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BOE budget could include 83 new full-time employees

February 28, 2007|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM

HAGERSTOWN - The chief financial officer of Washington County Public Schools told a group of more than 50 people Tuesday that the operating budget for the next fiscal year could include 83 new full-time equivalent employees.

Forty-five of those employees will help the school system keep up with enrollment growth, and 36 will be added to meet state and federal standards, Chris South said. Additional positions were included in other categories.

The Washington County Board of Education voted unanimously Feb. 20 to adopt the draft budget for fiscal year 2008, totaling nearly $219 million.

Two people spoke at a public hearing Tuesday on a presentation of that budget. The budget advocacy and review committee will present its recommendations on the draft budget to the board March 6 before it is expected to be adopted March 20.

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The general fund budget for the upcoming fiscal year includes more than $26 million in increases over last year.

Russell F. Williams, a former board member, questioned why $15,000 was designated in the draft budget to rent spaces to park school buses.

"Such expenditure gives ammunition to those who are looking for excuses to argue that the Board of Education wastes money," he said.

He suggested parking the buses at a lot in Williamsport, an idea that came under heavy fire last year from people in the community who opposed the idea.

"Certainly those people in Williamsport who could look out their windows and see an empty parking lot owned by the (board) would be outraged at this $15,000 expenditure," Williams said.

He also praised a decision to allot $150,000 for a transportation hub for high school magnet programs. He called it a wise and efficient use of taxpayer funds.

The budget also includes increases in security spending. Five additional school resource officers are expected to cost $250,000, and another $250,000 was included for access control and cameras in schools.

South said that more than $1.25 million has been spent in recent fiscal years to improve safety and security in the county's schools.

A presentation of the budget before Washington County Commissioners is scheduled for March 27 at 7 p.m. at North Hagerstown High School.




Know more in 30 seconds



Issue: The Washington County Board of Education voted to approve a nearly $219 million dollar draft budget for fiscal year 2008.

What's new: The board gave a presentation of the draft budget Tuesday night. The public had the opportunity to comment.

What's next: The board is expected to adopt the budget during a business meeting March 20, and will make a presentation on the budget before Washington County Commissioners March 27.

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