3 Minutes January 22, 2019

Good evening Chairwoman Causey, Vice Chair Henn, Superintendent White, and members of the Board.

You have had a very busy two weeks since the you received the proposed budget, and you have another busy two weeks before you approve it. At last week’s hearing, the public was very supportive, so tonight, I will share CASE’s thoughts on the budget. But first I will start with vision.

Everything begins with a vision. In December, I shared the Board’s vision as written in the BCPS Board Handbook. It states in pertinent part, that the Board “…will seek in every way to make the school system among the highest performing school systems in the nation.” It has been said that a vision is the “preferred future”.

In order for BCPS to progress toward our preferred future, many things have to happen. All of which are supported by allocation of funds. You see, a vision must be aligned with, and supported by a budget. Kind of like the old expression “Put your money where your mouth is.” The budget presented to this Board includes focus on:

  • Special Education and English Learners
  • Literacy and mathematics
  • Growth and infrastructure
  • Transportation
  • School Climate and Safety

Maryland law requires that every district meet a minimum maintenance of effort in their fiscal support. Districts that merely meet the maintenance of effort have great difficulty addressing needs and progressing toward their preferred futures.

This budget has a modest increase over maintenance of effort, but if our preferred future really is to make our system among the highest performing in the nation, we must be willing to ask for what we need to do that.

So as a Board, you need to determine the budget needs to support our vision and send that request to the County Executive. That’s a Board of Education’s role – ask for what is needed. Don’t cut from the budget because you feel the Executive, or the Council will cut it. This is a large budget, but modest in additional requests. CASE asks that you approve the budget as presented to you by the Superintendent.

Thank you in advance for your advocacy of this budget.

Tom DeHart