The education system is the bedrock of our community and serves as a key economic driver for the county. The county needs to fund it as such. The U.S. has a shortage of teachers as the country experienced a 35% reduction in the teacher pipeline from 2009 to 2014. Maryland is an “import state,” which means our need for teachers exceeds the number of teachers in the Maryland pipeline. In addition, we continue to have an 8% attrition rate annually. (For teachers of color these figures are even higher.)
The county and state need to do more to keep teachers teaching and to find ways to incent individuals to join the educator ranks. Reducing educator benefits may reduce budget outlays in the short-term but end up costing the county in the long-term if the teacher shortage worsens. The county should also support HB1180/CH0140, which provides loan repayment assistance to teachers.
As an active member of the OBRC and a firm believer in revenue-based budgeting, I’m keenly aware that the system is operating at a deficit and choices need to be made. HCPSS must do all in its power to create a responsible budget while trying to minimize the damage to student success. The board should continue to look for savings in non-personnel costs like purchasing, equipment, and supplies. After these measures, the county must fully fund the education budget.