HAGERSTOWN, MD (February 15, 2005) - Members of the Elected Washington County Board of Education and county school officials are meeting in a Budget Work Session on Tuesday, February 15, 2005, to consider the Proposed Fiscal Year 2006 General Fund “Operating” Budget.The proposed budget includes an anticipated increase in state funding that will provide additional resources to address the educational needs of the projected 21,000 county students in FY 2006.
“This year, the state has really stepped up to the plate with a more appropriate funding level for our students,” said Dr. Betty Morgan, Superintendent. “The additional funds coming to Washington County through the state’s Bridge to Excellence will enable us to move forward on an ambitious agenda to address the needs of increasing enrollments and state and federal accountability.”
The $15.806 million increase in state formula funding for K-12 education to Washington County is due, in large part, to better identification of students in the county who are living in poverty, as measured through the Free and Reduced Price Meals (FARM) percentage, and to the increasing enrollment in the school system. Since 2001, the percentage of FARM students has increased from 27.6% in 2000 to the current 34.5% for 2004-2005. Enrollment has also increased from 19,411 students in 2000-2001 to 19,884 in 2003-2004. Enrollment is continuing to increase with 20,310 students in 2004-2005.
“Because the state funding formula is based on the number of students enrolled during the previous academic year, we currently have a budget that is chasing enrollments,” said Paul Bailey, president of the Board of Education. “The increase in state funding this year will enable us to aggressively tackle the need for resources for our students and to provide increased support to classroom teachers, maintain class sizes, continue to phase-in All-Day kindergarten, and provide funds to address projects that have been deferred for many years.”
For more detailed information regarding the proposed budget, see the “FAQ for BOE Budget Work Session.” The document is also available through the Public Information Office, 301-766-2809.