The Carroll County Board of Education adopted the Superintendent's proposed budget Wednesday, much to the chagrin of Commissioner Doug Howard, who said the county just doesn't have the money to fund at the requested level.
The school board will be asking the county commissioners to increase funding of Carroll County Public Schools (CCPS) by $1.7 million, or one percent above last year's funding level. The board of education will ask the commissioners for total funding of $166.6 million.
CCPS Superintendent Stephen Guthrie explained that the the school system has made $20 million in reductions in the past five years and cut 155 positions system-wide.
The FY14 budget again includes reductions--20 custodial staff positions and four central office staff positions. Additionally, Guthrie explained that the school system has to absorb $2,061,303 in inflationary increases that include employee benefits, bus contractor costs and insurances.
CCPS Chief Financial Officer Chris Hartlove said that there are still unknowns in the budget, including how much funding will come from the state and county.
Commissioner Howard said that he doesn't foresee the county funding education above $164 million. Last year the commissioners forecast funding education at $164 million in FY14.
"There has never been any serious position that's been taken by any of us [commissioners] that there's more than $164 million there," Howard said. "There is nothing to suggest that things are fundamentally better than that."
"My concern obviously is that $164 million still seems to be the high number we're talking about; other numbers we are discussing are $3 million below that," Howard said.
Board of Education member Gary Bauer said he "doesn't buy it"—he believes the county does have money to spend on education.
"You have more than $164 million," Bauer said in response to Howard. "Raise the taxes. This county is very wealthy; it's time they pay for what they want," Bauer said.
"The state has just reduced [our funding], saying we're wealthier than before," Bauer continued. "I'm tired of hearing we don't have money. We have the money."
Board of Education member Virginia Harrison agreed saying, "We're beginning to lose good teachers who are going to other counties that pay more.
"That one percent [property] tax cut last year ... it would be fine with me if [the county] kept it and gave it to the school system," Harrison said.
Upcoming Education Forums
- The Board of Carroll County Commissioners will host an education forum on Monday, March 4, at 7 p.m. at Carroll Community College
- A forum with Superintendent Guthrie at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 7 at Century High School
- A forum with Superintendent Guthrie at 7 p.m. on Monday, March 18 at North Carroll High School
- A forum with Superintendent Guthrie at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 3 at Westminster High School (rescheduled from March 4)
On March 5, the commissioners will hold an evening open session meeting at 7 p.m. at the County Office Building to discuss a tax rate reduction, education funding and employee salaries.
- School Superintendent Says Proposed Budget 'By No Means Represents What We Really Need'
- School Superintendent Says of Budgets: 'We are at a Tipping Point in our School System'
- Board of Ed Moves Forward with Facilities Study