On the front page of The Aegis today there is a story about the school budget process and how some school board members believe they should be more involved in setting priorities from the beginning.
We’ll reserve our views about the process for another time, but for now we want to remind everyone that Superintendent Barbara Canavan and her staff will be holding a so-called “virtual town hall” about the next budget on Monday, from 4:30 to 6 p.m.
We encourage everyone to who cares about how our Harford County children are educated and how to pay for this vital public service to participate. Frankly speaking, that means everyone in Harford County has a stake in these decisions, regardless of your age and whether you have now or have had children go through the local school system.
You can use email at Budget@hcps.org and via Twitter, using #HCPSbudget, to submit feedback and comments live. You can also send questions prior to the Virtual Budget Town Hall via the email address Budget@hcps.org.
If you are unable to tune in to Monday’s livestream, the archived video can be viewed here: www.hcps.org/boe/livestream.
If there is one constant about the Harford school budget process, it’s that the general public and much of the school community never becomes involved and the few who do, typically get into the mix when the process is too far along. In past years, the school board members and the superintendent and her staff have thrown open the doors to the A.A. Roberty Building for folks to come in and talk about the budget in a very informal setting – before final decisions are made. You can count the number of citizens who take advantage of this opportunity on two hands, if that.
Harford County Executive Barry Glassman began using a virtual town hall process in the early stages of the county budget process in 2015 and the annual event has picked up in participation each year since. Not surprisingly, the number one concern participants have expressed at the Glassman virtual town hall has been funding for the school budget. It is, after all, the largest single expenditure for county government.
We’ve all heard how people are too busy with work and other activities to take time to attend daytime meetings, let alone many that are held in the evening. The virtual town hall format at least takes that excuse away from many of us. If you have access to a computer or other device that streams the web, you can connect and be a part.
Don’t be left out. Be a part of something that is vital to Harford County’s future.