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School board to unveil budget

April 01, 2001

School board to unveil budget



By TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

The Washington County Board of Education will present its $128 million fiscal 2002 operating budget to the Washington County Commissioners tonight at 7 at Western Heights Middle School.

State aid represents $56 million of the $128 million budget, with other money coming from grants.

The School Board has added about $530,000 more to the 2002 budget proposed by Schools Superintendent Herman G. Bartlett in January, according to a comparison of both budgets. That amount consists of about a $500,000 anticipated increase in state aid. It is also seeking an additional $29,000 from the County Commissioners.

In total, the board is requesting $9.6 million over this year's $118.4 million operating budget, which includes $6.9 million from County Commissioners. The county is being asked to contribute about $70 million overall to the Board of Education's budget.

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School Board member Doris Nipps said once the budget is presented tonight, it's up to the commissioners to figure out how much they'll contribute.

"We now sit and wait until the County Commissioners decide how much money they're going to give us," Nipps said. "After tonight, the ball's in their court."

The board has said that receiving full funding from commissioners is unlikely, since it has never happened before. If it doesn't receive full funding, the School Board would have to make budget cuts.

"I'm anticipating that we will have to cut something," Nipps said. "I hope not..."

Commissioner Bert Iseminger said commissioners have included the entire $70 million request from the School Board in the county's proposed budget. But Iseminger also said the county is short of funding its proposed 2002 budget by $1.7 million. Education funding represents $70 million of Washington County's $130 million budget for 2002.

Commissioners plan to make some adjustments and hope to save about $500,000 by using the same health-care provider for county, Board of Education and Hagerstown Community College employees to make up for the shortfall. If the county doesn't make up the $1.7 million, it could pull some money out of the Board of Education's allocation.

"We're a long way from that at this point," Iseminger said.

He also said that funding salary increases for teachers would be the commissioners' first priority.

Nipps said the School Board is likely to adopt its final budget in May.

Included in the Board of Education's budget is:

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

-- $2.3 million in proposed health insurance rate increases;

-- $896,000 for 16 replacement school buses;

-- $329,720 in nonpublic school placement for special education students;

-- $350,000 in expected utility cost increases;

-- $250,000 for teachers' tuition reimbursement;

-- $181,000 for an expected 1 percent general inflationary increase;

-- $138,000 for four additional contract school buses in Hancock;

-- $35,000 for teacher signing bonuses.

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