The start of each calendar year is an important milestone in the annual budget process – a time for us to translate our priorities and data-driven plans into a proposed operating budget for fiscal year 2017.
This year Superintendent S. Dallas Dance has presented to the Baltimore County Board of Education a proposed total Baltimore County Public Schools budget for FY 17 of $1.8 billion. Of that, $1.5 billion is the operating budget.
How we spend these funds will have an enduring impact on our students and community.
The superintendent’s proposal has been shaped by listening to and learning from students, parents, community members, and staff about what matters and how to best target scarce resources.
Student enrollment in BCPS has grown 5.4 percent from FY 2011 to FY 2015. We expect our student population to grow by more than 6,000 students in the next five years. Some of our student populations who require the most intensive supports are growing faster than the total student enrollment including students with severe disabilities and English language learners. To support this growth and close the resource gap, the FY 17 budget proposal includes additional instructional positions and adds significant resources for students with disabilities and those learning English.
Our commitment to students extends to ensuring that every student graduates globally competitive and ready for tomorrow’s careers. To raise the bar and close gaps, we are requesting funding to support a world-class curriculum with more challenging math, expansion of our Passport Program, which extends world language instruction to elementary school, and additional resources for our pre-K students, magnet programs, and early college access.
Finally, to invest in our future, we propose spending additional funds to create and maintain the infrastructure for academic environments and resources to support 21st century teaching and learning. We intend to invest in employee salaries and benefits, digital learning through S.T.A.T. (Students and Teachers Accessing Tomorrow) as well as upgrades to our school facilities and technology infrastructure.
The funds required to offer a high-quality, equitable education to more than 111,000 diverse students are considerable, but investing these funds is essential – to their future and ours.