On Feb. 19, 2019, the Howard County Board of Education voted to approve the 2020 operating budget, agreeing to a budget of $972.7 million. However, the approved budget is $25.7 million less than HCPSS superintendent Dr. Michael J Martirano’s proposal, as he proposed $998.4 million for the 2020 fiscal year.
The money for the budget will come from Howard County, totaling $772.9 million, the state of Maryland, at $257.8 million, and additional sources, adding $17.1 million. Part of the budget will include $37 million to pay for the school system’s deficit, an issue that the county has been dealing with since 2011. The deficit recently shrank from the predicted deficit of $50 million to $37 million for the end of the 2017-2018 fiscal year, meaning that this plan could mean an end to this major issue.
Dr. Martirano stated that he has no issue with the changes to his proposal and that both he and the Board “have a responsibility to define [the school system’s] needs.”
He says he is thanks the Board and the community for working together to make sure the past few years that he worked as superintendent went well.
“Thanks to the strong leadership of our Board, the dedication of our excellent staff, and the partnership of our committed community, we are no longer a system in crisis. We have navigated together beyond the most turbulent waters and reached a position of far greater strength and stability,” said Dr. Martirano.
The proposed FY 2020 budget is a massive increase compared to previous years, being $65.9 million greater than the $906.8 million budget proposed by the Board of Education for the 2019 fiscal year.
Martirano explained that the FY (Fiscal Year) 2020 budget “is built on the foundation of the student-centered practices, inclusive relationships and responsive and efficient operations that form the core of our strategic call to action.”
Some students have opinions as to whether or not the budget the Board proposed would be enough for the 2020 school year.
“I feel like Martirano’s proposal is better. From what I hear, the school needs more money because of the deficit,” said Mt. Hebron senior Gavin Moore.
Howard County Executive Calvin Ball will propose his budget on April 22, 2019 and the final budget will be voted on by the Howard County Council on May 29, 2019.
While the final budget chosen for the 2020 year will most likely be less than what either Martirano or the Board of Education wants, Martirano has high hopes that the final budget will be capable of handling any financial issues the school system might face next school year. He also stated that he has a lot of faith in the students and community members of Howard County.
“Our school system and community have overcome the hurdles of recent years and we now look ahead with a clear path forward. Through this budget, we have articulated the need to sustain the caliber of educational programs, services and facilities that give our students the best opportunities in life, and that have long been the hallmark of our county. We firmly believe that, by valuing our students, families and colleagues, we will establish the strong connections that will lead students to the high levels of success and achievement articulated in our strategic call to action.”