On Thursday, the Howard County Times published an article highlighting the County Executive’s education budget.
In it, the HCT details what it called the “mismatch” between HCPSS initial budget request and the Kittleman Administration’s “tempered” budget, which includes as much as $10 million in new funds.
For the second year in a row, County Executive Allan Kittleman is directly appropriating funding for negotiated salary increases, classroom resources and special education — including a 2 percent salary increase for educators negotiated by the local teacher’s union.
“Education continues to be my top priority,” Kittleman said Wednesday, noting that two-thirds of the county’s general fund money goes toward education, which includes support for libraries, Howard Community College and the school system.
In February, the school board added an additional $3.5 million to Foose’s overall state and county budget request, bringing the total request to a record-high $872.4 million — $64 million more than the amount local lawmakers approved last year.
Paul Lemle, president of the Howard County Education Association, applauded Kittleman’s appropriations for negotiated salary increases and urged local lawmakers to “restore” funding for a diversity coordinator and support staff in kindergarten classes and media.
The county’s proposal remains $2.3 million over state-mandated minimum funding, also known as maintenance of effort. County government must spend as much local money per pupil as they did the year before to qualify for state aid.
Howard County currently spends the second highest amount per student in Maryland – approximately $10,140 per pupil, second only to Worcester County.
— Allan H. Kittleman (@HoCoGovExec) April 21, 2017
The Howard County Public School System initially requested a record $626 million from the County for use in 2018. This amount was $23 million dollars above estimated revenue growth of $41 million, calculated by the County and the Spending Affordability Committee which is made up of local citizens and acts as local advisory committee on fiscal matters.
The Howard County Times reported that the committee encouraged the school system to “acknowledge the reality of a limited resource increase and actively look into other options beyond significant funding increases to address service needs.”
Citizens can support the County Executive’s budget by testifying before the Howard County Council on Monday, April 24th at 7pm in the George Howard Building in Ellicott City.
To read the Howard County Times’ article in it’s entirety, click here.