Wicomico County provides additional funds for schools

Recently, the Wicomico County Council approved a $150 million budget and in that budget, the county allocated half a million dollars beyond the minimum level required by the state.

Mike Dunn with the Greater Salisbury Committee said, "Well immediately the 500 thousand dollars above maintenance of effort will go toward 5 Pre-K classrooms in Wicomico  County so the newly formed Wicomico Education Foundation is going to fund the tech packages that will go for those classrooms."

To be more specific, about $329,000 will be going towards 5 new teachers, about $146,000 will be going towards 5 new assistants and $25,000 will be allocated toward materials of instruction.

The overall goal is to improve kindergarten readiness.

Dunn said, "Sadly in Wicomico County, a lot of our kindergartners are entering kindergarten under prepared…so we think this is just enormous for the children of Wicomico County for everybody in Wicomico County."

Wicomico Schools Superintendent Dr. Donna Hanlin said this wouldn't have been possible without all the help from the local community, more specifically, from a group called Education Foundation that was created to raise additional funding for the county's public schools.

When Wicomico Schools officials, along with the help of the community organization, approached the county council, they outlined where they needed funds to go and the importance of investing in the future.

Dunn said, "The night that we showed up after that six months worth of preparation, the room was full. Everybody was polite, there was no yelling, there was no threatening, there was just good community conversation and at the end of the day, I think it mattered."

Clearly, their efforts paid off.

Dr. Hanlin said, "When we put that above maintenance of effort, we know its recurring, and so we can hire staff which is exactly what we've been able to do and know that that funding is going to continue from year to year, so its very exciting."

This is the first time in 12 years the county has funded above maintenance of effort.

We're told the county will have to maintain this funding from now on. 

By 2022, Dr. Hanlin hopes to have universal Pre-K, increased specialized programs specifically in middle school, expand the arts, and maintain the best possible workforce in Wicomico Schools.

Categories: Local News, Maryland