Author: fkbowman

CCPS administrators salaries

FAQ: The truth about CCPS administrators’ salaries

The topic of administration salaries keeps popping up and, while it isn’t relevant to the discussion of funding public education in Cecil County and the attempts to vilify people who are doing the jobs they were hired to do disgusts me, it is public information so here are some more facts to add to the conversation:

According to the Maryland Department of Education, Cecil County Public Schools’ superintendent Dr. D’Ette Devine’s salary is $169,868. This salary ranks 16th out of 24 school systems in the state. CCPS chief financial officer Thomas Kappra’s salary is $149,262, ranking 7th out of 16 systems with such a position.

As you can see, these salaries are in-line with those of their peers within Maryland.

Maryland Superintendent Salaries, 2013-14

Since Cecil County borders the states of Delaware and Pennsylvania and more than half of our residents commute outside the county for work, it’s appropriate to compare their salaries to those in Delaware and Pennsylvania.


  • Freeman Williams, superintendent of the Christina School District, $192,088.36 (salary plus other compensation) source
  • Matthew Burrows, superintendent of the Appoquinimink School District, 152,660.02


    • Augustus Massaro, superintendent of the Avon Grove School District, $213,825 source
    • Barry Tomaseti, superintendent of the Kennett School District, $195,000

    Compensating Experienced Professionals

    Now, I don’t know the specifics of determining appropriate salaries for professionals such as Dr. Devine and Mr. Kappra but we can be sure the process takes into account factors like the candidate’s level of education, professional certifications, and work experience as well as the responsibility of the position for which they are being hired.
Let’s see–they’re responsible for more than 15,000 students and 2,000 employees–that’s a huge responsibility. And, if you think cutting expenses while maintaining as many jobs and services as possible and increasing performance metrics doesn’t require above average skills and talents, stop reading now because you’re more out of touch than I thought. These two are on their game–they have to be because the school system can’t fail. There hasn’t been a question I’ve asked that they haven’t been able to answer–with facts and third party support–and I ask a lot of questions.

Median Household Incomes

Those who are making this an issue in an attempt to outrage the uninformed compare these administrators’ salaries to the Cecil County median household income of $66,689. What they fail to point out is that this is considerably lower than the Maryland median income of $73,538 and Harford County median income of $80,622. source Are there families in Cecil County who are hurting financially? You bet, but you are pointing fingers in the wrong direction. Educating our children and creating communities that they want to come back to after graduating from college, where they want to buy homes and raise their children, is our best hope at improving the quality of life and economy of the county.

Higher Education isn’t a Cure-All, But it is Start

A bachelor’s degree isn’t a free pass to a higher wage but you stand a much better chance with that paper in hand. In Cecil County 22.2% of residents over 25 have at  least a bachelor’s degree, significantly lower than the Maryland state ratio of 36.8% or the Harford County ratio of 32.7%. source
If you want the children of Cecil County to succeed, you’ve got to invest in education–and compensate the professionals who make that happen.

Serving a Changing Student Population in Cecil County

While the adults are arguing about funding the Cecil County Public Schools budget, let’s talk about the most important people in this discussion–the children.

Many of the people fighting against public education funding don’t have any idea what difficulties some of our students face. The reality is that the “Leave It to Beaver” idealized nuclear family living a middle class life must seem like a fairy tale for many children in the Cecil County.

How dire are the needs of some of our children?

At Christmas, some of our schools have “giving trees” that are stocked only with requests and needs from students in their school. Not anonymous children in some inner city neighborhood but children who sit in classes with and play on sports teams with our children. Throughout the school year, teachers, staff, coaches, and families make individual contributions of things like clothes, cleats, or rides to and from practices or other events. When sports teams have later games, families or boosters may provide meals or snacks for the whole team because they know there are students who don’t have the means to buy anything else to eat. And these are just the few things I’m aware of; I’m sure there are countless other acts of kindness that happen in our schools. Read a teacher’s description of how poverty manifests in the classroom

What are the demographics of the students enrolled in Cecil County?

  • Total of 15,731 students (source: CCPS FY 16 Budget Basics)
  • 45% or more than 7,000 of those students qualify for free and reduced meals (FARMS).
  • 649 students are homeless. That number stunned me the first time I heard it because I immediately compared it to the enrollment at Perryville Elementary when I was active in PTA there–about 400 students–and couldn’t imagine that many children being homeless in our communities.

649! To put this number into perspective, that’s more students than:

  • Every elementary school in the county with the exception of Rising Sun Elementary. (source: CCPS FY 2014 Annual Report)
  • Four out of six middle schools
  • The entire student body at Bohemia Manor High School


As Dr. D’Ette Devine summarized at a recent board of education meeting, “Poverty has a significant influence on student achievement.” While these students face challenges at home and school and may need more support services in order be successful, the school system must legally and, more importantly, morally, give them the support necessary. True, these services come with a price tag but how much will it cost in the long run if we don’t help them succeed?

County Executive Tari Moore is preparing her budget recommendations now for presentation to the Cecil County Council at the end of March. Once the council receives the budget, they can only cut funding, not increase it. The time to contact our elected officials is now.

To make it easier, just copy these email addresses and paste them into an email: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]

Student Population in Cecil County
Student Population in Cecil County

FAQ: School facilities in Cecil County

Why aren’t our school facilities as nice as …?

aka “Why doesn’t Perryville High School have a field house”?

Originally posted 3/1/15, Updated 4/13/17

Another question that is frequently asked–or maybe, more accurately, grumbled about–on the sidelines of sporting events at Cecil County Public Schools, is why school facilities in Cecil County aren’t on par with those of bordering school systems.

Welcome to Ceciltucky!

The Perryville High School boys’ soccer team had an exceptional season in 2012. Because of that, their 2013 regular season schedule included games with Harford County teams they hadn’t played in recent years. Perryville hosted teams like Bel Air and C. Milton Wright and played at schools like North Harford and Patterson Mill.

It was almost funny to watch the fans from Harford County show up for our home games. They were in complete disbelief at the sad state of our facilities. They didn’t even have folding chairs in their cars because they were expecting to find bleachers on our fields. Not only did we lack any kind of seating, but our fields were embarrassingly bare. Meanwhile, in Harford County and neighboring districts in Delaware and Pennsylvania, schools have stadiums with either turf or grass fields that have been maintained.

4/13/17: This wasn’t an isolated case. A few weeks ago, I was chatting with a coworker whose daughter plays for C. Milton Wright’s lacrosse team. CMW was travelling to Perryville the next day for a game. Her first question? “Does Perryville have turf?” After I stopped laughing, I explained that, sadly, no high school in Cecil County has turf. She then recalled sitting in dilapidated bleachers at a game at a Cecil County school several years ago. She couldn’t remember which school it was but she described the drive to me. You guessed it–she was talking about the now-replaced bleachers at North East High School. You might think opposing teams’ fans are only paying attention to the game on the field but they notice, and remember, the state of our facilities.

If you think schools don’t contribute to the home buying decision, ask anyone from outside Cecil County who happens to be visiting a CCPS school for sports or other extracurricular activities if they would consider purchasing a home in the county.

Why Doesn’t Cecil County Have Comparable Facilities?

The Cecil County Public Schools FY 2016 Budget Request includes two lists of capital projects:

  • Large capital projects which are funded jointly by the state of Maryland and Cecil County
  • Small capital projects which are the responsibility of the county
Cecil County Public Schools Capital Budget Request
Cecil County Public Schools Capital Budget Request

Projects like tennis courts, athletic fields, locker rooms, and the ever-elusive field house at Perryville High School are solely the responsibility of the county. And most of the projects on the FY 2016 request have been included, and denied, as part of past budget requests. Tennis courts at Elkton, North East, and Rising Sun High Schools and the renovation of the locker rooms at North East High School were included in the FY 2013 request. A field house for Perryville High School has been included in the requests for FY 2014, 2015, and now 2016. (4/13/17: The tennis courts at Rising Sun High School were replaced in the FY 2017 budget and new tennis courts at North East High School are proposed in the FY 2018 budget.)

Turf fields were included in the FY 2015 and FY 2016 requests. While turf may sound like a luxury and it is to a certain extent, the reality is that athletic fields in Cecil County are used essentially year round which means there is no time for the fields to be seeded and maintained. Fields for soccer and football in the fall become lacrosse fields in the spring. And still it boggles my mind how the county thought it was appropriate to fund a turf field at a new parks and recreation location while our school athletic fields are little more than dirt and weeds.

These are not new project requests but a list of needs that Cecil County has allowed to grow without ever devising a plan for addressing.

Why doesn’t Perryville High School have a field house?

I’ll admit that I didn’t even know what a field house was until last spring but one reason I started learning about the CCPS budget process was because I wanted to understand why other schools in the county had such a facility while our high school didn’t. Initially I incorrectly assumed that CCPS didn’t think Perryville needed a field house; now I know that CCPS has repeatedly requested the funding for such a project but has been denied by the county. (4/13/17: In February, a group of us from the Perryville community attended County Executive Alan McCarthy’s town hall meeting on the FY 2018 budget and two of us spoke about the need for a field house. While the county executive didn’t include the field house with a $2 million price tag in his proposed budget, he did propose the installation of turf at Perryville at a cost of $1 million. However, that project is far from a done deal because the county council could still cut it from the budget.)

So, to anyone wondering “Why they have (turf or a field house) and we don’t?” I say please take the time to email or call Cecil County officials and ask them that question. Let them know that these projects matter to you.

If full funding of our public schools is important to you, please contact the County County Council today.

Contact information updated 4/13/17

Fund Public Education to Drive the Cecil County Economy

Updated 4/28/17 with current council member contact info and links to CCPS annual reports

Updated 3/10/19 with county executive contact info and updated links

It’s time to reframe the conversation about public education in Cecil County as one about investment–in both the students who are the future of the county and in the county’s economy. In fact, the BEACON group at Salisbury University has quantified just how much Cecil County Public Schools contributes to the Cecil County economy in local jobs and economic activity yet all we ever seem to hear is school funding talked about as a necessary evil.

BEACON dashboard
BEACON dashboard showing CCPS contribution to Cecil County Economy

If you think funding education is expensive, wait a few more years and see just how much not funding it costs the communities of Cecil County.

For over five years a decade the funding for our schools has been a favorite target–for both short-sighted citizens who seem to feel any spending on public education is wasteful as well as county officials who find it easier to yield to this outspoken but relatively small bunch of malcontents than to invite even more constant haranguing from them.

Have the courage to stand up for our schools

I would like to believe that county officials want to do right by our children but they lack the courage to stand up to this angry group and, if those who support adequate public education funding in Cecil County aren’t going to speak up, attend meetings, write emails, and otherwise make our voices heard, maintaining the status quo may be seen as an easier path for officials to take. We need to change that.

We need to make sure the members of the Cecil County Council know that we have and will continue to stand up for the schools. We are tired of the school system having to beg each year just to receive adequate funding. And when I say adequate funding, I’m being generous; Cecil County ranks 21st out of 24 school systems in Maryland In 2019, we’re up to 17th! for education funding per student.

Yes, education is the largest segment of the county’s budget so it’s understandable that the school system is asked the hard questions about the way those funds are spent and the academic return on investment. And CCPS has more than held up its side of the bargain: they have scrimped and saved and found efficiencies in ways they probably never thought possible yet they continue to meet and exceed established metrics for measuring educational success. (Don’t believe me? Here’s a link to the CCPS Annual Report for FY 2018)

Education HAS been doing more with less

In case you’re new to the discussion of Cecil County budgets and the constant battle for school funding, here’s the Cliffs Notes: CCPS is a victim of its own success. This isn’t just one or two difficult years because of the economic downturn; this is over five years a decade of being told to do more with less, which they have done and continue to do but, at a certain point, the lack of funding will show up in the classroom. Larger class sizes, the loss of quality teachers and administrators to other nearby jurisdictions, the reduction of programs–those are just some of the ways we’ll be able to measure the damage the county is doing to public education.

You want to drive the local economy? See to it that your schools are adequately funded

If full funding of our public schools is important to you, please contact the County Executive today as he prepares the budget he will present to the county council on March 29.

where does casino money go

Where’s the casino money?

“Where’s the casino money?” That’s the question I’m most frequently asked regarding all things school budget and it’s a legitimate question but, like so much in this conversation, it’s complicated.

Cecil County Executive Tari Moore summarized it this way on a thread on Facebook:

“County government has no control over the casino legislation or distribution that allocated a portion of the revenues toward the State education fund. Unfortunately, the State didn’t use those funds to supplement education, they used the funds to supplant what they were already funding to local school districts. Counties that have casinos, however, were allocated 5.5% of the revenue from their casino toward local impact aid. We split that with the Town of Perryville (65/35). The law required us to put together a multi-year plan for spending the approx $2M/yr we receive. The County’s plan has funded some capital projects and roads (helps a bit with the 90% of road repair funding the state took away from counties), projects for volunteer fire departments, substance abuse programs, a small business incentive program, non-profit organizations that provide many services to our community, etc. And yes, the Governor’s budget will take away $372K from our FY16 allocation.”

Groups can apply for grants from the casino funds via the Video Lottery Terminal Local Community Grant Program. Here are links to the grants awarded for FY 2014 and FY 2015. Honestly, looking over these lists, I can’t say that they aren’t worthy causes doing good work in our community.

Business is Slower than Projected

No matter how the money generated by the Perryville casino is spent, there’s less of it than originally projected, especially now that other casinos are open in the state:

“…In 2010, Hollywood became Maryland’s first casino, opening in an Art Deco-style building near Interstate 95 in Cecil County and generating more than $2 million in revenue during its first four days, and almost $11.4 million in its first full month.

Its days as a mini-monopoly in Maryland are long past — the state now has five casinos, with a sixth on the way — and Hollywood is trying to position itself for its new reality. In what is now one of the country’s most saturated gambling markets, Hollywood Casino took in $6.2 million in slots and table game revenue in November, down 6.9 percent from a year earlier. And it has fallen far short of what the state projected when slots were legalized…”

Baltimore Sun, 12/29/2014, Once state’s only casino, Hollywood Perryville seeks its new reality

And the Baltimore Sun reported this week in an article titled Maryland casino revenue declines for second month that the results from last month aren’t setting any records, “At Hollywood Casino Perryville, monthly revenue fell $306,286, or 4.9 percent, from January 2014 to $6 million.”

What about Perryville’s Part of the Money?

The headline from a story in the Cecil Whig about Perryville’s portion of the casino money says it all: Casino money starting to dry up for Perryville

Could Cecil County use its portion of the money from the casino on schools?

Maybe a bigger question is: Could Cecil County use its portion of the money from the casino on schools? Not sure. If they could, should they? I don’t know enough about the situation to make an informed opinion.
Perryville High School tennis courts 2019

Tennis Courts at Cecil County High Schools in Need of Replacement

Update 3/17/19:

Replacement of the tennis courts at Rising Sun High School was funded in the county’s FY 2016 budget. The courts at North East High School were replaced in 2017 with funding Cecil Count Public Schools recouped from a rebate program.

The courts at Perryville High School and Elkton High School? They have yet to be funded by the county despite being included in most budget requests since at least 2013. (They are not included in the CCPS budget request for FY 2020 because other projects were deemed to be more pressing, however, that doesn’t let Cecil County government off the hook. These facilities–all of them–are the county’s responsibilty.)

How has the state of those courts affected the tennis teams at those schools? Both Perryville and Elkton played home matches at Cecil College last spring because the high school courts were deemed at least temporarily unplayable. CCPS maintenance teams have done all they can to patch the courts but, at a certain point, replacement is the only option. 

This post from 2015 includes more specifics about the state of the facilities at our schools.

At a recent Cecil County Public Schools budget hearing it was announced that the tennis courts at 3 of our 5 high schools in Cecil County are in need of replacement, not repair, replacement. Most likely this is a direct result of the county’s insufficient funding of the school system for the last 5 years. I’m sure this could get spun into “Polar vortex, harsh winter, etc.”–whatever you have to say to make yourself feel better but, from the photos here, you can see that this damage has been a long time coming. (Update 3/5/15: These tennis courts have been in the CCPS budget request since at least FY 2013 so this need was identified more than 4 years ago!)

I wondered how the tennis courts looked. Could they be as bad as the track at Perryville High School last spring before it was “deemed unfit for competition” (that means “condemned” to me) and then replaced? So I took a detour this evening to look at the tennis courts at Rising Sun High School. Wow! What a disgrace! Those lines that are brighter green in the top photo? Attempts to batch the failing surface. The court pictured in the second photo? Absolutely unplayable. Of the six courts at the school, I’m not sure how many are actually suitable for use.

Cecil County Needs to Maintain Existing Facilities

Unlike sports like football or soccer, tennis is a “lifetime sport” because it can be adapted for people of many skill levels and ages. Not only are these courts used by the traditional tennis teams at our high schools but they are also used by corollary school athletes and our communities at large. Safe, Healthy, Active Communities is one of the five strategic priorities of the Cecil County Strategic Plan–yet the facilities in our communities have been largely ignored. As a member of the board of education said on Monday night, we appreciate the sentiments of the strategic plan but sentiments alone aren’t getting the job done.

Again, This Isn’t Just About Sports and It’s Not Just About Perryville

While the tennis courts at Rising Sun, North East, and Elkton High Schools are in the worst condition, I know the courts at Perryville aren’t too far behind them so it’s probably fair to guess that the courts at Bo Manor aren’t in great shape either. And I know there are many, many needs inside of our school facilities but exterior sports facilities are easier for me to access outside the normal school day. These issues are just symptoms of a larger problem in Cecil County.

If full funding of our public schools is important to you, please contact the County Executive and members of the County Council today.

rising sun high school tennis courts

Source: FY 2016 CCPS Superintendent’s Proposed Budget

If the full funding of education in Cecil County is important to you, email County Executive Alan McCarthy at [email protected] and Director of Administration Al Wein at [email protected] or call (410) 996-5203. (While replacement of the courts at Perryville and Elkton is not included in the CCPS budget request, the county still needs to hear from you.)

Cecil County spending on education dropped 8% between 2005 and 2015

Notes from Cecil County Public Schools Budget Hearing

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.

cecil-county-enrollment-state aid


Want to read more? It’s all here in the budget presentation.

Graph school funding in Cecil County

School Funding in Cecil County

Earlier this week, Cecil County Public Schools hosted a work session on the education services budget and on Monday they will host a hearing on the proposed budget for FY 2016. These meetings are milestones on the path to the final budget for the 2016 fiscal year and another chapter in the story of school funding in Cecil County.

It is apparent that Cecil County has put our school system in a precarious position because they have underfunded CCPS for the last 5 years. One of the county’s largest employers (even after cutting staff due to budget restraints) with the responsibility of educating thousands of our children, is essentially living paycheck-to-paycheck.

Cutting Expenses & Dipping into Reserve Funds

In fiscal year 2009, school funding in Cecil County was $69.9 million. Not until this year has the funding been at that same amount and this doesn’t take into account any adjustments for inflation; that $69.9 million in funding in 2009 would need to be increased to $77.1 million for FY 2015 in order to keep pace with inflation.

Since the funding stalled in 2009, CCPS has been cutting expenses, finding efficiencies, and dipping into reserve funds when necessary but there are only so many cuts that can be made before the school system is compromised. Prioritizing educational services has meant curtailing spending on things like facilities, transportation, and administrative infrastructure yet at a certain point these issues must been addressed.

Despite the funding shortfalls, CCPS has continued to provide a quality education using various measurements graduation rates.

If full funding of our public schools is important to you, please contact the County Executive and members of the County Council today.

County Executive Tari Moore [email protected]
County Council Alan McCarthy [email protected]
Joyce Bowlsbey [email protected]
Dan Schneckenburger [email protected]
George Patchell [email protected]
Robert Hodge [email protected]

To make it easier, just copy these email addresses and paste them into an email: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]

News Stories on the School Budget

Schools And Libraries Top Citizen Budget Priorities

County Executive Appreciates Citizen Comments

CCPS seeks 3.2% increase

CCPS seeks 5.8% more in administrative budget

Top employers in Cecil County

Public Education in Cecil County: Employment & Enrollment

Budget planning for FY 2016 kicks into gear this week as Cecil County Executive Tari Moore hosts a town hall meeting on the topic Tuesday night. The anti-CCPS rhetoric is building from those who are against the adequate funding of public education in Cecil County but I’d rather talk about facts:

  • Cecil County Public Schools continues to be the second largest employer in Cecil County; with 2,038 employees, it represents 3.98% of the county’s total employment.
  • This is despite the fact that CCPS reduced its workforce from 2,132 in 2005 to 2,038 in 2014. That’s 94 positions. CCPS is the only employer in the top 5 who saw a staff reduction during that period.
  • Nearly 16,000 students are enrolled in the county’s public schools–15,824 students to be exact. Yes, that’s down 4.3% from the 16,535 students enrolled in 2005; however, that reduction hasn’t happened in any way that would allow for the closing of a school.
  • The Maryland Department of Planning projects Cecil County to be one of the fastest growing counties in the state over the next 30 years and CCPS enrollment is expected to increase 1.0-1.5% annually over the next decade.

If full funding of our public schools is important to you, please contact the County Executive and members of the County Council today.

County Executive Tari Moore [email protected]
County Council Alan McCarthy [email protected]
Joyce Bowlsbey [email protected]
Dan Schneckenburger [email protected]
George Patchell [email protected]
Robert Hodge [email protected]

To make it easier, just copy these email addresses and paste them into an email: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]


Comprehensive Annual Financial Report FY 2014, CCPS, 

Buying a home in Cecil County

Home Buyers Have Choices

Do we give them reasons to choose to buy a home in Cecil County?

Last spring, a co-worker who was new to the company and to Maryland stopped me to talk about buying a home in Cecil County. He lived in the Philadelphia area and was researching available waterfront homes in Harford and Cecil Counties. One of the first thoughts that ran through my head was “I hope he doesn’t have school age children because our school facilities can’t compare to those in many areas of Pennsylvania.”

Just a few weeks ago, another new co-worker who’s lived in Harford County for most of her life, asked about living in Cecil County. She was especially interested because she felt home prices were generally lower over here. Her daughter is 5 or 6 and we were talking about Perryville so I was able to tell her that the Perryville Elementary School was being completely renovated. But how would the facilities at rest of our elementary schools measure up?

I can only wonder how many prospective buyers might have driven by one of our schools and decided against buying a home in Cecil County.

Cecil County Missed Opportunities for BRAC Relocations

While it doesn’t appear that either Harford or Cecil County enjoyed the boom in growth and influx of new home buyers that were projected with the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) activity of a few years ago, Cecil County surely missed out on some of the opportunities:

“Anecdotally, I know several individuals who had to relocate to the area for their jobs with the Army. No one, not one, of those people relocated to Cecil County. The predominate reason was the school systems. I can see their point. When we visit Harford County schools for events, we are regularly hosted on turf fields with first-rate bleachers, scoring systems, and field houses. The buildings are crisp and clean, and promote an atmosphere of professionalism that carries through to a more positive and motivational experience for everyone.”

In the case above, six families chose to relocate to Harford County instead of Cecil. What a lost opportunity for Cecil County to attract new residents with stable jobs in technical fields.

Schools Impact Home Buying Decisions (and Resale Values)

We can all agree that education is about much more than buildings and athletic fields but those factors contribute to the home buying decision and the education experience as a whole. A school could have the highest test scores and graduation rates in the state and its graduates could receive merit-based scholarships to the best colleges in the country but the appearance and amenities of the school would still weigh heavily in the decision of a family with school age children looking to buy a home.

Here’s one description of the relationship between schools and home buying: “…consumer demand is large enough that we can conclude that good schools do increase home values in some measure. Half of the home-buying population is willing to pay more than their intended budget to get into the right school district, and more than half would give up other amenities.”

This is significant even if you don’t have children in school because a quality school system means a higher potential resale value on your home.

It’s Time to Treat Our Schools Like A Strategic Priority

Education is identified as one of the five strategic priorities in the Cecil County 2014-2019 Strategic Plan that was adopted in April 2014:

“Education is a driving force in producing strong and active citizens. It creates a pathway to instilling character and the highest standards of citizenship. Therefore, education funding as an investment to yield economic benefits and engaged citizens, is a priority for the County.”

More than six months later, I’m not sure I’ve seen progress towards making education a priority. It’s time to treat our schools like the assets that they are rather than as an expense.

Budget Planning for FY 2016

Planning for the 2016 fiscal year is already underway and meetings to discuss budgetary needs and priorities will begin next week. If you believe a strong school system is foundation of a vital community and economy, I ask you to reach out to our county officials to let them know where you stand.

Contact the County Executive and members of the County Council today.

County Executive Tari Moore [email protected]
County Council Alan McCarthy [email protected]
Joyce Bowlsbey [email protected]
Dan Schneckenburger [email protected]
George Patchell [email protected]
Robert Hodge [email protected]

To make it easier, just copy these email addresses and paste them into an email: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]


“The Right School District: How Much Do Schools Affect Real Estate Prices? – –” Advice and Tips. N.p., 21 Aug. 2013. Web. 01 Jan. 2015.

Conkling, Sheila. “Best Considerations for Home Buying Decisions.” Best Considerations for Home Buying Decisions. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Jan. 2015.

Cecil County 2014-2019 Strategic Plan,