Good evening Board Chair Causey, Vice Chair Henn, Superintendent White, and members of the Board.
Two weeks ago, I spoke with you about how a vision was a preferred future, and how a budget needs to be aligned with, and support the vision for that future.
I reminded you that as the School Board, you need to determine the budget needs to support our vision and send that request to the County Executive. I suggested that a Board of Education’s role is to ask for what is needed and not what you thought the County could afford.
Increased funding is needed to meet the growing demand of our communities. Enrollment continues to grow as do the complex needs of our students. If funding doesn’t grow accordingly, the status quo is not maintained, but rather there is regression in services and supports.
We cannot assume that we can fund maintenance of effort for a year and then pick up where we left off. MOE will create a lag which may take years to overcome.
Clearly the county has funding issues, but there seems to be a growing sentiment that increasing revenue is overdue. Hopefully, we will receive increased education dollars from the state. Our county legislators are currently working at the state level to approve impact fees, and it is time that tax rates, either property or income be increased as they haven’t been in over 25 years.
We simply can’t expect to continue to provide the quality services to a growing and increasingly complex student body if funding doesn’t keep pace. And by the way, the education portion of the county budget has decreased over the past several years.
The revised budget presented to this Board two weeks ago is simply unacceptable. CASE continues to support the original budget proposed by Superintendent White. So tonight, I ask you again: Ask for what is needed to grow Baltimore County Public Schools to meet the growing needs of our system, and provide fair compensation for our staff. To ask for less is a disservice to our students, parents, employees, and community.