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Pay hike included in $127.4 million education budget

February 21, 2001

Pay hike included in $127.4 million education budget



By TARA REILLY / Staff Writer


The Washington County Board of Education Tuesday night adopted its proposed $127.4 million operating budget for fiscal 2002.

The budget includes $9.6 million in new money requests, with $6.9 million requested from local funds.

"Hopefully, we'll be able to find the money to fund the entire budget," said Board President J. Herbert Hardin.

The new money requests include:

--$5.3 million in salary increases for all staff.

--$2.3 million in cost increases for health-care benefits.

--$896,000 for 16 replacement buses.

--$350,000 in increased energy costs.

The board has made about 25 adjustments since Schools Superintendent Herman G. Bartlett presented the budget in early January. Those adjustments, which include both increases and decreases in revenue, reduced Bartlett's proposed budget by $13,379.

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The changes included cutting $216,000 for four new school buses and using $68,000 in grants to pay the salary of a software specialist, rather than using new money. It will also use grant money to pay $34,986 for the salary of a part-time health resource teacher. Bartlett had originally asked that the salary come from new money, under the belief that the grant was expiring.

The School Board also decided to eliminate a convocation usually held at the beginning of the school year, saving $20,400.

It agreed to increase Bartlett's budget request for the nonpublic school placement of special education students by $679,720, bringing the total to $3.5 million. Bartlett had requested $2.8 million.

The board added $101,853 for a projected increase in workers' compensation rates, approved a $7,971 increase for the rates of officials for sporting events and added $5,000 toward employee incentives, among other increases.

School Board Vice President Bernadette Wagner said the board will hold more meetings and make adjustments to the proposed budget before it is approved again and submitted to the Washington County Commissioners.

The budget meetings scheduled are:

--Feb. 27 -- a public hearing at the board's central office on the proposed budget at 7 p.m., followed by a work session to make changes.

--March 6 -- adoption of the proposed budget with changes made at the Feb. 27th meeting.

--March 19 -- the board will submit its budget to the County Commissioners at 7 p.m. at Western Heights Middle School.

Anyone wishing to comment at the public hearing may register through the superintendent's office at 301-766-2815 before 4 p.m. on Feb. 27, or at the board auditorium at least 30 minutes before the meeting. The board encourages speakers to bring written copies of their testimony.

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