Calvin ball’s record on:
Investing in State-of-the-Art Learning Centers
Since taking office, County Executive Ball has invested more than $353 million in county and state construction funding, an increase of nearly $80 million compared to the previous administration. His commitment to education has delivered an additional $12 million annually to alleviate classroom overcrowding and to ensure our children learn in state-of-the-art facilities.
Because of this dedication, construction is now underway on schools that are the main priorities of the Howard County Public School System:
- High School #13 in Jessup is scheduled to open in 2023 and will be Howard County’s first new high school since 2005.
- A replacement for Talbott Springs Elementary School in Oakland Mills will be open for the 2022-2023 school year.
- Hammond High School Expansion and Renovation
Thanks to County Executive Ball, renovations and rehabilitations at dozens of schools have been completed, and planning is currently underway for a new High School #14 in Elkridge. Overall, the projects in the coming year include:
- Manor Woods Elementary School HVAC and Wastewater Treatment Plant
- Guilford Elementary School Exterior Windows and Doors
- West Friendship Elementary School Well
- Jeffers Hill Elementary School Boiler Replacement projects
- Expedited Oakland Mills Middle School Renovation
Providing Record Funding for Howard County’s Children
County Executive Ball has consistently provided record funding for K-12 education in Howard County to ensure our school system remains the best in the state and the nation.
While the State of Maryland establishes a funding level (known as Maintenance of Effort) to ensure quality schools, County Executive Ball has exceeded that threshold by a total of $57.5 million, triple the amount of the previous administration. Since taking office, County Executive Ball has increased funding for our education system by $86.1 million.
These investments are delivering quality results. For example, the graduation rate for the Howard County Public School System’s Class of 2021 was 94.05 percent, the highest since 2011.
County Executive Ball’s funding commitment provides resources for all students. He established a new bus system serving low-income students at Howard County Head Start centers, provided free RTA bus passes to middle and high school students during the pandemic, and funded the Weekend Warrior Snack Pack Program, Choice Jobs Program, Summer Scholars, and Voices for Change, as well as other programs designed to address summer food insecurity.
Ensuring the Safety and Success of our Students and Educators During and After the Pandemic
Throughout the pandemic, County Executive Ball worked with the Howard County Public School System, the Board of Education, and the Howard County Educators Association to ensure that our educators were vaccinated as quickly as possible.
By allocating vaccines, setting up clinics specifically designated for educators, and organizing mobile clinics to allow easy access to vaccinations, Howard County has been able to vaccinate nearly 100 percent of educators.
County Executive Ball granted nearly $6 million in CARES Act funding to the school system during the pandemic, providing technological upgrades and securing public health equipment to support the safety of our students, educators, and school staff. Additionally, he led an effort to provide unprecedented commitment bonuses of $1,800 per person to recognize the heroic efforts of educators and staff during the pandemic.
Ensuring Student Safety
County Executive Ball further developed a plan to install cameras on the outside of school buses in an effort to monitor other drivers who might jeopardize student safety by trying to pass a school bus during drop-off or pick-up.
Growing Our World-Class Community College
As a former educator, County Executive Ball appreciates the critical role Howard Community College plays in the lives of Howard County learners. To ensure the continued growth and success of this world-class institution, County Executive Ball has provided more than $43 million in combined local and state funding for a new mathematics and athletic complex on the HCC campus. Additionally, he provided $36.5 million for more full-time faculty and staff positions. County Executive Ball has advocated for bargaining authority for community college faculty and staff, so that educators have greater control over their working conditions, especially in the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bolstering Mental and Behavioral Health Services
For children to succeed, they need more than an exceptional K-12 public school system. Ensuring wrap-around services that focus on mental and behavioral health is part of making sure every Howard County child reaches their full potential. As part of his commitment to youth, County Executive Ball has consistently provided funding for HoCo S.T.R.I.V.E.S, a multi-faceted strategy focused on increasing access for youth. In his most recent budget, County Executive Ball included $750,000 to expand support for mental and behavioral health, particularly in more vulnerable communities.
Ensuring the Solvency of the Health and Dental Fund
Shortly after taking office, County Executive Ball was confronted with a $39 million deficit in the school system’s health fund that drew the unwelcome attention of auditors. Working together with school leaders, County Executive Ball developed a plan to eliminate the deficit by 2024. The implementation of this plan would produce projected surplus years ahead of schedule.
Balancing Public Safety with Equity and Inclusivity
The role of School Resource Officers (SROs) has been the subject of intense debate in Howard County, with some calling for their removal from the schools and others advocating for growth in the program. After listening to public concern and analyzing the program’s effectiveness, County Executive Ball proposed improvements to the SRO program that allows officers to continue protecting Howard County’s students while also ensuring the program is not inadvertently causing negative impacts.
Supporting a Well-Rounded, Efficient, and Effective Educational System
The Howard County Library System is an integral part of education in the county. In his FY22 budget, Executive Ball increased library system operating funding by more than $22 million, and since taking office, increased the library system budget by 14.7 percent, well above the 11 percent of the prior administration. County Executive Ball committed funding to begin the process for a new Central Library branch in Columbia. Additionally, he supports an independent performance audit of the Howard County Public School System, in an effort to protect taxpayers and ensure prudent investments in education.