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HCPS calls Cassilly's budget proposal 'disaster for the children'

Harford County Executive pushes back
Harford County Public Schools announces planned early dismissal days for 2018-19 school year
Posted at 8:20 AM, Apr 19, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-19 08:44:29-04

HARFORD COUNTY — Harford County Executive Bob Cassilly's first budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year is causing tensions with the county's school district.

The proposed budget calls for schools to receive $305 million in operating funds, which is equal to the amount required by state law.

School leaders claim Cassilly's proposal reduces funding by $19.4 million from the prior fiscal year and $39 million below the Harford County Board of Education's request.

In a statement, the district equated this to taking about $1,000 in funding from each student.

The school system says it's the first time in decades a Harford County Executive has suggested a decrease in funding.

If the County Council passes the budget as proposed, school officials fear teachers wages could become less competitive and classes would grow in size, with no more athletic participation fee waivers.

"You can't really say that you're supporting public schools when you're turning around and cutting that much," said Robert Taylor, a Harford County high school teacher. "He should just come out and say it...that he doesn't really support us."

Cassilly pushed back in a statement, claiming the school system is actually receiving more money when combining both state and county tax dollars.

He says HCPS is also sitting on more than $90 million in unspent funding from prior years.

“HCPS is receiving $22.1 M more in FY24 than they did in FY23 from both state and county taxpayers, not less money. HCPS is also sitting on a fund balance (unspent funds from prior years) of more than $90M that they can use. I will not raise taxes on hard working taxpayers to provide additional funds for HCPS when they have more than enough money to fully fund their budget request.”
Harford County Executive Bob Cassilly

Overall Cassily's budget proposal for the entire county is less than last fiscal year, and does not include any tax increases.

For a look at the full budget proposal, click here.

The County Council has several budget meetings planned now through June. The budget must be approved by June 15.