At the January 9, 2020 Board of Education meeting, Superintendent Dr. Williams offered a presentation on his proposed FY 2021 Operating Budget. While the student-to-device ratio doesn’t change (it’s still 1:1 in Grades 3 through 12, but lower in K through Grade 2), at least device costs will go down by moving to much less expensive Chromebooks in BCPS middle schools as has been done for elementary schools. Shockingly, the original HP device lease contract had each laptop hybrid costing close to $1,400 each (figuring in all costs). The proposed FY21 budget’s call for purchasing more textbooks is also welcome news.
The budget also recognizes that students in a county with increasing diversity, needs, and poverty (44% FARMS – 166% increase in ESOL students in the past 10 years – students from 113 countries – 107 languages spoken – high mobility – 82% increase in homeless students in the past 10 years – 17% increase in Special Ed students in the past 5 years) need PEOPLE in the classroom and schoolhouse to support them. Unlike budgets of the past, Dr. Williams’ budget asks for hiring more teachers, social workers, school psychologists, school nurses, and other support staff, and increasing supports for Title I schools, ESOL, and Special Ed.
A long way to go, but on the right path.