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Washington County school board picks its legislative priorities

November 07, 2008|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

With school districts across Maryland focused on potential funding cuts from the state, local school officials will focus during the Maryland General Assembly's upcoming legislative session on maintaining the current level of state funding.

The School Board said Thursday when discussing its legislative priorities that members oppose any reductions in state funding for local schools.

The board approved its legislative priorities Thursday 6-0, with Board Member Paul W. Bailey absent.

Washington County Public Schools also will advocate for fewer state mandates in classroom curriculum. If state-enforced changes are made, board members say they would like those mandates to be fully funded.

The School Board also is advocating for more equity in state funding, and would like additional consideration for costs incurred in Washington County as a result of the high percentage of students qualifying for free or reduced-price meals or higher transportation costs for school buses that drive more miles through rural areas.

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Another local priority is for adequate state funding for school buildings. Those funds would pay for new school construction, modernization of existing facilities, repairs to aging schools and to support construction of green buildings.

Board members also discussed the possibility of meeting more frequently with the local delegation in Annapolis than they have in the past.

Board Vice President Donna Brightman asked if the board would like to schedule a weekly meeting in Annapolis with the delegation. That is one possibility the board will discuss that will give them more visibility and a chance to push for their priorities, she said.

Board Member Bernadette M. Wagner and Board President Roxanne R. Ober said that same goal could be accomplished by a conference call or perhaps in a meeting in Washington County.

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