What should schools cut?
How do you want the Washington County school system to spend your tax dollars?
That's the topic of The Herald-Mail's latest "Quick Comment" feature, which deals with the county school system's budget for the upcoming year. Here are the facts:
In January, School Superintendent Herman Bartlett Jr. presented a $108 million budget plan, an increase of $6 million over the current budget. The increase would fund three priorities: The first part of a multi-year effort to improve teacher pay, 38 new teachers and a new elementary-school reading program.
The problem is, despite a recent decision to reduce the county's general-fund subsidy of water and sewer rates by $700,000, the county commissioners are still offering only $4 million in "new money" for the school system's operating budget and $415,000 to upgrade the schools' computer network. The county board voted to raise the property-tax rate by 10 cents in May of 1997, but is not likely to make any additional changes now, since it's an election year.