Thursday, December 17, 2009

Big Numbers

When I think of the Howard County School System I generally think of the individual schools or the school board. I also understand that it is also one of the largest employers in the county and that it consumes the lion’s share of the county budget. This week, in an email from the school system, I got a better understanding of the breadth of the school system property operations and real estate.

The school system owns 79 facilities totaling 7,731,963 square feet and 1,576 acres of land spread all over the county. To put that into perspective, that is more than all of the office space in Columbia Gateway Corporate Park (5.4 million square feet) and more than twice the size of Maple Lawn (600 acres).

The operating cost for this real estate portfolio is approximately $40 million per year which includes just over $6 million for landscaping and grounds maintenance. This makes the school system the largest property management operation in the county.

That’s a pretty big footprint.


Sarah said...

Not surprised... think about football fields, baseball diamonds, large enclosed auditoriums, gyms, parking lots, not to mention that each school is a facility that houses hundreds (if not thousands) of kids each day along with teachers and any support staff. It's massive.

Anonymous said...

It is THE largest employer in the county about 8000 employees. HCPSS is responsible for almost 50,000 children every day. Imagine that. It's a much larger operation than county government - thus the salary differential between the Superintendent and the County Executive is well justified. We are lucky to have Dr. Sydney Cousin.

Freemarket said...

Of course they are huge. What else would one expect when they have no competition, no one directly pays for their services and they never have to worry about funding? They are a tax funded monopoly in one of the wealthiest suburbs in the nation.