Howard County Executive Calvin Ball today announced that his landmark proposed Fiscal Year 2025 (FY25) Operating Budget includes $1.14 billion in funding dedicated to the Howard County Public School System (HCPSS). This pivotal investment includes sufficient funding for the school system’s Elementary School Gifted and Talented program, 3rd grade strings program, Environmental Education Program at the Howard County Conservancy, the Summer Black Student Achievement Program and the Mathematics Engineering and Science Achievement program. Photos of the event can be seen here.


Here in Howard County, we know that education empowers and our investments in our children, families, educators and staff are critical. As we strive to meet the needs of all our community members, we stand at a crossroads with our FY25 Operating Budget as we grapple with new realities. While many of my fellow Maryland county leaders have voiced considerable concern about meeting the funding requirements put forward by the Blueprint for Maryland’s Education, here in Howard County we have stepped up to the plate and continued our support of our education system. I want to thank Acting Superintendent Bill Barnes, Board of Education Chair Jen Mallo, and the entire Board of Education for their leadership and efforts to continue to positively propel HCPSS forward.

Calvin Ball
Howard County Executive

Ball’s proposed FY25 $1.14 billion funding for HCPSS exceeds the State-mandated Maintenance of Effort funding by $52 million. This funding level fully funds the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future in Howard County through FY25. Additionally, by investing more in Blueprint this year, the County ensures HCPSS will receive a greater return in State aid in Fiscal Year 2026 (FY26).

In his FY25 Operating Budget, Ball has proposed $9 million to fully fund the Blueprint, which includes expanding full day pre-K for eligible four-year-olds and increasing student technology investment. With this funding, HCPSS will be able to enroll all eligible tier-1 (up to 300 percent of the federal poverty level) four-year-olds in full day pre-k by FY26.

“First and foremost, I want to extend my appreciation for the County Executive and his continued support of students, teachers, staff and families in Howard County. His budget will help our Board of Education and I ensure several important programs are maintained for all students,” said William J. Barnes, HCPSS Acting Superintendent. “I am pleased that we will now be able to provide the Board with the opportunity to restore many programs that were discussed for reduction or elimination. It has been my continued effort to provide the Board with as much flexibility as possible during this budget season and I will continue to work on their behalf until we cross the finish line.”

Ball’s proposed budget also adds 50 additional staff to HCPSS’s Special Education program and restores the school system’s Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, whose staff are vital to meeting the Blueprint’s continued educator diversity goals.

Additionally, since 2018, starting salaries for teachers have increased by 22 percent in recognition of their tireless work, and the shared goal of raising teacher pay.

“Throughout this very challenging budget process, what has been clear is that the Board, Superintendent, and County Executive have progressed collaboratively through shared values on behalf of our students, teachers, staff, and families. The Board shares in the collective desire to retain all staff in eliminated positions, and we will work with the Superintendent to implement strategies that result in a balanced budget and minimal impact on students and staff,” said Jennifer Mallo, Howard County Board of Education Chair.

Since taking office, Ball has made historic investments in public education. By Fiscal Year 2022, Ball helped eliminate HCPSS’s $50 million health fund deficit, bringing fiscal health to the school system’s budget and turning the deficit into a surplus. Additionally, Ball’s last two budgets each contained the largest annual investments in public education in Howard County history, despite enrollment in HCPSS declining sharply in 2020 and then remaining stagnant because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition to the $1.14 billion in his proposed FY25 Capital Budget, as announced two weeks ago, Ball has also committed more than $90 million toward school capital projects, including fully funding HCPSS’ request of $75.7 million and $15 million in County PAYGO funds for land acquisition, planning, and design for High School #14 in Elkridge. Ball’s proposed FY25 Capital Budget also prioritizes systemic renovations across many HCPSS educational facilities including:

  • $36.8 million to address systemic maintenance needs including HVAC replacements, athletic needs, air quality, school safety and security;
  • $10.2 million for the Oakland Mills Middle School renovations/addition, which will expand capacity by 199 new seats;
  • $6.6 million toward enhanced IT investments, including infrastructure upgrades, applications, and cybersecurity improvements;
  • $3.1 million for various projects such as playground upgrades and parking enhancements;
  • $1.1 million to renovate the Faulkner Ridge Center, which will become a regional pre-K center; and
  • $1 million for the Applications and Research Laboratory to modernize and expand the building footprint.

The FY25 Operating Budget will be formally delivered to the County Council for consideration on Tuesday, April 16, 2024.

Media Contacts
Safa Hira, Director of Communications

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