Calvin ball’s record on:
Investing in State-of-the-Art Learning Centers
To address overcrowding and to ensure that Howard County’s children are learning in state-of-the-art learning centers, County Executive Calvin Ball has provided more than $58 million per year to support school capital projects, allowing the top three priority projects of the Howard County Public School System – New High School #13, Talbott Springs Elementary School, and Hammond High School to begin construction. This level of funding for school construction represents an average annual increase of nearly 25 percent over the prior administration.
Providing Record Funding for Howard County’s Children
Since taking office, County Executive Ball has consistently provided record funding for K-12 education. Funding for the Howard County Public School System has exceeded the required Maintenance of Effort (MOE) funding level by an average of $5.8 million per year, over $1 million more than the average level above MOE achieved by the prior administration. Recurring County funding for HCPSS has increased by nearly $40 million over three budget cycles since County Executive Ball took office.
Ensuring the Safety and Success of our Students and Educators Throughout the Pandemic
Throughout the pandemic, County Executive Ball worked with HCPSS and the Howard County Educators Association (HCEA) 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 to date. County Executive Ball also granted nearly $6 million in CARES Act funding to HCPSS, providing technology upgrades to support our students and educators and securing public health equipment to ensure the safety of our schools.
Growing Our World-Class Community College
As a former educator, County Executive Ball appreciates the critical role Howard Community College (HCC) plays in the lives of children and adults in Howard County. To ensure the continued growth and success of this world-class institution, County Executive Ball has provided almost $23 million in county and leveraged state funding for a new mathematics and athletic complex on the HCC campus.
Bolstering Mental and Behavioral Health Services
For children to succeed, they need more than just 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 in the county, 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 the FY2022 proposed budget, County Executive Ball included $750,000 to expand support for mental and behavioral health, particularly in communities of high need.
Ensuring the Solvency of the Health and Dental Fund
Shortly after taking office, County Executive Ball was confronted with a Health Fund deficit that exceeded $39 million and an adverse audit opinion. Working together with the school system, a multi-year plan was developed to reduce and ultimately eliminate the deficit by 2024. Just over a year after developing the plan, the deficit has been reduced by over $20 million to a current total of $18.7 million. The approved FY2022 Operating Budget will provide $12.5 million to further pay down the health fund deficit, potentially leading to the elimination of the deficit several years ahead of schedule.
Balancing Public Safety with Equity and Inclusivity
Following a number of rallies in the summer of 2020, the debate as to whether school resource officers (SROs) should remain in schools has been ongoing in Howard County. After closely considering all sides, County Executive Ball proposed several changes to the SRO program that would allow officers to continue to protect the safety of Howard County’s students while also ensuring the program is not inadvertently causing negative impacts to students.