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BOE tentatively adopts budget

February 20, 2002

BOE tentatively adopts budget



By TARA REILLY
tarar@herald-mail.com


The Washington County Board of Education Tuesday night adopted a tentative $133.2 million operating budget for fiscal year 2003, a document that asks for a nearly $6 million increase from the county.

The School Board may still make changes to the budget if necessary before it is presented to the Washington County Board of Commissioners in April. The commissioners must approve the budget before it becomes a working document.

The proposed $133.2 million budget is about an $8.4 million increase over this year's $125.5 million budget. Of that $8.4 million, the county is being asked to contribute $5.78 million in new money, which would bring the county's total allocation next year to about $74 million, school officials said.

The county contribution is just less than $70 million this year.

The commissioners are the main funding source for the School Board, followed by the state. The total state contribution for fiscal 2003 is expected to be about $58.3 million.

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Last week, the School Board said it would need a $6.5 million increase from the county to cover expenses, but that amount dropped to $5.78 million this week. That's because the school system will receive about $330,000 more from the state than originally expected, and turnover credit is projected to be higher than anticipated, said Chris South, the board's director of finance.

The budget includes:

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> $3.9 million in salary increases

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> $1.6 million in health insurance costs

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> $592,000 for improvements to instruction

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> $532,415 for improvements to high school instruction

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> $896,000 to buy 16 replacement school buses

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> $178,900 for building repair, modernization and security

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> $168,000 for a projected increase in workers' compensation premiums

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> $200,000 for special education revenue shortfall

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> $9,400 to fund a 50 percent increase in school administrators' mileage expenses

The budget includes the creation of 11 new positions. Six of those positions are teaching jobs for the high school level, four are teaching positions for the new Alternative High School and the final position is a security management specialist. The specialist would oversee school safety plans and other school security issues.

The School Board has set a public hearing on the budget for 7 p.m. March 6. The board is scheduled to submit the proposed budget to the commissioners April 2 at 7 p.m. at Hagerstown Community College's Kepler Theater.

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