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School board asks commission for full funding

March 25, 1998|By DAVE McMILLION

by Ric Dugan / staff photographer

see the enlargement

Wash. Co. Commissioners

Members of the Washington County Board of Education urged the Washington County Commissioners Tuesday night to make "an investment in our children" by approving a $108.5 million schools budget.

County school budgets have had to be pared in recent years due to funding constraints, but parents and teachers urged the County Commissioners to keep that from happening this year.

The budget includes $3.5 million for wage increases and $330,000 to expand computer education in classrooms.

Washington County's beginning teacher salary of $25,075 is ranked 21st in the state, and school officials believe it has caused a decline in the number of teachers applying for jobs in the county.

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About 100 people attended the meeting at Hagerstown Junior College's Kepler Theater.

Many spoke in favor of the school board's decision last week to return an instrumental music program to elementary schools.

"I am proud to be wearing this shirt tonight," said Maryland Symphony Orchestra Director Barry Tuckwell of a bright yellow shirt given to him by Washington County Alliance for Elementary Instrumental Music.

The Board of Education added $295,200 to the budget for music instruction after the group led a campaign to add the program to elementary schools.

Tuckwell told the commissioners that if instrumental music is not added to elementary schools, "you're going to have lousy bands in high schools in about six years time."

County Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook said the commissioners will review the proposed schools budget in coming weeks.

School officials said the budget seeks about $6 million more from the commissioners than the current spending plan. County officials put the figure closer to $7 million.

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