BCPS Budget Cuts to Pay for STAT

Air conditioning is being blamed for debilitating cuts to school budgets even though Dr. Dance has been upfront about redirecting this money towards STAT.

If the County Council approves BCPS’ budget, schools will receive $11,205,049 less for instructional materials, supplies, field trips and assemblies for the 2016-17 school year than they received for the 2014-15 school year. These cuts will become deeper each year. According to Dr. Dance, “Once fully implemented in Fiscal Year 20, more than 1/4 of the [STAT] program’s ongoing cost of $63,000,000 will have been redirected from the Operating Budget.” Where will the other 3/4 will come from to lease those devices? 

Middle and High School budgets have been siphoned to pay for Elementary School devices. High schools will receive $5,800,307 less than they received for the 2014-15 school year and middle schools will receive $2,998,449 less.

These cuts were proposed on January 5th, before the Board of Ed voted to add $10,000,000 to the Operating Budget for air conditioning on January 19th (which could have installed portable units in every classroom by August 2016.) The County Executive refused this portable AC request, so this is certainly not to blame for cuts to school operating budgets.

At the January 19th Operating Budget work session, Board Member Mike Collins objected to these budget cuts, but Dr. Dance said the 20 principals he spoke with were fine with them. Ann Miller, Kathleen Causey and June Eaton were the only Board members who voted against the budget.

Please see budget documents below:

ES Budgets from FY2017-Board-Proposed-Operating-Budget-2 1

MS and HS Budgets from FY2017-Board-Proposed-Operating-Budget-2 3

Summary of Non-Salary Allocation from FY2017-Board-Proposed-Operating-Budget-2 4

These are examples given by teachers about what is lost in these cuts: novels, supplies (poster paper, pencils, pencil sharpeners, copy paper), SAT prep materials, AP materials, professional development for AP teachers to be able to teach, redesigned college-level classes, and much more. Some departments have run out of money mid-year and there will be larger cuts next year.

The County does not purchase novels–they come out of the school budgets and with school budgets being cut, these will be cut, too. Also, the curriculum keeps changing and new novels are needed to accommodate these changes. Many middle and high school students do not have access to computers at home and there are often no online access during the school day.  One teacher noted, it is impossible to read textbook pages with sidebars and footnotes on a phone. Any copies made by teachers are made on paper they buy after a small amount because paper is now limited.


4 thoughts on “BCPS Budget Cuts to Pay for STAT

  1. Schools used to have to pay for computers out of their own budget. The funds being redirected out of the portions that schools used to direct towards technology.


    1. Any idea how much they are saving by not buying those computers per year or on average? We would be happy to add those numbers into this report. And many elementary schools still have computer labs for the older kids who do not have tablets this year. What do you suppose will happen to those computers? Would you like to elaborate on the implications of that money “saved”- do you think it balances the budget for these schools (especially middle and high schools without STAT) with limited supplies such as paper and books?


  2. Fantastic work, STAT-us! This really shows the destroy-the-village-to-save-it method of slash and burn, which will only worsen as exorbitant leasing costs — $58 million a year to lease already glitchy laptops — become locked in. That’s if the 1:1 program expands to provide devices to all students in all grades, even kindergarten or First—-whether developmentally appropriate or not.

    What if this experiment proves harmful to our children? (Test scores and reading levels already suffer in high tech-usage classrooms among 65 countries. (The OECD report, Baltimore county PARCC scores).) This is a flawed program, but BCPS is pushing ahead regardless. In the end, there’s a good chance the current untested STAT approach–which in part isolates seven-year-olds on screens with heads phones on, playing addiction-designed in-development video games–will prove to be reckless endangerment.

    I hope this budget cut information is being posted in the comments on Sun op-eds on tech in schools, or in columns in the Towson Flyer and Dundalk Patch, as well as eduction blogs or national venues. People need to see the actual financial documents, and the figures/summaries of what is being lost, for themselves. Great work!

    Liked by 1 person

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