Crabb takes board to task for budget cuts

May 20, 1998|By DAVE McMILLION

A member of the budget advisory committee for the Washington County Board of Education criticized the board's decision last week to cut nearly $700,000 from the 1998-99 budget without consulting his group.

Gordon Crabb said when he joined the budget advisory committee, others told him that the group's efforts would be ignored.

Now Crabb said he is wondering if bringing group into the process was a "sham to gain the public's support."

The Board of Education had to cut nearly $700,000 from its budget because the Washington County Commissioners did not give the Board of Education the full amount it requested for the budget next year.

The $55.2 million the commissioners gave to the board last week was $1 million more than the commissioners initially had proposed, but was $1.1 million short of what the board needed, school officials said.

Crabb, who is running for the Board of Education this year, made his comments during a Tuesday morning board work session.


Board members did not make any comments.

But during the board's regular meeting Tuesday afternoon, School Superintendent Herman G. Bartlett Jr. praised the budget process and the progress that was made in getting increased money for schools this year. Bartlett said there was "broad support" for the budget, which was illustrated by the commissioners' decision to add $1 million more to the spending plan.

"I know what a tough, tough struggle that was," Bartlett said during the board meeting at Boonsboro High School.

Bartlett said the board was able to keep three items in the budget that are vital to the local school system:

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* " NATURALSIZEFLAG="0" ALIGN="BOTTOM"> Salary increases for employees.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* " NATURALSIZEFLAG="0" ALIGN="BOTTOM"> A district-wide reading program for students.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* " NATURALSIZEFLAG="0" ALIGN="BOTTOM"> Funding for 41 additional teaching positions.

The commissioners voted on the $55.2 million for schools last Wednesday. The Board of Education decided the next day to cut about $700,000 from their budget, including a $295,200 instrumental music program for elementary schools and $330,000 to improve computer education.

The instrumental music program was not in the budget initially, but was added after a campaign by teachers and parents.

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