The Howard County Council this week voted unanimously to approve an amended version of County Executive Calvin Ball’s resolution calling for a state audit of the Howard County Public School System (HCPSS).
Council Resolution 108-2019 calls on the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) to contract for a county-funded audit of HCPSS. The cost of the audit will be capped at $250,000.
Ball’s original resolution called on MSDE to contract for a broad performance audit of HCPSS in order to identify potential cost savings and develop methods to spend more efficiently. But the administration introduced an amendment to modify the scope of the audit after HCPSS committed to sharing other information that may also generate cost-saving opportunities.
Specifically, the audit will focus on five key issues:
- The Health and Dental Fund
- Budgeting and Actual Expenditure Variance
- Personnel Cost Development
- Supplemental Income/Non-Salary Benefits
According to a press release from County Executive Ball:
“Howard County has a well-deserved reputation for great schools and I want to ensure we are providing the highest caliber education for all our students for years to come. I proposed a performance audit of our school system, conducted independently by the Maryland State Department of Education, to provide a full picture of our expenditures and find the best financial path forward. Today, I am grateful to the Howard County Council for their unanimous vote to support the audit of our school system’s spending.
The audit process is an important opportunity to build even more accountability and transparency for our schools, find ways to support all our children and educators, and make our schools even better.
Every educator, student, parent, and resident in Howard County deserves to know exactly how and where our money is being spent. Together, we are ensuring that taxpayer dollars are being spent sensibly, to best serve our students.
I want to express my thanks to Council members Liz Walsh, Deb Jung, David Yungmann, and Council Chair Christiana Mercer Rigby, for their votes of support. Though he was not able to attend the vote, I also thank Vice Chair Opel Jones for his continued support. Thanks as well to the Board of Education, Superintendent Dr. Martirano, and the HCPSS for engaging with us in the spirit of collaboration and cooperating with us to define the scope of the audit. We will continue to find the best path forward for all our students and the community.”
Read the full press release for more information.