School board ap­proves fis­cal year 2017 bud­get

Cecil Whig - - LOCAL - By JES­SICA IAN­NETTA

jian­netta@ce­cil­whig.com

— With only a lit­tle more than two weeks to go be­fore the end of the fis­cal year, the Ce­cil County Board of Ed­u­ca­tion of­fi­cially adopted its fis­cal year 2017 bud­get on Mon­day night.

The $195.9 mil­lion op­er­at­ing bud­get in­cludes a 1.1 per­cent, or roughly $860,000, main­te­nance of ef­fort in­crease in county fund­ing for a to­tal county ap­pro­pri­a­tion of $80.6 mil­lion.

Af­ter spend­ing last week’s meet­ing dis­cussing how to pare down its orig­i­nal bud­get re­quest — which asked for a 3.1 per­cent, or about $2.49 mil­lion, in­crease

ELK­TON

in county fund­ing — the school board passed the fi­nal bud­get on Mon­day night with­out any dis­cus­sion or changes.

“We have a small in­crease in fed­eral fund­ing, a sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in state fund­ing and a main­te­nance of ef­fort bud­get from the county,” Su­per­in­ten­dent D’Ette Devine said. “Both the county coun­cil and the county ex­ec­u­tive did sup­port our cap­i­tal fund­ing, which we very much ap­pre­ci­ate.”

Main­te­nance of ef­fort refers to a state law that re­quires a county to fund its pub­lic schools at an amount no less than the per-pupil av­er­age pro­vided the prior year, with ad­just­ments for changes in en­roll­ment.

To ac­count for the smaller county in­crease in fund­ing, school of­fi­cials pared down the num­ber of new po­si­tions they hoped to add from 28.9 full-time equiv­a­lent (FTE) po­si­tions to 19.4 FTE po­si­tions. The ma­jor­ity of those cuts came from re­duc­ing the pro­posed in­crease in class­room spe­cial ed­u­ca­tion teach­ers from 13 to six.

Other than the new staff re­duc­tions, the school sys­tem also plans to save money by de­lay­ing the re­place­ment of the ag­ing Elk­ton High School cam­era sys­tem and by leas­ing some tech­nol­ogy and ve­hi­cles in­stead of buy­ing them.

The board also ap­proved the fis­cal year 2017 cap­i­tal bud­get, which in­cludes fund­ing for nine con­struc- tion projects.

Some of the big­gest al­lo­ca­tions are for ele­men­tary school con­struc­tion projects, in­clud­ing $4,038,000 in state fund­ing for the new Gilpin Manor Ele­men­tary School, the re­main­ing state and lo­cal funds for the Per­ryville Ele­men­tary School ren­o­va­tions and $900,000 in county funds to pur­chase the land for the new Ch­e­sa­peake City Ele­men­tary School.

Con­struc­tion on Per­ryville Ele­men­tary is set to wrap up this sum­mer with stu­dents sched­uled to re­turn to the school in Au­gust. Of­fi­cials hope to put the Gilpin Manor project out to bid this sum­mer with con­struc­tion start­ing in early fall.

Other projects in the cap­i­tal bud­get are boiler re­place­ments at Bo­hemia Manor Mid­dle and High School, Ken­more Ele­men­tary School, Cherry Hill Mid­dle School and Thomson Es­tates Ele­men­tary School, a new roof and ex­te­rior restora­tion for Ce­cil­ton Ele­men­tary School and the fi­nal year of the Broad­band Tech­nol­ogy Op­por­tu­ni­ties Pro­gram (BTOP).

The school sys­tem also ex­pects to re­ceive a fed­eral grant for part of the BTOP fund­ing and has pro­posed us­ing those sav­ings to fund the Per­ryville High School cool­ing tower re­place­ment and in­stalling a wa­ter­line at Ce­cil Manor Ele­men­tary School as well as fund part of the Bo­hemia Manor Mid­dle and High School wa­ter­line in­stal­la­tion.

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