Com­mis­sion­ers give ad­di­tional $400,000 to school board

Record Observer - - News - By MIKE DAVIS mdavis@kibay­times.com

CENTREVILLE — County Com­mis­sioner Jim Mo­ran be­gan the Tues­day, June 14, meet­ing by read­ing a procla­ma­tion list­ing the ac­com­plish­ments Su­per­in­ten­dent of Schools Dr. Carol Wil­liamson had amassed dur­ing her time in charge of the county’s pub­lic school sys­tem. Com­mis­sioner Mark An­der­son then pre­sented her with a bou­quet of flow­ers.

But then, in her last chance to speak to the com­mis­sion­ers in her role as su­per­in­ten­dent, Wil­liamson re­quested and was granted an ad­di­tional $400,000 for the board of ed­u­ca­tion’s bud­get in a 3-2 vote, with Com­mis­sion­ers Steve Wil­son and Mark An­der­son op­posed.

The com­mis­sion al­ready had ap­proved $937,000 more than then state-man­dated main­te­nance of ef­fort, but Wil­liamson said more funds were needed in or­der to com­pen­sate the sys­tem’s teach­ers and ad­min­is­tra­tors as well as main­tain class sizes.

Wil­liamson said that at a meet­ing held the night be­fore the board “combed” through its bud­get and with­out the $400,000 it would have to take out items such as pro­fes­sional de­vel­op­ment for its staff, teacher re­cruit­ment and the abil­ity to re­im­burse teach­ers for ex­pen­di­tures on course­work. Wil­liamson also said six el­e­men­tary school teach­ers would need to elim­i­nated.

Though Wil­liamson noted the po­ten­tial re­duc­tion in teach­ers, she said po­si­tions cur­rently open would be filled rather than let­ting those teach­ers go.

“I have saved any po­si­tions that are open at this point so we can feed peo­ple into those po­si­tions, but class sizes will start to get big­ger at sec­ond, third and fourth grade,” she said. “And that’s some­thing I know you don’t want to see hap­pen and we don’t want to see hap­pen.”

De­spite the re­quest be­ing “un­ortho­dox,” as Mo­ran said, “this be­ing your last day and the ser­vice you’ve done for the county I think your ask­ing is not out of line.” Mo­ran made a mo­tion to ap­prove the fund­ing, just as he did be­fore the county’s bud­get was ap­proved in May, to add the $400,000 to the school sys­tem’s bud­get.

For Com­mis­sion Pres­i­dent Mark An­der­son, who praised the suc­cess of Wil­liamson ref­er­enc­ing re­cent grad­u­a­tion num­bers and schol­ar­ship dol­lars stu­dents re­ceived, “we have given money be­yond ... main­te­nance of ef­fort, we’ve re­quested in­for­ma­tion we haven’t got­ten. As much as I would love to do this, I can’t.”

Com­mis­sioner Steve Wil­son, who also voted against the ac­tion, said if the money is ap­proved, the amount of money the county has to give the board of ed­u­ca­tion due to main­te­nance of ef­fort would be in­creased.

“If we move [main­te­nance of ef­fort] up, it may make it im­pos­si­ble next year to give a step,” Wil­son said. “...If we don’t do it this year it makes next year more plau­si­ble.”

Wil­son, who said the board of ed­u­ca­tion “couldn’t be more de­serv­ing” of in­creased fund­ing, said he didn’t like the idea of a bud­get de­ci­sion be­ing made on “af­fec­tion or psy­cho­log­i­cal con­sid­er­a­tion,” given it was Wil­liamson’s last day be­fore the com­mis­sion.

“What you may be do­ing is to take to­day what you’re rob­bing from the fu­ture,” he said.

The board of ed­u­ca­tion’s Fis­cal Year 2017 bud­get is now $54,187,292, which is $1,460,708 above the state­man­dated main­te­nance of ef­fort.

Fol­low Mike Davis on Twit­ter: @mike_k­ibay­times.

PHOTO BY MIKE DAVIS

The Queen Anne’s County Com­mis­sion­ers hon­ored the work Su­per­in­ten­dent Dr. Carol Wil­liamson dur­ing the Tues­day, June 14, meet­ing with a procla­ma­tion, flow­ers and the ap­proval of an ad­di­tional $400,000 to the school sys­tem’s Fis­cal Year 2017 bud­get. From left: County Com­mis­sion­ers Steve Wil­son, Jim Mo­ran, Wil­liamson, Com­mis­sion­ers Robert Buckey, Jack Wil­son and Mark An­der­son.

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