The spending plan totals more than $701-million.
Frederick, Md (KM) The Board of Education held a virtual public hearing Wednesday night on the proposed fiscal year 2022 budget developed by the Superintendent. The spending plan total $701.1-million, an increase of $26.6-million, or 3.95%, over fiscal year 2021.
Frederick County Teachers Association President Missy Dirks had a video made of her testimony. She said the budget is not excessive, but funds the basic needs of a rapidly growing school district which has been underfunded for decades. “The impact of this underfunding has affected just about every part of FCPS operations,” Dirks said. “This includes larger class sizes, lack of competitive salaries affecting recruitment and retention, scaled back summer program, insufficient interventions and less staff to take care of student needs, just to name a few.”
She says these problems have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. “All these things needed to be fixed prior to the worldwide pandemic,” says Dirks. “Sadly, now there is more need for differentiated staffing, smaller class size, more tutoring positions and enhanced summer learning opportunities because of the impact of the pandemic on our students.”
The Board of Ed also viewed a video from several literacy specialists who supported the proposed budget, but wanted additional funding for reading specialists. “And we also support the need for reading intervention funding for reading intervention teachers in each of the middle schools and the high schools,” said Carrie Mehl, the literacy specialist at Oakdale High School.
Amanda Portner, a literacy specialist at Thurmont Middle School, had similar comments. “We really do need to fund fully reading intervention teachers at the secondary level,” she said. “So many of us specialists have found ourselves teaching reading intervention sections that it’s prohibiting us from getting to service the entire building.”
The Board of Education is scheduled vote on the budget next Wednesday, February 10th. It will then go to the county for its consideration.
By Kevin McManus