ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Calvin Ball today issued an Executive Order establishing one of Maryland’s first Blueprint Resources Planning Workgroup. The 12-member, multi-agency workgroup will include representatives from Howard County Government, Howard Community College, the Howard County Library System, the Howard County Board of Education, the Howard County Council, and the Howard County State Delegation.

We are fully committed to implementing the Blueprint for Maryland’s future to enhance the excellence of our public education system. While doing so, we must establish responsible and transparent fiscal priorities. This workgroup will help dismantle silos, improve collaboration among educational entities, and establish a coordinated strategy to successfully achieve the goals set forth in the Blueprint, while respecting the use of taxpayer dollars.

Calvin Ball
Howard County Executive

The Blueprint Resources Planning Workgroup has five primary duties and responsibilities:

  • Review the statutory funding requirements of the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future in each pillar area and identify critical deadlines to meet the key priorities of the plan.
  • Establish a cost analysis of each pillar for each of the next seven fiscal years beginning in FY2025.
  • Continue to work with the Maryland State Department of Education and the Maryland Department of Legislative Services to forecast future state aid distributions for the thirteen major aid categories as defined in the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future.
  • Work with the Howard County Office of Budget and the Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) Budget Office to forecast sustainable local funding estimates for education for the next seven fiscal years beginning in FY2025.
  • Recommend a funding plan and policy actions that may be needed at the local and state level to implement the Blueprint within the local and state budget estimates presented to the Workgroup.

“As we strive to implement the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, it is essential that our government partners collaborate to identify a long-term funding plan,” said County Council Chair Christiana Rigby. “The Blueprint Resources Planning Workgroup’s efforts will ensure we develop a responsible plan for our education budget.” 

In order to ensure the success of our students, it’s important that we all work together towards common goals. I applaud County Executive Ball for convening this workgroup of key stakeholders to discuss the future needs of our school system and coordinate plans and funds that are imperative for the proper implementation of the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future. It is only through continued state and local collaboration that Howard County will remain a world-class school system for our children, families, and educators.

Clarence Lam
Chair, Howard County Senate Delegation

“This is exactly what we need to make sure all partners are working to effectively and efficiently implement the Blueprint,” said Delegate Courtney Watson, Howard County House Delegation Chair. “It will serve as a model for the rest of the state”

Ball noted that in the current fiscal year, the HCPSS budget exceeded $1 billion for the first time and is expected to reach $1.1 billion in the next fiscal year.  

"The Blueprint will truly transform education and it is absolutely critical that all stakeholders responsible for funding the school system and supporting the implementation of the Blueprint engage in this collective effort," said Michael J. Martirano Ed.D., Superintendent of Schools. "As we have discussed during the current budget process, significant new revenues will be needed to meet the requirements not just in the short-term but to sustain the implementation of programs and services over the next ten years and beyond. I thank the County Executive for his leadership in convening this workgroup and HCPSS staff working on the Blueprint implementation are prepared to support this important work."

"While the Blueprint for Maryland's Future is State legislation that enhances commitments to better educational outcomes for all students and elevates the teaching profession, it also requires significant financial commitments from local jurisdictions," said Antonia Watts, Board of Education Chair. "On behalf of the Board of Education, we welcome and appreciate being part of a comprehensive and robust group of countywide stakeholders to ensure a long-term commitment can be made to this important work. I appreciate the County Executive for convening this workgroup. The Blueprint will be with us for the next decade and beyond and the successful implementation is largely dependent on the funding commitment of the County."

During the past five years, Ball has provided nearly $130 million above the state required Maintenance of Effort. Ball’s proposed FY2024 budget contains $720.3 million in recurring County funding to the school system, which is the largest increase in local funding for schools in Howard County history. For the second consecutive year, Ball’s proposed budget also fully funds the school system’s capital request.

“I am honored to be a member of the Blueprint Resources Planning Workgroup and to hold shared responsibility in helping create a better future for Maryland’s youth,” said Dr. Daria Willis, President of Howard Community College. “The opportunity to provide every student with the resources they need to achieve success is a mission I am deeply committed to and hold close to my heart.”

In addition to its operating budget, HCPSS received an additional $123.2 million in state and federal COVID-19 relief funds, including more than $67 million in federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funding.

“Before children ever enter preschool or kindergarten, they come to libraries. As one of the County’s premier educational institutions, Howard County Library System is committed to ensuring that all students are ready for kindergarten and creating the best outcomes for all children,” said Tonya Aikens, Howard County Library System President & CEO. 

The Blueprint Resources Planning Workgroup will provide a written report to the County Executive, County Council and Board of Education on February 1, 2024. 

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