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Foose Presents $721 Million Budget

The budget is an increase of 2.5 percent over the fiscal year 2013 budget.

 

Howard County Schools superintendent Renee Foose presented a $721 million operating budget to the Board of Education Thursday that includes cuts in transportation and supplies while adding funds to pay for new staff, higher enrollment and mandatory increases in employee benefits and retirement costs.

The proposed fiscal year 2014 budget is a 2.5 percent, or $17.4 million, increase over the fiscal year 2013 operating budget. The $489.4 million requested from the county makes up about 68 percent of the budget, and is a 1.5 percent increase from fiscal year 2013, according to Foose.

There are a total of $9.9 million in cuts from transportation funds, supplies and the elimination of 12 positions through attrition, when retirees' positions are left vacant or filled with less senior staff.

The cuts will pay for mandatory increases resulting in a shift in teacher pension costs from the state to the local level, a move mandated by the General Assembly, according to school administration.

Those costs include a $15.5 million increase in the cost of employee health and dental benefits allocated in the proposed budget. Other mandatory increases include a $3.3 million shift of pension responsibilities from the state to the county, a $537,000 increase in social security funds and a $115,000 increase for car insurance.

Included in the budget request is also the addition of about 68 positions to handle the expected enrollment growth of 550 new students.

Twenty-five positions are also proposed to staff the upcoming new elementary school that will open on Duckett's Lane in Elkridge in August of 2013 and the new middle school scheduled to open in 2014. Ten positions have been proposed for program enhancements.

Salary costs are expected to rise by $268,240 in the proposed budget, or less than one percent, according to the administration.

"This is essentially a Maintenance of Effort budget," said Foose in a statement. "It does have several changes that reflect our highest priorities: to support all teachers in the classroom and ensure that all students are prepared for college and high wage careers."

Approximately 88 percent of the budget, or $617.5 million, is used to pay salary and benefits for school employees.

Along with the figures in the budget, Foose presented goals and targets for the school system. The goals include students meeting performance standards regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, disability or socio-economic status and providing a safe environment for students.

The two targets indentified are ensuring 100 percent of students are proficient in English and math as well as that 95 percent of high school graduates are college and career ready within four years.

"Over the past several years, we have seen exponential growth in the number and proportion of students impacted by poverty," said Foose, in a statement. "Our schools must adapt to meet the needs of our evolving student population. I am committed to giving teachers the resources they need, so that their time can be spent in the classroom helping every student achieve."

Paul Lemle, the president of the Howard County Education Association, which represents school staff, said one of his organization's goals is to discuss how the multi-million dollar surplus in the health insurance account is used.

"The superintendent has been very public about her intention to make Howard's educators the highest paid in the state," wrote Lemle in an email. "This would obviously make the school system even stronger in terms of its ability to attract and retain the best K-12 professionals in the country."

He noted the surplus is partially owned by school system employees because they make an annual contribution to the fund based on their health benefits.

The Board of Education will hold a hearing on the proposed operating budget on Jan. 31, then conduct several work sessions and eventually vote on the budget by Feb. 21. It is then sent to the County Executive before being voted on by the County Council in May.

To view a more comprehensive breakdown of the budget proposal view the executive summary attached in the photos above.

Leslie Kornreich January 04, 2013 at 05:08 PM
How many actual teachers are staffing the new elementary school in Elkridge? Twenty five staff seems a little low, resulting in some high class sizes.
bill bissenas January 04, 2013 at 05:30 PM
"The superintendent has been very public about her intention to make Howard's educators the highest paid in the state," wrote Lemle in an email. "This would obviously make the school system even stronger in terms of its ability to attract and retain the best K-12 professionals in the country." So foose is a willing tool of the union? From the statement above, my prediction of scam is confirmed. The schools are already "performing" so the union wants to dump more of our property into its coffers. The unions (and Dems, they're synonymous) will take from you as much of your property as you let them.
David Holdefer January 05, 2013 at 04:46 PM
I don't think so Bill, the teachers have not had much of a salary raise since 2008. The article said that the salary budget item goes up less than one percent. My prporty assessment went up 31%
David Holdefer January 05, 2013 at 04:47 PM
"Salary costs are expected to rise by $268,240 in the proposed budget, or less than one percent, according to the administration."
Susie Que January 05, 2013 at 09:07 PM
i risk by stating this but somehow when someone promises a plan to help those living in poverty I would like to know what it is. I have bumped into many individuals who ive in HC many have been ignored and alienated and I want to know where and specifically how are they going to be helped? No one wants to acknowledge this issue so far and it seems to be stagnant. They have no voice or if they do is anyone listening. I guess no one really cares until something happens to them. I am greatful but concerned for my family and myself. It would sure be comforting to know that the poor knew that helping those living even below proverty level has assistance in vocational training, career assessment, paying rent, paying bills, food, doctor's bills... It is not that these people are lazy it is the way it is and something can be done about. SO what is the plan not lip service the plan.
MG42 January 05, 2013 at 10:40 PM
Totally agree. Many teachers have worthless liberal arts degrees and would be unemployed if they had to get a real job in the private sector. Teachers have to be the most overrated professionals ever. And I say this as a product of HoCo public schools.
McGibblets January 06, 2013 at 05:20 AM
"The two targets indentified are ensuring 100 percent of students are proficient in English and math as well as that 95 percent of high school graduates are college and career ready within four years." College ready and career ready are two different things, sadly college does little to create career ready citizens. Rather it saddles them with debt so they can move back home with mom and dad and bartend or wait tables.
McGibblets January 06, 2013 at 05:23 AM
"Proficient" According to who? Teachers curve and kids slack off knowing they'll pass because the school, teachers and Foose herself have to look good. The grades and 'proficiency' will be there, whether the money is or not.
Jack January 06, 2013 at 06:02 AM
I wonder what magic words Foose will utter to conjure this illusion and if she will waive a magic wand and throw ferry dust. College ready was a blatant failure with a graduation rate which may be in the low 20 percential and the idea the hcpss can produce career ready from their empty cupboards is a fantasy. I guess that is what hapens when the BOE trolls the bottom. Foose only made 162 thousand a year ago in Montgomery county. I guess she assumes everyone in Howard county is stupid.
Jack January 06, 2013 at 06:07 AM
"elimination of 12 positions through attrition, when retirees' positions are left vacant or filled with less senior staff." To retire overpaid incompetence and replace them with her inexperienced friends. There is a word for that, the shaft.
Jack January 06, 2013 at 06:09 AM
That makes sense, give Elkridge 2 schools in the wrong place and not staff them. I don't think the hcpss cares about Elkridge.
Jack January 06, 2013 at 06:15 AM
"transportation funds" Now this is a good one. They are talking about almost a million dollars after they figure in the huge jump in operating cost. Think about this. that is well over a million dollars a year in waste in just one area. If the hcpss was this incompetent to be able to identify over a million dollars in waste in transportation than it is everywhere.
Jack January 06, 2013 at 06:19 AM
I really do not believe Foose is capable of producing a budget of this size. She should start small like with the 25 thousand the BOE overpaid her to move to Howard county which she gauranteed us she would be transparent about. Where is it?
Jack January 06, 2013 at 06:22 AM
"Approximately 88 percent of the budget, or $617.5 million, is used to pay salary and benefits for school employees" You really have to look at this because it is staggering.
David Holdefer January 06, 2013 at 04:26 PM
Jack you appear to have quite an ax to grind, Howard County has the number school system in the state and Maryland is the top school system in the country. Teachers are the key. What better to spend money on than the heighest quality teaching staff anywhere?
Jack January 06, 2013 at 06:04 PM
David Holdefer, Prove the hcpss is the top school system in the country? Have the hcpss prove they are? The only wat this is posible is to accept one step from the bottom as acceptable. jack
David Holdefer January 06, 2013 at 07:56 PM
http://www.edweek.org/ew/qc/2012/16src.h31.html Maryland Ranked Number 1 "Maryland schools ranked number one — again" http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/maryland-schools-insider/post/maryland-schools-ranked-number-one--again/2012/01/11/gIQA7NEqrP_blog.html Maryland’s public school system achieved top-in-the-nation status for the fourth consecutive year, according to an analysis of state-by-state education policies and student achievement being released Thursday. (1/12/12) http://www.usnews.com/education/best-high-schools/maryland/districts/howard-county-public-schools Maryland's Howard County Public Schools contains 12 high schools. The district contains 10 schools that received gold, silver, or bronze medals in U.S. News's Best High Schools rankings.
Jack January 06, 2013 at 10:59 PM
Of the 1,000 plus students we send HCC each year 71% need remedial ed and in 3 years only 13% graduate. Hmmmmmm. Not much beter in 4 year schools where I believe we are in the low 20 percential for college graduates after 6 years. Hmmmmm. So much for college ready and now the hcpss is going to conjure the illusion of career ready with empty cupboards. Hmmmmm Your last link of our 12 high schools demonstrates the segregation in our schools as well as the lack of equity. I have no problem congratulating you on being top of the deteriorating American educational dung heap. I do believe these children deserve far beter and embracing deception is not the answer. Teaching to the test, the watered down state assessments which are some of the easiest in the nation. Our watered down curriculum, we do not teach Algebra1, we teach Algebra1/Data Analysis which is only 40% of what once was required in Algebra1. Please, show us something real. Explain how our children score in the 90 percential all through K-12 and the majority walk out in the world unable to survive. The majority do not graduate college and they have no marketable skills. jack
David Holdefer January 06, 2013 at 11:57 PM
Jack - There is old saying, "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make them drink." Howard County public schools provide an outstanding education that is tops in the state and country, but we can't make them graduate from college. I don't believe Bill Gates graduated from college. I would guess that Howard County graduates are admitted into the best colleges in the country and most are very well-prepared.
Jack January 07, 2013 at 12:42 AM
No, the hcpss says it sends 90% of our children to college and they have almost nothing in the way of career training. Most of these children do show up at college. When almost 80% do not succeed than the problem is in the preparation. Be honest, after 13 years in public school and the whole herd is sent to water where they walk away in debt, they were unprepared. jack Go back to your last link. In general the wealthier the school the beter the results.
Truthful January 07, 2013 at 03:36 AM
David H. The avg household income in MD is $70,000yr. Thats everyone in the house for 12 months of work.The avg individual teacher in Howard county makes almost $80,000 a year for 9 months of work, every weekend off, done by 3:30pm the latest, every holiday, and Bentley benefits without any accountability! AAAnd we are not ranked number 1 in the nation. The org that ranks us does not just account for academics, they add in all kinds of pay and social crap. If you read your own link you will see that although we score high-by their standards-we have a much larger than avg acheivement gap for minorities! If they just look at overall academics, we are not number 1!
bill bissenas January 07, 2013 at 03:28 PM
Does that include all benes? Do you have a link?
bill bissenas January 07, 2013 at 03:29 PM
As long as the progressives and their union allies hold power in HoCo, they will take a greater share of your property from you. Always.
bill bissenas January 07, 2013 at 03:31 PM
Exactly. And I've never been able to find any refined statistics for that 90 percent. It likely includes any and all post high school education, including those who intend but don't actually attend college. It's another HoCo scam.
bill bissenas January 07, 2013 at 04:19 PM
We have no way of knowing whether HoCo grad succeed. I've not seen any data to support success. To the extent HoCo students succeed, it is b/c of the families, not the teachers. And such success is independent of excess spending. To bring it in line with average per student spending, HoCo needs to cut its budget by $200 million.
Jack January 07, 2013 at 06:28 PM
In the RTTT-D grant application, Deputy Superintendent Wise said 90% of students prior to graduation surveyed said they wanted to continue their education. This is completely different than the claim on the hcpss website which states 90% continue which is posted as a measure of succes and is blatant deception.
Truthful January 07, 2013 at 08:11 PM
It does not include benefits! Its easy to google. Census.

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