Cumberland Times-News

Opinion

September 26, 2013

Concerns about Garrett schools being addressed

Recently some PTO members put together a meeting at Garrett College to address school parents’ concerns about the dire situation of our public school system.

The following facts were addressed:

The Garrett County public school system needs $2.2 million to continue to operate at status quo. Without a $2.2 million increase to the Garrett County Board of Education (BOE) budget, we will be looking at school closures/ consolidations.

The BOE has stated that school closures is not their intent. The main reason is that since FY2009 the state of Maryland has decreased funding by $4.5 million to the BOE. This $4.5 million decrease in state funding is primarily due to student enrollment decreasing at alarming rates and Maryland’s new “wealth formula.”

From FY2009 to FY20 14, student enrollment has decreased by 1,149 students. Currently, the BOE gets approximately $5,000 per student from the state, which is based on the “wealth formula.” The “wealth formula” is used to gauge a county’s perceived ability to fund school activities based upon its own resources. Garrett County is now considered the fifth wealthiest county in the state.

Since FY2009 the Garrett County commissioners have increased their funding by $2.2 million to the BOE. Also, since FY2009 the county has taken an approximate $5 million decrease from its budget in highway user revenue and forestry and park revenue from the state.

It is estimated that in FY20 15 the county will see an approximate decrease of $2.5 million in real estate tax revenue due to a decrease in assessments on the Deep Creek Lake properties. With the BOE needing $2.2 million from the county and with a $2.5 million decrease in real estate tax revenue, our county commissioners are facing a $4.7 million budget issue to resolve for FY20 15.

At our meeting we had a great discussion among concerned parents as to what we do. All agreed that the “wealth formula” is not working for us and that our state legislators need to be contacted for help.

We also agreed that the Garrett County commissioners and the BOE need to work harder together to help resolve this issue.

Mainly, we all agreed that our children are worth the investment. Our cause of maintaining one of the best school systems in the nation is justified and our new name is “One Common Voice for Garrett County Schools.” Please join us at our next to be announced meeting.

Jeffery Conner, CPA

Avilton

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Support Canal classrooms with tax-deductible gift

    While your April 17 article (“Park Service opens Canal classrooms,” Page 1A) described this exciting program accurately, your readers may be wondering how they can help support this new educational opportunity for school children in Allegany County.

    April 18, 2014

  • Ivan Hall story brings back memories of a unique man

    I enjoyed Mike Sawyers’ Ivan Hall story. It was well written and brought back some wonderful memories of my Cumberland days and especially, an unique man.

    April 18, 2014

  • It’s a secret It’s a secret

    Could someone enlighten us about why not even the names of the two entities bidding on development of the Footer Dye Works building can be divulged?
    A Times-News article about the bids included an explanation from a lawyer for the attorney general’s office about the need to keep the names and other information secret at this time. Despite that, the logic of not divulging at least a little more information escapes us.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • What do we do about those who weren’t criminals after all?

    Now that Maryland has become the 17th state to (finally) decriminalize possession of marijuana, one could say that the legislature and governor should be patted on the back for doing the right thing.

    April 17, 2014

  • The first step The first step

    If all goes as planned, Frostburg State University will one day offer a doctorate in nursing, a physician’s assistant program and a new health sciences building on campus.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Translations differ, but the message is eternal

    This letter is in response to a recent letter titled “One cannot compromise on God’s word” (April 13 Times-News). I had previously written a letter titled “Why are compromises so difficult to achieve” (April 7).

    April 15, 2014

  • Closing the loopholes will help clear the regulatory waters

    After a decade of uncertainty over Clean Water Act jurisdiction following Supreme Court challenges in 2001 and 2006, the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers announced a forthcoming administrative rule to close enforcement loopholes, restoring protections to 20 million acres of wetlands, more than half the nation’s streams, and drinking water for 117 million Americans.

    April 15, 2014

  • The first step Remember where your freedom comes from before criticizing

    The deal at Fort Hood could have been avoided if it was caught in time.
    When you think a GI is not acting right, have him or her checked out before you put them back on duty and give them a weapon. Post-traumatic stress disorder is a serious and dangerous problem if it is not taken care of right away.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Where to look Where to look

    Drive anywhere in Maryland and it seems there is one highway construction project after another. While it is good to see our roads and bridges being upgraded, it can be nerve-wracking for anyone traveling a long distance.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Midterm elections give chance to return to American values

    A movement has been started by veterans of our armed forces to get out the vote in 2014. That includes Coast Guard and Merchant Marine personnel for those not familiar with the history of both and their sacrifice. This is no small special interest  group, but many millions of Americans who can have an enormous impact on the  outcome of the November election if they all respond.

    April 14, 2014