Alban

Superintendent Terry Alban

The fiscal 2022 budget for Frederick County Public Schools is $26 million more than the fiscal 2021 spending plan despite a drop in student enrollment this year and uncertainties on how that could affect funding from both the county and state.

Superintendent Terry Alban on Monday announced her recommended budget, which totals more than $701 million.

“The FY22 budget was built to move our system forward. It was designed to enable us to recover, reconnect and reinvent. Recovery is the first step coming out of a crisis,” Alban said during a broadcast statement. “We know the toll this pandemic is taking on our students academically, socially and emotionally. We must be prepared with the support needed to address all of their needs.”

The superintendent’s recommended budget includes $6.5 million specifically to address academic recovery and support mental health.

According to the published budget, the money will go toward the creation of specific positions, including math specialists at the high school level, digital learning lab monitors, school psychologists and trauma specialty therapists.

The budget also states that FCPS is seeking funding to expand the Frederick County Virtual School summer session and the RISE program to middle schools—which was previously cut from the fiscal 2021 budget.

The superintendent also included $3.8 million to create replacement cycles for computer software and hardware for both students and staff as well as textbooks and the school system’s bus fleet.

The superintendent’s recommended budget is among the first steps in a budget process that lasts until the end of June. While FCPS has consistently ranked as one of the least-funded school systems in the state, this year it faces the added challenge of decreased enrollment.

The amount of revenue FCPS receives from both the state and county are based on actual and projected enrollment. The actual enrollment for the 2020-2021 school year, based on a Sept. 30 count, was 211 students less than last school year.

Due to this decrease in enrollment, the county’s legally required Maintenance of Effort Funding could decrease. The state revenue figure is expected to be determined in the coming weeks once the governor releases his budget and the county has expressed its commitment to maintaining at least fiscal 2021 Maintenance of Effort Funding.

A decrease in funding for this fiscal year could prove detrimental to the school system, which is predicting a large enrollment spike for the 2021-2022 school year. FCPS is anticipating students to re-enroll in FCPS after attending private schools or participating in homeschooling during the pandemic. According to the most recent FCPS projections, there will be an additional 584 students next school year, which equates to the need for approximately 74 additional staff positions at a cost of $5.5 million.

Alban encouraged those watching Monday to advocate for more funding.

“Your advocacy and engagement are critically important ... it will be very important that our county government officials hear that education is a priority and why you support the budget request,” she said.

Alban and FCPS staff will present the recommended budget to the Frederick County Board of Education on Wednesday during its scheduled meeting. The board will host a public hearing on the fiscal 2022 budget on Feb. 3.

Follow Katryna Perera on Twitter: @katrynajill

(22) comments

lgrace

But folks, there are a lot of social programs that the schools administer that you must consider. There are currently thousands more immigrants ready to cross into the US after the Biden inauguration. We must have ESL, food service, liaisons, support personnel, health workers, etc. that must take care of the children that will be born of these new residents. Most cannot get public assistance without having a child after coming into the US. Please be more compassionate.

HappySeller2014

And a lot more folks gonna die from COVID-19 based upon the utter disaster of the vaccine deployment debacle, so everything will even itself out, right? 400K and counting in US now.

Igrace, you hilarious. I bet you forecast and plan your checkbook and household budget on the upcoming massive immigration influx you are expecting, eh? How are you planning for all these immigrants to affect your 2021 Thanksgiving dinner or 2021 presents under the Christmas tree?

shiftless88

The decrease in illegal immigration started decreasing under Obama. Really, you should get out more.

FyremanEd

Time to start trimming some money off the top and eliminate this dingbat.

Aperiodic.Moralist1

[thumbup]

fredneck

and the hallways are still empty DISGUSTING

HappySeller2014

"According to the most recent FCPS projections, there will be an additional 584 students next school year, which equates to the need for approximately 74 additional staff positions at a cost of $5.5 million."

Are you kidding me???

Even with all of the support staff additional possible needs spread throughout these kids, are you kidding me???

A starting FCPS teacher salary is less than $50K, or $65K with benefits included. But FCPS needs about $9,400 for each new kid??? And a ratio of eight kids to one staffer???

And does that account for the fact there are 211 less children enrolled this year? So, we should have accrued almost $2M in savings since March of 2020, right? Where did all those savings go???

Imagine if Frederick County could pick up a new cop every eight new residents, much less 800 or 1,000. Never happens.

But one new staffer (notice they will not all be teachers) for every eight additional kids in the FCPS system??? Heck, even local annual private school tuitions around Frederick, Washington and Carroll Counties much lower for secondary education children!!! And FCPS should be achieving huge economy of scale savings over local private schools, due to FCPS's sheer size.

I have children in the FCPS school system. And I feel like I am getting hosed as a taxpayer. This ridiculousness must stop and I hope the new Frederick County School Board is paying very close attention here to this circus. The voters are watching.

walter3rd

^This! I don't understand how they come up with $9,400 in new costs PER new student.

HappySeller2014

$5.5 M divided by 584 is the simple answer.

But I want to hear the answer from the numerous $100K+ salaried FCPS budget staff in the nice brick downtown FCPS administration building developing these numbers.

HappySeller2014

Another way to look at this...

$5.5 M for 74 new staff positions averages about $74K per position, which would include benefits I am sure, and overhead.

Each one of these 74 staff positions would average to a bit less than eight children under their care, based upon 584 new kids showing up.

So, a new classroom of 24 students would cost FCPS and Frederick County taxpayers about $222,000. ONE CLASSROOM with what I would assume is ONE TEACHER, plus some added in support...for 24 kids!

And some of these new classes would undoubtedly be staffed by brand new teachers with starting salaries less than $50K. What is being baked into overhead?????? How can the costs for classroom instruction and staffing, as based upon these simple mathmatical calculations, be justified?

And I bet this is how the whole FCPS budget submissions are constructed, year after year. Folks need to wake up and so does the Frederick County School Board. Absolute buffonery and tomfoolery.

MD1756

I don't know where that figure comes from as it is significantly lower than the average cost per student in Frederick ($13,690 in FY 22018 ). The FNP had an article in June that broke out the individual schools costs by school rating. see: https://www.fredericknewspost.com/news/education/funding/new-report-shows-how-much-fcps-spends-per-student-at-each-school/article_d79a758e-29a0-5c5c-98b0-59b7d540f9af.html.

That article stated that "Urbana Middle School reported the lowest rate at $9,746 per student, with an enrollment of 1,003. The school did not run any specialized programs during the 2018-2019 school year.... New Market Elementary School had the lowest per-pupil spending rate of $10,666 per student, with an enrollment of 693. It did not run any specialized programs." The costs only go up from there, so if one uses a $9,400 figure, something must be getting cut to drop the price or class sizes must be getting larger.

This article states "The superintendent also included $3.8 million to create replacement cycles for computer software and hardware for both students and staff as well as textbooks and the school system’s bus fleet." Why would this be the first time a budget includes the creation of a replacement cycle for items that can be predictably required to be replaced? That means for years there have been poor budgeting and underfunding in the past. I guess there is no surprise there.

Now, where is the money to come from? Terry Alban, how about you propose that the state legislature eliminate the income tax deductions/credits parents get for choosing to have children and put that extra revenue towards schools. That would be fair to the tax payers who have no children by simply requiring parents who choose to have children pay the same income tax rate as those with no children and it would increase the revenue available for public education. If that is not enough, then look elsewhere for taxes or drop expenditures that are not directly associated with providing an education out of the school budget. For example, while mental health is important, should money spent there come out of the education budget as opposed to the HHS budget?

Remember, these increases are coming before the effects of the Kirwan legislation really kicks in and the state already has an underfunded pension system (which supports teachers' pension in addition to other state employees' pensions and it is a much better pension program (1.5% vs 1% or 1.1% of highest 3 years times years of service) than the federal government FERS pension see: https://www.teacherpensions.org/state/maryland#:~:text=How%20Do%20Teacher%20Pensions%20Work%20in%20Maryland%3F%20In,the%20largest%20public%20retirment%20system%20in%20the%20state. and see: https://www.opm.gov/retirement-services/fers-information/computation/). Maryland (state and local) politicians and school officials need to start being honest with the citizens and be responsible with the taxes we pay.

HappySeller2014

Absolutely ridiculous.

With all the savings that should have accrued in 2020 and will be in 2021, there is NO reason a budget request for 2022 should come in $26M over 2021 planned costs.

Savings should be accruing all over the place from at least 6-9 months in 2020 and now well into 2021.

Less salaried costs for hourly workers, including cafeteria staffs, crosswalk guards, bus drivers, etc. Dramatic savings from bus maintenance and fuel costs. Huge savings in utility and maintenance costs. Savings from club and sports activities cancelled. Savings from cafeteria food services not being provided and sold at reduced cost or free. Savings on garbage and refuse service pickup as barely any garbage being produced. Savings from police-contracted safety programs not currently occurring.

To actually ask for more taxpayer funded dollars in 2022, instead of doing a deep dive into reprogramming savings accruing from operating expenses for a while now (and to continue) is a slap in the face. Especially if 220+ less children enrolled in the FCPS system this year...that means 10 or so teachers and some support staff have nothing to do right now, correct? Or are they simply "reassigned?"

We should be seeing a $50-$75 M cut being proposed for 2022, based upon massive savings from 2020 and 2021. Where do all the savings go, year after year? FCPS paying $80 for disposable facemasks and $325 for hand sanitizing mobile stations like I see at Weis Markets?

FcpsAdmin2

Another wishlist from Alban. Every year she gives a laundry list of incoherent reasons why this year we really need a budget to get the struggling school system back on track. Every. Single. Year. What she doesn't and can't show is what her bloated, irresponsible budgets have delivered. Meanwhile, test scores decline. Graduation rates decline. Teacher retention declines. Families flee the school system. It's time to invest in new leadership.

Big Easy

As Rahm Emmanuel once said, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste"

Thewheelone

@Big Easy: What an inane comment; spend some time as a public school teacher these days and try again.

HappySeller2014

@Thewheelone

Using this COVID-19 crisis as a justification for increasing the FCPS 2022 budget, with all the savings being accrued in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19, is a blantent hoodwink intended to smoke and mirror you.

I could care less if you are or are not a teacher, or do or do not support teachers. Unless you are a deliquent living off the governmental social safety net, you pay taxes like I do, so you should care here I expect.

shiftless88

Happy; it's not like she hid this.

HappySeller2014

I know Shifty. [wink]

Big Easy

Seems I am not alone ...

Big Easy

I would be happy to but the union won't allow me to teach in a live classroom. Public school teachers are like weather prognosticators, never held accountable for their poor results ... any other position with such bad results and they would be out of a job.

Aslan19

Agreed @Big Easy.

Big Easy

A

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