The Howard County Board of Education pushed back its work session and initial vote on the superintendent’s proposed capital budget for fiscal 2024 to Sept. 29 to allow more time to consider public feedback.
The vote was scheduled to take place at the Sept. 22 school board meeting. A. public hearing and work session were also scheduled for that meeting date and Howard County Public School System board member Christina Delmont-Small argued that the agenda was too crowded.
“It’s not efficient, it doesn’t look good and, quite frankly, we can do better,” Delmont-Small said at a meeting last week, adding that just because all three processes had occurred on the same date in years past doesn’t mean the board has to continue to do things that way.
School board Chair Vicky Cutroneo agreed and the board immediately worked to find a new date for the work session and vote. The public hearing stays on its previously announced date of Sept. 22.
“It’s disingenuous to have a public hearing the night that we’re making a vote,” Cutroneo said. “I think going forward we’re going to change how we do this.”
In addition to the completion of high school 13 in Jessup, major items included in HCPSS Superintendent Michael Martirano’s proposed $76.4 million capital budget included renovations and additions at Oakland Mills Middle School, Dunloggin Middle School, Faulkner Ridge Center for pre-kindergarten as well as construction of the county’s 43rd elementary school.
The board must submit a priority list of projects to the state by Oct. 4 for review in order to be eligible for funding.
Community members must register online to testify at the public hearing or may submit written testimony. The public may attend work sessions, but not participate in them.
“As an individual board member, [shifting the vote] would help me because sometimes the community has some really good ideas, but I don’t know how feasible they are without being able to … look at the data and talk to my colleagues,” Delmont-Small said at the Sept. 8 board meeting.