Advertisement

Washington Co. schools could lose $1.6 million to federal budget cuts

March 06, 2013|By JULIE E. GREENE | julieg@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN — If the federal budget cuts known as sequester continue, the impact on Washington County Public Schools could be between $664,000 and $1.6 million, with most of that expected to be felt in the coming fiscal year, the school system’s chief financial officer said.

“Now, I know that’s a big swing, and that big swing ... relates to the implementation dates and when things will actually hit our budget,” Chief Financial Officer Chris South told the Board of Education on Tuesday before the board voted on the proposed budget.

The potential cuts could affect the school system’s federal programs, including Title 1 and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, South said.

The federal Title 1 program helps school systems meet the educational needs of low-achieving students in schools with a high-poverty rate, according to the U.S. Department of Education’s website.

School system officials are trying not to let the cuts directly affect personnel, but that could depend on how deep the cuts will be, South said. With the current figures he has, South said school system officials believe the cuts could be absorbed without layoffs.

The federal sequester’s potential impact on the school system came up during Tuesday discussions about the proposed budget.

The school board voted unanimously Tuesday to adopt its draft $254 million budget for the fiscal year that starts on July 1.

A public hearing on the draft budget will be held at 6 p.m. on March 12 at the school system’s administrative offices off Commonwealth Avenue.

School system spokesman Richard Wright said anyone who wants to comment on the budget should plan on being present at the start of the public hearing.

If no one is interested in speaking at the hearing, the hearing will be adjourned, Board President Justin Hartings said during Tuesday’s meeting.

For at least the past two years, the board has taken a recess to allow late-comers to the public hearing a chance to comment. There will be no recess this time, Wright said.

If people were planning on showing up to the hearing at 8 p.m., the board might not be there, Hartings said.

Few people, outside of school system officials and the media, have attended the school system’s budget hearings in recent years.

The board’s Budget Advocacy and Review Committee will provide its recommendations, concerning the draft budget, to the board on March 12, South said.

Any changes the school board wants to make to the draft budget would occur during the March 19 board meeting, South said.

The school board is expected to present its budget to the Washington County Commissioners on March 26, Wright said.

Advertisement
The Herald-Mail Articles
|
|
|