Washington County's Maryland School Performance Assessment test scores rank about 12th in the state, while Frederick County's rank in the top five, officials said Tuesday.
The comments came after Bartlett gave the County Commissioners a chart showing how the percentage of the county budget that goes for education has gradually declined since 1988. Education spending made up nearly 60 percent of the commissioners' budget in 1988, and it is now at about 50 percent, according to Bartlett's figures.
Of the state's 24 counties, Washington County ranks 23rd in the amount it spends on each student.
"I can't do it without the money," Bartlett said during a meeting with the County Commissioners at Smithsburg Middle School.
The school board is putting together its budget for the 1998-99 school year. Bartlett has proposed a $108 million budget, a spending plan that would require about a $5.5 million funding increase from the County Commissioners.
Several issues relating to the budget are before the board. A group of parents and teachers, calling themselves the Washington County Alliance for Elementary Instrumental Music, are asking the board to set aside $225,000 to teach instrumental music in elementary schools.
Three of the five school board members say they support the music program.
The board is expected to make changes to Bartlett's budget on March 17, said school board member Doris J. Nipps. Board members will then hold a public hearing on a final proposed budget on March 19 at 7 p.m. in the board auditorium.
The board will present its budget to the County Commissioners on March 24 at 7 p.m. at the Kepler Theater at Hagerstown Junior College.