Cutbacks Coming? Wicomico Schools Weigh Decision After Budget Pr - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Cutbacks Coming? Wicomico Schools Weigh Decision After Budget Proposal

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WICOMICO CO., Md. - There's a possibility of cutbacks on school personnel after the county executive released his proposed budget for next year.

Wicomico County Schools may not have enough money to keep the same staff. Schools officials asked for $182 million dollars across the board from federal, state and county funds.

But more than $2 million less could be on the way. The multi-million dollar question: where will they make up the rest of the money?

"We'll have to go back to the drawing boards and make some pretty significant reductions for operations next year," said superintendent Dr. John Fredericksen.

When 47 ABC asked if the reductions meant possible job losses, Fredericksen said "yes".

County executive Rick Pollitt has proposed the same school operating expenses as last year, $37.765 million. The school asked for $39.98 million, or about two million less.

Pollitt tells us, Wicomico Schools should be getting a little more from the state. The school asked for a budget of close to $4 million more from them this year. Dr. Fredericksen says they have yet to hear back on that budget.

"As a bigger picture, education as a unit of public service has not felt the impacts that all the other county departments have," said Pollitt.

The proposed budget is up this year for the school district: from $177.6 in 2013-14 to $177.99.

But the superintendent says that important projects and jobs may need to be slashed.

"It's critical for us, because we've taken real aggressive stance in terms to make sure that we don't increase class size. People have said that we don't want to close any buildings," said Fredericksen. "People have said we want to have the programs and services that are appropriate.  

"We're transitioning to a new assessment called PARCC that's supposed to be on computers. We were hoping to go fully computerized for that next year. With this kind of funding, I don't know if that's going to happen. We'll have to have those discussions and we'll have to make adjustments, because if you don't have money for it, you can't do it.

"We were hoping to go to the next level of security for our schools again. You have to make decisions. If you don't have the dollars, you can't spend it."

As far as major construction projects are concerned, like the construction of the new Bennett Middle School, Dr. Fredericksen says there's no delay. The money comes from grants and won't be affected by the budget.

he first public hearing is scheduled for Tuesday morning.

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