Charles Co. Superintendent of Schools Presents Proposed Budget



LA PLATA, Md. (January 17, 2019)—Superintendent Kimberly Hill released her proposed fiscal year 2020 budget on Jan. 8. The Superintendent's $391.6 million request prioritizes employee compensation, and also adds funds for the opening of Billingsley Elementary School, mental health supports, an alternative elementary program and school safety enhancements.

Hill's budget proposal includes a $21.9 million increase, or 5.9 percent more than fiscal year 2019. State funds are projected to increase about $5 million due in part to continued enrollment increases. The request includes a local contribution increase of $17.9 million. The official 2018-19 student enrollment is 27,108, an increase of 217 students. Last school year, CCPS grew by 501 students.

"This budget proposal will help ensure that Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) students are provided with the educational opportunities they need to succeed. It invests in our teachers and staff as well as the educational and support services programs we need to fulfill our mission and meet our goals," Hill said.

There is a $9.5 million reserve for salary and benefit negotiations for the school system's 3,500 staff members. Nearly 81 percent of the school system's fiscal year 2019 budget of $369.6 million went to employee compensation—60 percent for salaries and wages and 21 percent for benefits. CCPS negotiates with two employee groups: the Education Association of Charles County (EACC), which represents teachers and other certificated staff; and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), which represents non-certificated or support staff.

For every dollar, CCPS spends 67 cents on classroom instruction; 12 cents on maintenance and operation of school facilities; 9 cents on school administration; 8 cents on transportation; 3 cents on central administration and 1 cent on student and community services. The cost per pupil this school year is $13,923.

CCPS is opening its 22nd elementary school in September 2019. Hill's proposed budget includes nearly $5 million in operating costs for Billingsley Elementary School. The amount funds a projected enrollment of 677 students and funds a net of about 67 teachers, which assumes transfers of 16 teachers from other schools and an average class size of 25 students.

Transportation increases of $2.7 million will replace 36 buses and add six bus routes to accommodate new routes and student needs. The proposal also funds contract changes with the school system's 26 independent bus contractors.

Safety enhancements include $378,600 to fund the new safety and security office, including costs for an internal investigator, enhanced background checks and other expenses of the school safety and security office. During the past year, the school system began requiring background checks for volunteers and more checks for substitutes and temporary workers.

Funding for mental health supports and a new elementary program address the discipline and mental health needs of some of the school system's youngest students. CCPS is working on the rollout of an alternative elementary program called Fresh Start Academy for students needing to grow socially and emotionally, and who are now causing significant disruption to a school. Students in kindergarten through Grade 2 will receive an instructional program supported with therapeutic and behavior supports. The budget includes $452,200 to provide staffing, including a behavioral specialist, three teachers and support staff.

School meal prices will rise for the first time in three years. The budget proposes a five-cent increase in meal prices. Breakfast prices will increase to $1.30 for elementary students and $1.45 for secondary schools. Lunch prices will rise to $2.70 for elementary and $2.95 for secondary.

The proposed budget is for fiscal year 2020, which starts July 1, 2019, and ends June 30, 2020. The Board has scheduled a public hearing on the proposed budget at 6 p.m., Monday, Jan. 28, in the boardroom at the Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building in La Plata. The Superintendent's proposed budget and presentation are posted on the school system's website at www.ccboe.com/index.php/budget.

Key dates in FY 2020 budget process

· Board of Education Public Hearing—6 p.m., Monday, Jan. 28, Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building

• Board work session—6 p.m., Jan. 28, Starkey Building

• Board final approval—Tuesday, Feb. 12, Starkey Building

• Board submits budget to county—Feb. 28

• Collective bargaining—mid-March

• Charles County Commissioners' public hearing—April 9, County Government Building, La Plata (time to be announced)

• Board adopts final budget—June 11, Starkey Building

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