Understanding the Budget Process
Budget development for the upcoming fiscal year beings shortly after the current fiscal year budget begins and follows a standard process each year that involves the Board of Education, the Howard County Executive and County Council.
Fiscal Year Begins
Once the budget is adopted and the fiscal year begins each July 1, HCPSS monitors and manages the budget providing Operating Budget Financial Reports to the Board of Education on a monthly basis. These reports provide detailed information on the budget, including revenues and expenditures and actions taken to manage spending with the approved budget.
August – December
Planning begins for the following budget year. Look at projections and forecasts, taking into account all the variables implicating the budget, including the Blueprint and projected funding from the State, in order to manage expectations and prioritize the needs of the school system to present a budget outlook to the board in October.
Strategic discussions are held across school system divisions to determine priorities and potential additions and reductions from the budget, which need to be finalized by early December so that the Budget Office can develop the Superintendent’s Proposed Operating Budget.
Superintendent Presents Proposed Operating Budget
As required by the Maryland Code of Regulations, the Superintendent is required to articulate and request the funding needed to meet the mandates and the needs of the Howard County Public School System (HCPSS), so all students and staff have the greatest opportunity to succeed while also ensuring fiduciary responsibility over a budget that is largely funded by the taxpayers of Howard County.
Board of Education’s Proposed Budget is Submitted to the County
Once the Superintendent presents the proposed budget to the Board of Education, the Board then holds a series of meetings to review the budget and determines whether to increase or decrease the Superintendent’s proposed budget. The Board submits their official budget request to the County Executive.
County Executive Presents Recommended Budget
The County Executive then makes recommendations to the County Council regarding the Board’s proposed budget request. The County Executive can reduce but cannot increase the Board’s request.
County Council Holds Budget Hearings and Determines Funding
As the appropriating authority for the Howard County Government budget, the County Council deliberates the Board’s proposed budget through their budget process. The County Council can restore any reductions recommended by the County Executive but cannot go above the Board’s requested budget.
Final HCPSS Budget is Adopted
Once the budget is approved by the County, the Board reconvenes to make any changes to the budget as needed based on any reductions in funding from the County.