Board Of Ed Hears For Residents Opposed To Proposed Closure Of Sabillasville Elementary School

The Board also approved a fiscal year 2021 budget request.


Frederick, Md (KM). Several students, their parents and other northern Frederick County residents came to the Board of Education meeting on Wednesday, asking that Sabillasville Elementary School not be closed. The School System has been considering that possibility due to declining enrollments.

Hope Rice is in the third grade at Sabillasville Elementary. “It sort of became a tradition in my family because my uncle came to Sabillasville Elementary, my brother and now me. I love this school so much. Also, I’ve learned so much from writing, math, science, art and, of course reading. I could never believed that I’d learn times and division. I though it would be impossible, but it’s actually quite easy. Our school may be tiny, but we are very mighty,” she said.

Another third grader, Noah Bradbury, spoke in favor of the school. “My mom and sister went to school there,” he said. “I love my teachers and my friends, Please don’t close my school,” he said.

The Board of Education discussed that possibility during a meeting last month. Drew McGinnis, whose active with the Sabillasville Elementary PTA, said many parents were not properly informed about the possibility of the school’s closing. “Prior to yesterday {Tues}, the Board of Education had not sent a single letter to parents or staff regarding the discussion at the Board meeting three weeks ago on January 22nd.. We found about the Board meeting about the potential closure yesterday {Tues} from the Frederick News-Post. Parents at the school are frustrated to not have had any direct communication about such an important decision,” he said.

If Sabillasville Elementary is closed, the students would be bused to Thurmont and Emmitsburg Elementary Schools, which is about an hour commute.. Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird told the Board the closure of the school will have a considerable impact on residents. . “School events would attended outside their home base. Local residents who participate in school functions and events would need to travel to another community and secondary destinations such as small stores and gathering places that depend on local residents will soon feel the impact as residents are drawn away from their community,” he said

Board of Ed President Brad Young reminded the audience that this is only the beginning of a process. He said a meeting on this issue will be held at Sabillasville Elementary School on Thursday, February 20th. A hearing is set for March 11th, and a final decision is expected to take place on March 25th.

Budget Approved.

On another topic, the Board of Education unanimously approved a $683-million budget for fiscal year 2021. Board President Brad Young said this spending plan contains funding for mental health services, reducing class sizes from K-8, and making salaries more competitive. “I’m going to support the budget as presented because I think it’s a fair budget that trying to take into account a number of things that we had to ignore for the last many years,” he said.

Young also noted that bringing up employee salaries still remains a challenge. “Priorities have been our salary transition scale. We’ve honored that. We’ve gotten through that. It’s still not enough and we know that, and we’ll continue to work on our teaching pay and staff pay,” he said “We heard also from our support folks continuing to make sure their salaries are competitive.”

Budget Officer Heather Clabaugh said there’s a $28-million variance between expenditures and revenues. Also, the Board of Ed added a list of add-ons to the budget totaling $6-million.

The County Executive is expected to hold a hearing on the budget on March 23rd.


By Kevin McManu