Ocean City Today

Worcester Schools propose $104M fiscal 2019 budget

By Kara Hallissey | Feb 08, 2018

(Feb. 9, 2018) Although salary negotiations are still taking place, and the proposed budget will not be adopted until Feb. 20, Worcester County Public Schools Superintendent Lou Taylor and Chief Financial Officer Vincent Tolbert presented school board members with a $104 million draft budget for fiscal year 2019 at a work session on Tuesday.

The requested $104.7 million includes about $1 million for step increases to salaries, $625,000 for a one-percent cost-of-living increase, an estimated $745,970 for health insurance increases, $42,000 for a one-percent increase in hourly and mileage rates for bus contractors and more than $1 million for one-time capital projects.

In addition, $45,000 is being requested to cover transportation costs for athletics in the high schools and $48,664 is needed for bus contractors to purchase seven new buses. 

The one-time capital projects include $700,000 for a new athletic field at Stephen Decatur High School, $200,000 to replace outdated reading textbooks in the elementary schools and $75,000 to replace 30-year-old band uniforms at all three high schools.

“Band uniforms are very expensive and all schools are fundraising on their own and encouraged to raise $25,000,” Taylor said. “Elementary school students are

using reading text from before the college and career readiness standards went into place.”

In addition, $343,500 is requested to upgrade the energy management systems at Pocomoke and Stephen Decatur middle schools.

Worcester County Schools are slated to receive a $33,367 increase in state funds from last year with a more than $1.2 million increase in maintenance of effort funding.

Through maintenance of effort, counties in Maryland are required by law to spend as much as they did on education as the previous fiscal year.

In Worcester County, the schools depend on the county government to provide more than 76 percent of funding annually, Tolbert said.

County commissioners have also asked school system officials to find a couple thousand dollars to contribute to post-employment pensions [OPEB] this year.

“We are still meeting with commissioners and talks are going well,” Taylor said.

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