Much attention has been focused on the minimal increases over time in the budget for the Harford County Board of Education. Many have questioned why the Board of Education budget should increase amid slightly declining enrollment.

County Executive Craig has attacked staffing at Harford County Public Schools and argued to seek efficiencies through consolidation with county government. However, when compared to other aspects of county government, funding for the Harford County Board of Education has grown by a much smaller percentage.

Following the County Executive's Budget Hearing, Mr. Craig stated, "You want increased funding for education, where would you get the money?"

Here are a few simple suggestions. Reduce expenditures in the office of the county executive, procurement department, law department, as well as, planning and zoning department. Eliminate all PAYGO expenditures. If a project is not worthy of funding through bonds, while the bond market is at historically low interest rates, it is not worth completing. Utilize fund balance and reduce carried fund balance to fund key expenses in education and public safety.

Eliminate the practice of funding [post-employment benefits] obligations for county departments through supplemental appropriations. This practice renders all budgetary percentages invalid. Fund all departments with earmarked revenue streams exclusively through those revenue streams.

Quite simply, County Executive Craig must live up to his small government mantra by first holding himself accountable for reducing unnecessary increases and irresponsible expenditures in the departments which he currently manages.

Ryan Burbey

President, Harford County Education Association