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Morgan salutes county on funding

April 20, 2005|by TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

WASHINGTON COUNTY - The Washington County Board of Education would receive nearly $82 million from the County Commissioners for operational costs in fiscal year 2006 - every dollar the School Board requested, Budget and Finance Director Debra Murray told the Commissioners Tuesday.

"So what you're saying is we're fully funding their request?" Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook asked.

"Yes, it's been fully funded," Murray said.

Murray unveiled the county's proposed $160.86 million general fund budget at Tuesday's meeting.

Of that amount, $92.7 million is proposed to go to education. That includes $81.98 million for the School Board and $6 million for Hagerstown Community College.

Murray said the School Board is tentatively set to receive $80.1 million in maintenance of effort funding - the amount mandated by the state, $1.56 million in one-time costs, $245,000 for crossing guards and $54,700 for the Judith Center.

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The proposed allocations add up to a $3.1 million increase over the $78.8 million the Commissioners gave the School Board for the current fiscal year.

Schools Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan said by phone Tuesday that the commissioners have played a large part in helping to create a "world class" public school system.

The Commissioners came within $100,000 of fully funding the School Board's budget request for the current fiscal year.

"As always, I applaud the commissioners' efforts," Morgan said. "They have contributed largely to us being able to improve public education in Washington County."

The $1.56 million in one-time costs proposed for the school system will pay for 11 replacement buses, nine new buses to accommodate enrollment growth and three additional buses for autistic and special education students, the county said.

Hagerstown Community College would receive $6 million from the commissioners, which is what the college requested.

That amount is an increase of $783,357 over this year's allocation of $5.2 million, according to the proposed budget.

The commissioners will hold a public hearing on the proposed budget May 10 at 7 p.m. at Kepler Theater.

The tentative budget also includes:

n $76.3 million in real estate tax revenue

n $56.4 million in income tax revenue

n $15.6 million for the Washington County Sheriff's Department, which is a $1.2 million increase over the current allocation of $14.4 million.

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