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Local schools could get $1 million in state funds

November 07, 1997

By DAVE McMILLION

Staff Writer

Washington County schools would get nearly $1 million in additional state funding under a plan by state School Superintendent Nancy Grasmick to equalize aid to school districts.

The money was included in a $46 million package unveiled Wednesday in Annapolis.

The plan, which would give $943,691 to Washington County, was presented to a task force studying school funding, said House Speaker Casper Taylor, D-Allegany.

Local members of the Washington County Board of Education have asked for more money to equalize the amount of state funds going to different counties.

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To justify the funding request, Board of Education President B. Marie Byers has cited a state statistic showing Washington County being ranked third from the bottom last year in how much it costs the county per year to educate a child.

Washington County spends $5,781 per student, while Montgomery County, with the highest spending ratio, spends $7,887, according to the state Department of Education.

Although the funding levels are different, board member Doris J. Nipps said its hard to tell whether the level of education is different between the two counties.

Robert L. Kline, vice president of the board, said he would like to see the money used to purchase computers for elementary schools.

A recently released curriculum audit said there is infrequent use of computers in classrooms, and Kline said the problem is especially evident in elementary schools.

Taylor said "a genuine consensus" is developing among lawmakers in regards to the issue of funding equity.

"They know what we need," Kline said.

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