Apr 30, 2018

Stressed School Budget



The Garrett County Republican --“Hard choices” are being made in Garrett County Schools — and more may have to be made in the future, a board of education member said during budget discussions Tuesday evening.

The proposed $52.5 million spending plan under review has the school system “cutting at the bone,” board Vice President Nathan Sorber said.


“This is not an ideal budget,” he said. “There are hard choices being made across the system to figure out a way to fund a system that does not have enough resources. … We need help. We need more resources. We are not able to fund all the programs that we need to fund at the correct level.”


Sorber said he would like to talk about adding teaching positions to replace ones that have been lost, but “this is not that budget.”


“Going through the strategic planning process, we’re going to have a conversation about hard choices in terms of what buildings we want to maintain and how many programs we’re going to leave, but we’re having that conversation because we are starved for resources, and we have made a lot of cuts,” he said.


Board member Tom Woods said the budget must be examined closely to find ways to best reallocate the available resources.


“There’s ‘x’ amount of dollars, and right now, ‘x’ is a negative number,” Woods said. “We just don’t have the money to do what we want to do.”


During the budget session, board members questioned several changes made in various categories, and asked whether any of them represented reductions in the teaching staff.

“This budget contains no cuts in any teaching position,” Superintendent Barbara Baker said.

In the public comment portion of the meeting, Evan West, representing the Garrett County Education Association, said the teachers’ union has seen the effects of budget reductions for several years.





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