Frederick County School Board Sends Off $938-Million Budget Request To County

It contains an additional  $5-Million for a salary pool.

Frederick, Md (KM) A fiscal year 2024 budget request totaling $938,929,601 is coming from the Frederick County School System. In a 5-to-1 vote on Wednesday, the Board of Education approved the spending plan. It also adds $5.6-million to the salary pool used to attract and retain teachers and other staff. That’s 7.14-percent increase.

Board member Nancy Allen cast the lone “no” vote. “The $5.2-million added to the budget I just feel does not reflect current market trends in the public education  sector,” she said.

Her colleague, Karen Yoho, said this budget request is what the School System needs. ” We are still digging out from when every school had to cut one position, and we haven’t gotten back from there,” she said.. “That’s going to take a long, long time, and it’s not going to be easy.”

Allen said she’s not against awarding higher pay, but says to say that salaries aren’t the answer to many teachers’ concerns. “You can throw money at somebody as much as you want to and give them a salary in which they feel they’re adequately compensated,”: she said. “But if you’re not fixing the other problems, they’re still not going to be happy.”

She did not say what those other problems are.

Board of Education President Sue Johnson says she wants Frederick County to have the money to attract and retain good teachers. She says a lot of teachers she knows  have jobs outside of the County because they can make more money. . “I would like to take some cracks at that nut, and keep some of them here in Frederick County, or even attract them to come back to Frederick County,” Johnson says.

The budget request is $82.7-million above maintenance of effort.

Director of Budget Heather Clabaugh says there were some adjustment made to the budget since it was unveiled a few weeks ago. She says pension costs were reduced by $280,268. As part of its passing motion, the Board of Ed agreed to take $30,000 of that amount for green initiatives within the school system, and use the remaining $250,000 for special education.

The budget request now goes to County Executive Jessica Fitzwater who will craft her own budget. It will be released in April.

By Kevin McManus