Frederick County Council Hears From FCPS Teachers, Staff Tuesday Night

They’re asking for full funding for the School System’s FY 2024 budget request.

Frederick, Md (KM) Teachers and other staff called on the Frederick County Council to fully fund the School System’s budget request for fiscal year 2024. The President of the Frederick County Teachers Association, Melissa Dirks, spoke to the Council Tuesday night.

“There always are and always will be competing priorities in any budget. But providing a public education is one of the very few responsibilities of government enumerated in the Maryland Constitution,:” she said. “Therefore, when trying to balance priorities the constitutionally required ones should be maintained.”

Also speaking was Sharon Ebert, the President of the Frederick County Association of School Support Employees. “Support staff has stood by FCPS and we are asking you to do the same: stand by us,” she said. “There was a time when you asked and needed our help and we rose to that occasion. We are asking you now to do what is right and show that we really do matter and fully fund the Board of Education’s proposed budget.”

The same request came form Bruce Taylor, a custodian at Thurmont Middle School. “You gotta fund this budget. Everyone’s worked so hard. They continue to work. They do the right thing. I’m really blessed to have a very goo staff. They need to think that’s some light at the end of the tunnel,”: he said.

Taylor said many say their salaries are not enough to support themselves and their families.

The county has proposed $405-million for Frederick County Public Schools which is $35-million more than maintenance of effort, but $44-million less than what was requested by the Board of Education.

Hannah Feldman, the Principle of Yellow Springs Elementary School, testified. “I tell our students as we welcome them back at the beginning of each year that this is the only year you get in this grade.  So make it count,” she says. “I worry that the students next year will not get a fair chance to make their one year in that grade the best due to a shortfall in our budget. To me as an administrator, a parent and a taxpayer, that’s not acceptable.”

Also speaking as a parent and a taxpayer was Cassandra Han of Mount Airy. “Not cutting the budget can only help Frederick County,:” she said. “Public schools provide the knowledge and skills needed for students to succeed in their careers, and contribute to the growth to the local economy. This would mean more taxes collected to put into the budget for Frederick County.”

The County Council is required to approve a budget for fiscal year 2024 by May 31st.

By Kevin McManus