School system increases state funding estimate by $2.3M
Public recommends names for new elementary school
Charles County Public Schools is expecting an additional $2.3 million from the state than orig- inally estimated for the next fiscal year, decreasing the amount the school system is asking from the county.
During a Jan. 23 public hearing and work session on Superintendent Kimberly Hill’s proposed Fiscal Year 2018 budget, Randy Sotomayor, assistant superintendent for budget and finance, said the school system is now looking at an increase of approximately $3.9 million from the state over last year’s funding level of $166 million, based on Maryland State Department of Education direct aid allocation estimates, released Jan. 20.
Originally, the school system’s proposed $364 million budget included an increase in state funding of $1.6 million, but Sotomayor said that number was a conservative placeholder until firmer figures came down from the state.
Correspondingly, the school system has reduced its county request by $2.3 million to $188.6 million. The school system was originally requesting $20.3
million over last year’s county funding of $170.6 million.
“This budget proposal is based on preliminary revenue estimates,” Sotomayor said.
The board is expected to vote on the budget during its Feb. 14 meeting. The budget is scheduled to be submitted to the county Feb. 28. The Charles County Board of Commissioners has a public hearing on the budget scheduled for May 9.
The school system also received an update on contract bids for the new elementary school being constructed on Billingsley Road.
At the Jan. 10 board meeting, Steven Andritz, director of planning and construction, said that the lowest bid received for the construction was approximately $5 million higher than the $30 million budgeted for the project.
Andritz told the board that additional funding was found through balances on previous projects and additional county funding, allowing the project to move forward.
Andritz requested the board approve awarding the school construction contract to Huntingtown-based Scheibel Construction Inc. for $35.8 million at the Feb. 14 board meeting. Construction is expected to begin in early March, Andritz said.
No one spoke regarding the budget during the public comment phase, but three people spoke in support of names for the new elementary school.
At its Dec. 13 meeting, the school naming committee presented the board with three finalist names for the new school: Charles E. Carrington, a former school board member, Ronald G. Cunningham, a former deputy superintendent, and Margaret Jamieson Thornton, an early childhood educator.
Christine Mais requested the board name the new school after Cunningham, with whom she worked as secretary and executive assistant for 17 years.
“He was a great listener, he was a great educator, and loved to share his experience as a teacher and as a principal,” Mais said. “Mr. Cunningham touched the lives of so many across the county. Many administrators are still inspired by his leadership.”
Mary Anne Cunningham, Ronald Cunningham’s widow, also requested the school be named after her late husband.
“Ron had two loves in his life; his family, and his dedication to education. Education was just the highlight of his life,” Mary Anne Cunningham said. “He truly enjoyed all aspects of education.”
Deborah Carrington requested the new school be named after her late husband, Charles Carrington.
“Charles had a passion for children, he had a passion for life. He had a passion for everything he did. He was truly an advocate and role model for students. He loved his community and he lived to serve,” Deborah Carrington said. “He proved that you don’t have to be an educator or an administrator to make a difference.”
Supporters of Thornton spoke in her favor at the Jan. 10 meeting.
The board is expected to vote on a name for the new school at its Feb. 14 meeting.