Cumberland Times-News


December 18, 2013

Buying time

Funds will keep Garrett schools open for now

Three Garrett County public schools appear to have been given a new lease on life — at least for the coming year — because of $2.2 million in funding from the county commissioners. (A related letter appears on this page.)

The three-member county commission board said it was setting aside the money under the condition that the school system drop plans to close Crellin, Friendsville and Route 40 elementary schools.

But the reprieve is no guarantee the county and school system will be able to continue funding operation of the schools indefinitely. Declining enrollment, reduced state dollars for education and the impact of the so-called county wealth formula all still pose challenges in keeping the schools open.

The wealth formula is used by the state to direct more aid per capita to “poorer” jurisdictions and less to “wealthy” jurisdictions. Garrett is considered one of the wealthy jurisdictions due to an assessable tax base that is high because of a proliferation of vacation and residential properties in the Deep Creek Lake area.

In order to come up with the $2.2 million, the county commissioners are juggling the county budget.

Among the moves they plan are $500,000 in reduced county government expenses and a requirement that the school system pare its operating expenses by $200,000.

When the additional school money was approved Tuesday, it appeared evident the move is a “Band-Aid” approach. The county and State Sen. George Edwards and Del. Wendell Beitzel will attempt to gain more  education money from the state. Local officials also hope the wealth formula will be changed to lessen its impact on Garrett. But a study of the wealth formula is not due until next year and is not scheduled to be implemented until 2016.

Nevertheless, the county commissioners have helped the school system buy some time in attempting to keep the three community schools open. There is plenty of work ahead — but the situation is now more hopeful going forward.


Text Only
  • Not a villain Not a villain

    Time was that we looked for heroes. Heroes of the make-believe variety have sold a lot of comic books. We also had real-life heroes like Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy, whose deaths the whole nation mourned.
    These days, we seem to be more interested in looking for villains. “Vote for me because I’m the good guy” has taken a back seat to “Don’t vote for him, because he’s the bad guy.”

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • About time About time

    Although many Cumberland streets are in need of repair and improvements, the decision by city and county officials to address Greene Street is a good one.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Where is it?

    Once upon a time, the Maryland Chamber of Commerce held its annual conventions at the Bedford Springs resort hotel near Bedford, which is in Pennsylvania.

    July 28, 2014

  • Korean War Korean War

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sloppy lawmaking is to blame

    July 27, 2014

  • C-minus grade C-minus grade

    If a survey conducted by and the Kaufman Foundation is an accurate portrayal, Maryland has a long way to go to become a business-friendly state.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Big loophole Big loophole

    How ironic — and how sad — that the Potomac Highlands Airport Authority plans a closed executive session to discuss the open meetings law.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo 1 Story

  • Preposterous Preposterous

    File this one under the We Thought We’d Heard Everything category: A man who attempted the armed robbery of a pizza shop is now suing the pizzeria and the employees who tackled him and wrestled his gun away during the holdup.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • No secrets No secrets

    The idea of fracturing for natural gas makes many people anxious about potential harmful effects. For that reason alone, it is incumbent on Maryland government to require full disclosure of chemicals used in the process.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Don’t do it. Don’t do it

    Temperatures have been moderate recently but are projected to rise to the upper 80s and low 90s later this week, so we want to remind you: Never leave children unattended in a vehicle.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo