Carroll County Public Schools anticipates receiving $6.6 million more in state funding for fiscal 2023 than it did for fiscal 2022, more revenue than the system has received in “probably over 10 years,” according to Chris Hartlove, chief financial officer at CCPS. But that increase is still significantly less than what was expected from the state, Hartlove said.
In fiscal 2022, CCPS received $145.8 million from the state. Fiscal 2023 begins on July 1, 2022.
Hartlove said he thought CCPS would see at least a $14 million increase in state funding, and he hopes the numbers increase in January, when the governor releases his budget, but there are still many unknowns.
The cause of much doubt is limited guidance related to the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future Act, passed earlier this year. The blueprint is slated to create significant changes to the state’s funding formula to local public schools.
“We have less information than what we normally do,” Hartlove said Monday during a budget work session.
CCPS Superintendent Steve Lockard said he does not know what the school system must do yet to fulfill the demands of the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, and so final budget numbers are not set.
The Blueprint mandates salary increases for teachers who receive a certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. This would result in a $900,000 increase in the CCPS budget, Hartlove said. The cost of other Blueprint requirements is yet to be announced, and the cost of employee salaries, which still have to be negotiated with the union, is still undecided.
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Hartlove said allocations from the county will increase by $6.4 million over the fiscal 2022 amount of $214 million.
The total increase for expenditures is estimated at $6.9 million, Hartlove said. Funding for bus contractors will be increased by $2.2 million, which includes a minimum 3% salary increase, or a 60-cent per-hour raise for drivers and assistants.
“We’re not going to keep bus drivers at a 60-cent raise,” Herbert said. She noted that Washington County is paying its drivers $25 per hour, and although she said she doesn’t know where the money for higher wages will come from, the system “definitely needs to step up.”
Hartlove mentioned later that increasing bus driver salaries by 4% would cost the system $97,000.
Hartlove’s presentation stated that utilities, insurance and benefits in fiscal 2023 would be a $2.5 million increase over fiscal 2022. A step increase for eligible employees will cost $5.2 million and a 1% cost of living increase would cost $2.2 million. He also noted the loss of up to $1 million of Title I funding.
The funding loss is caused by a reduction of the number of students in poverty. Title I funds are allocated based on the proportion of school-aged children from low-income families that live in a Title I attendance area. Elmer Wolfe, Robert Moton and Taneytown elementary schools are Carroll’s Title I schools. Hartlove said for fiscal 2023, Title I services will need to be reduced if funding is not allocated for them.
Hartlove said the superintendent will submit his budget proposal in January and the governor will release the state budget later that month. The Caroll school board will vote on the final budget in February.