If last week's budget workshop is a true indication of their feelings, the Washington County Commissioners will probably fund about half the county school system's request for new money, putting educators' raises, 38 new teaching slots and a new elementary reading program in jeopardy.
It's time for citizens to decide if they're willing to fight for these programs, because unless citizens lobby the county board, the commissioners are unlikely to put more than $4 million in new money into the system.
Fully funding the school system budget as presented by Superintendent Herman Bartlett Jr. would require $8.6 million in new county funds. About $3 million of that would go toward a proposal to enhance teacher salaries here, which for starting teachers now rank 20th when compared to the state's 23 counties and Baltimore City. Without this enhancement, teachers would still get a 3 percent raise, but a multi-year proposal to improve the pay scale here would be put off for at least another year.