ELLICOTT CITY, MD – As Immediate Past President of the Maryland Association of Counties (MACo), Howard County Executive Calvin Ball today will join his fellow MACo Board members testify in support of Senate Bill 1026 - Transparency in Education Spending Act. If passed, Senate Bill 1026 would require the Maryland State Board of Education to develop and adopt a process for the uniform and timely reporting and public display of local board of education budget data.

As Howard County Executive and a former educator, I am fully committed to implementing the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future to enhance the excellence of our Howard County Public School System (HCPSS). During the past five years, we have provided nearly $130 million above the state required Maintenance of Effort (MOE) as total enrollment remained steady. In the 2023-2024 school year, HCPSS’ total enrollment was 55,992 students, which is fewer than the 56,405 students during the 2019-2020 school year. While local governments have no authority or decision-making over school budgets, this transparency proposed by Senate Bill 1026 would assist us with better understanding the full financial needs of HCPSS, especially as we work towards implementing the pillars of the Blueprint.

Calvin Ball
Howard County Executive

Ball sent the Howard County Board of Education a letter yesterday asking for clarification on the distribution of historic record funding, as enrollment throughout HCPSS is stagnant. In the 2020-2021 school year, enrollment in HCPSS has declined due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and for four consecutive years, these enrollment numbers have remained stagnant (see graph). 

Additionally, in the past two years alone, Howard County provided funding to HCPSS that exceeded MOE levels by more than $116 million, which is one of the highest in the state. Due to its commitment to public education, Howard County invested historic levels of funding and grew per pupil spending by nearly 20 percent, despite declines in enrollment (see graph). 

Our record investments in education show our ongoing dedication to our students, educators and community. However, while doing so, we must establish responsible and transparent fiscal policies so that we can responsibly balance the current needs of our community and plan for the future of Howard County.

Calvin Ball
Howard County Executive

In addition to Howard County’s five years of historic investment, HCPSS also received more than $120 million in aid through the Federal Government’s Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Aid Relief (ESSER) program since Fiscal Year 2021. This one-time funding was targeted to sustain the safe operation of schools and to assist students greatly impacted by learning loss from the COVID-19 pandemic. Like many local governments across Maryland, Howard County has limited awareness of how HCPSS chose to allocate these funds, including how much was used to cover recurring costs.

With these substantial levels of investment, Howard County and our community deserve clarity and collaboration between funding partners and local school boards. Senate Bill 1026 would help increase clarity and understanding by providing local governments and communities with more complete and timely education spending information. Additionally, Senate Bill 1026 will equip local governments with the tools necessary to better anticipate education costs and budget responsibly.

Media Contacts
Safa Hira, Director of Communications

Stay Connected!

Sign up for the County Executive's weekly newsletter and stay up to date on everything Howard County.

Zip Code