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Teacher pay raises may have to wait

April 15, 1998

Raising teacher salaries by 3 percent would eat up most of the proposed increase in county funding of the Washington County school system, yet it's only one of the school board's top three priorities, school officials said Tuesday.

The Washington County Commissioners have proposed contributing $54.2 million toward the Washington County Board of Education's operating budget. That is a $4 million increase over its contribution for the current year, Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook told the school board during a joint meeting at Funkstown Elementary School.

It still leaves the school board $2.1 million short of the $56.3 million in county money needed to fund the board's proposed $108.5 million operating budget, said C. Christian South, the school system's director of finance.

After funding teachers' raises, the school board would have $500,000 of additional county money to spend on a new reading program and 38 new teaching positions included in the board's proposed budget, board member Doris J. Nipps said.

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If the school system doesn't follow through with the proposed $3.5 million for pay raises, teacher salaries likely will drop in comparison with those of other school systems, said acting Schools Superintendent Herman G. Bartlett Jr.

Bartlett said he based that on what he had heard from other school superintendents around the state.

The county's starting salary for teachers now ranks 20th when compared to the state's 23 counties and Baltimore city, according to reports.

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