County schools to get additional $1 million

May 12, 1998|By STEVEN T. DENNIS

Washington County schools received an extra $1 million from the County Commissioners this morning as part of a compromise brokered by Commissioners President Greg Snook.

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Snook spoke first and his proposal to pass the $142 million county budget carried the day on a 4-1 vote.

Only Jim Wade voted against Snook's proposal.

Snook proposed giving the Board of Education $55.2 million for its operating budget, an increase of $5 million over the current budget year and just $500,000 shy of Superintendent of Schools Herman Bartlett's proposed budget request.

The commissioners' proposed budget that they took to a public hearing had a $4 million increase for education.

"I think all of us wanted to put more funding in education," Snook said.

Snook also proposed an extra $150,000 to be split between the school nursing program and other programs run by the Washington County Health Department.


Snook paid for the $1.15 million in increased spending by using $500,000 out of the projected surplus for this budget year, cutting the general fund subsidy of the county's industrial pretreatment plant by $250,000, cutting the street repaving program by $250,000, and increasing revenues projected from the recordation tax by $150,000.

Snook said that if the county's surplus is greater than expected, the repaving program funding could be restored.

Wade said that the board's actions would obligate the county to spending more money in the future without a plan on how to meet those long-term expenses.

Commissioners Lee Downey, Ron Bowers and John Shank supported Snook.

Shank and Bowers had sought last week to give education an additional $1.5 million on top of the $4 million in the proposed budget. Downey had proposed giving education an additional $750,000.

Shank said that the commissioners are going to have to continue to increase the school budget substantially over the next several years.

'Progress' made

Teacher representatives at the commissioners meeting had generally positive comments about the budget.

"We've gotten closer than we've ever been (to full funding)," said Washington County Teachers Association President Sharon Chirgott.

"The commissioners did make progress today," said Denise Fry, vice president of the association.

The budget takes effect July 1.

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