Tonight Cecil County Public Schools superintendent Dr. D’ette Devine presented her proposed budget to the Board of Education. If I had to summarize the situation in one word: grim. After receiving too little funding from the county for too long, the school system, which has already been forced to cut so much over the last five years, is facing even more cuts–there is no more “fat” in the budget and there hasn’t been for some time.
Here are some of my notes from this evening’s meeting:
- County support for education declined 8% between 2005 and 2015 while spending for other government entities increased 16%.
- Tennis courts at Rising Sun, North East, and Elkton High Schools are in dire need of replacement–not repair, replacement. Last spring we saw the track at Perryville High School condemned for competition. Could these facilities at 3 of the county’s 5 high schools face the same fate?
- CCPS has done tremendous work to reduce spending on transportation so that those funds could be spent elsewhere; this includes asking for state approval to extend the useful life of school buses to 15 years. Unfortunately, at least two of the county’s buses have reached that 15 year mark and need to be replaced at a cost of over $200,000. More budget cuts could mean that those two aging buses would have to be pulled from the fleet and not replaced resulting in longer bus routes for students.
- The school system may have to decide which of the two remaining middle schools will have camera systems installed. Without adequate funding either Rising Sun Middle School OR North East Middle School would receive security cameras but not both.
- Over these 5 years that county funding lagged for CCPS, the number of students requiring special services increased.
Want to read more? It’s all here in the budget presentation.