEA is taking their case to the public to explain their concerns regarding this Budget Request:

Dear friends, colleagues, and community members,
The Board of Education voted today to adopt a $780M budget that cuts vital services in media and kindergarten even as enrollment increases by over 1600 students.  The discussion now centers on the new Governor, County Executive, and County Council—and we need to keep advocating for our students.

Please join HCEA for an open community meeting on Tuesday, March 3rd, 5PM in the Centennial HS cafeteria.  We will clarify the impact of the cuts and develop strategy for the next part of the process.  RSVP here to give us an idea of how much pizza we need!

School Superintendent Renee Foose will soon publish her Executive Summary and official Budget Request, which I will post here.  I don't find myself competent to digest this Request in any meaningful way other than to provide numbers for comparison and note the Educator Union's concern with respect to the same.

That's all for today.  Have a great Thursday doing what you love!