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School board increases its proposed operating budget

March 02, 2005|by JULIE E. GREENE

julieg@herald-mail.com

WASHINGTON COUNTY - The Washington County Board of Education added $696,218 to the proposed operating budget it agreed Tuesday night to present to the Washington County Commissioners.

That means the board will present a proposed $178,008,048 operating budget to the Washington County Commissioners next Tuesday night in Hagerstown Community College's Kepler Theater, school system officials said.

The proposed budget is $20.3 million more than the current fiscal year's budget, Director of Budget & Finance Chris South said.

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The school board will ask the commissioners for an increase over this current fiscal year of $3.8 million.

The $696,218 is an item the board negotiated after voting last week to take a proposed $177 million operating budget to public hearing on Tuesday, South said. Only one person commented on the budget during the hearing.

The additional money is for an item regarding contract negotiations, but South said he couldn't say what it was or for which contract. School system officials are negotiating contracts with teachers and support personnel.

The board added the money during a closed door meeting, South said.

The money would come from a fund balance, similar to a reserve fund, South said.

South said he did not mention the $696,218 before the public hearing because it was not included in the proposed budget the board voted on last week to take to public hearing.

Robin Schneider, who has three students in the county public school system, said she would have had questions concerning the budget if she could have seen a copy of the total proposed budget with line items.

School system officials said they could get her that information and that it was available at the school system's Web site.

The proposed operating budget includes 96.5 new positions.

The proposed $178 million operating budget, even without the $696,218, is slightly higher than the budget total reported at earlier meetings. How the discrepancy occurred was not clear Tuesday.

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