Officials say the student population continues to grow.
Frederick, Md (KM) Due to the continuing increase in the number of students, the Frederick County School System is seeking more funding for fiscal year 2024. “Our School System continues to grow at one of the fastest rates in the state, and we are expecting 700 additional new students next year,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Cheryl Dyson. She spoke Wednesday night during a budget hearing hosted by County Executive Jessica Fitzwater.
Dr. Dyson says she will unveil her proposed budget for the next fiscal year on January 9th, 2023.
Sue Johnson, President of the Board of Education, says the School System is requesting money for 11 new construction projects for the next fiscal year. “Almost two-thirds of our buildings are in whole or part more than 30 years old. We have 20 schools that are over capacity,” she said. “It remains vital to continue modernizing our school buildings and we look forward to the continuing support from Frederick County and we’ll keep the community apprised of progress in our capital projects throughout FCPS.”
Two School System projects in the county’s capital budget include replacements for Green Valley and Valley Elementary Schools.
Over the past eight years, former County Executive Jan Gardner provided additional money to the School System in her budget to make up for years of underfunding. Missy Dirks, the President of the Frederick County Teachers Association, acknowledged that during Wednesday’s meeting. “Unfortunately, with consistent long term underfunding, the combined per-pupil funding for FCPS remains 23rd out of 24 jurisdictions in Maryland,”: she said.
“The FCPS budget request has not been fully funded in recent memory, and it will take years to address the gaps in the School System which affects everything from class size, competitiveness of salaries and student support,” Dirks continued.
She also said Frederick County ranks 6th or 7th in wealth in Maryland, but funding for public schools is 15th or 16th in the state.
County Executive Fitzwater says she will hold budget hearings in each of the five councilmanic districts early next year. She plans to release her proposed fiscal year 2024 budget on April 15th.
By Kevin McManus