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Board of education adopts draft budget

February 21, 2007|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM

HAGERSTOWN - The operating budget for Washington County Public Schools in the next fiscal year could be nearly $219 million.

The Washington County Board of Education voted unanimously Tuesday to adopt the draft budget, which includes more than $26 million in increases over last fiscal year's budget.

Board Member Bernadette M. Wagner was absent for the vote.

The board is not scheduled to formally adopt the budget until March after a public hearing, officials have said.

The fiscal year 2007 budget was about $193 million.

Most increases in the draft fiscal year 2008 general fund budget are related to employee compensation, retirement, health insurance and other benefits for new and existing staff, according to a document provided to the board. More than $12.5 million has been allotted in that category over last year's budget.

The specifics have not been discussed publicly.

Increases related to facilities maintenance and improvement saw about $4.5 million in increases in the draft budget, according to budget documents. Maintenance materials increases ($450,000), equipment and furniture for new schools ($250,000) and access control and cameras in schools ($250,000) were a few of the more costly items in that category.

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Enrollment growth and efforts to meet state and federal standards were two other areas that saw increases in draft budget items for fiscal 2008.

Many line items stem from the opening of one new elementary school in the Westfields community and two larger elementary schools - Pangborn and Maugansville - in 2008. Some of those expenses include networking equipment ($150,000), a library collection for Westfields ($250,000) and equipment and furniture for new schools ($250,000).

Board Member W. Edward Forrest said the public would have time to comment on the budget in several ways, including a public hearing on the draft budget Feb. 27 at 6 p.m.




Timeline for final adoption of budget



The following is a timeline of events as the Washington County Board of Education works to adopt its fiscal year 2008 operating budget:

· Adopted a draft budget Tuesday

· Budget Advocacy and Review Committee to meet Feb. 21 and make formal recommendation

· Public hearing scheduled for Feb. 27

· The board is scheduled to adopt the budget March 20

· The budget will be presented to the Washington County Board of Commissioners on March 27

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