Hearing set on Washington Co. schools budget

March 07, 2011|By JULIE E. GREENE |

HAGERSTOWN — — Last year’s public hearing for the Washington County Board of Education’s proposed budget lasted less than 45 minutes and only six people spoke during the citizen comment period, according to hearing minutes.

Tuesday’s public hearing on the school board’s $241.7 million draft budget could end up being just as short, a school board member said Monday.

The hearing is scheduled for 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the school board auditorium at the Central Office off Commonwealth Avenue. The hearing will be televised on Antietam Cable’s channel 99.

Board policy calls for a 2 1/2-hour public hearing and permits the superintendent to continue the hearing at a later date if that’s not enough time.

However, if not many people show up to comment, the hearing could end early like it did last year, Board of Education President Wayne Ridenour said Monday.

“Hopefully, people will get there as soon as they can. Hopefully, we get more people,” Ridenour said.

Before public comment began at the March 16, 2010, budget hearing, Ridenour announced that if anyone showed up after 7 p.m., they would have a chance to speak, according to hearing minutes available online through BoardDocs at After the initial six people spoke and a short break was taken, there were no additional citizen comments and the hearing was adjourned at 7:06 p.m., according to the minutes.

Those who want to speak at Tuesday’s hearing will have three minutes or, if they represent an organization, five minutes, according to board policy.

People who cannot make it to the hearing and want to share their thoughts with the board can e-mail school board members at, school system spokesman Richard Wright said.

The school board must present its budget to the Washington County Commissioners on March 29.

Ridenour said school board officials want to be receptive and allow as many people to speak as possible.

“If (there’s) nobody there, at a certain point, it seems futile to stay,” Ridenour said. “If people don’t come, they don’t come.”

If you go ...
What: Public hearing on Washington County Board of Education’s proposed budget
When: Tuesday, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Where: Washington County Public Schools Central Office auditorium, off Commonwealth Avenue in Hagerstown

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