Wicomico County to have a $9 million dollar funding gap 18-19 fiscal year?

Marvin McCaskill, News Editor

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The Wicomico County Board of Education will have a $9.2 million dollar funding gap for the 2018-2019 fiscal year. The Board of Education receives its funding from Maryland state government every year and this year this year they requested $194.4 million for the 2018-2019 fiscal year, an increase from the previous years $192.1 million.

The money given to the Board of Education is supposed to be money that is necessary for the functioning and operation of the school system. This includes the utilities of the schools, teacher’s salaries, maintenance, administration, student health, food services, equipment, technology, materials, equipment, training, staff, and much more. So the money that the Board of Education Claims to need for all these services is $9.2 million over what they are able to receive.

School board President Don Fitzgerald responding to this situation said, “Some schools’ wish lists might not get fulfilled,”“We’ll be looking at some things we can do. It doesn’t look like we will get a lot more funding from the state this year than we did last year. If we stay where we are, with only Maintenance of Effort, and we don’t get any more, we will get only $4 more per student,” Fitzgerald said.

Surprisingly enough, Wicomico County does have $30 million in the unrestricted category of the budget but none of it is being used to fund schools. There is hope to still get extra funding but the chances are slim, because it would require legislature from Annapolis, specifically on the subject of universal pre-kindergarden, a hotly debated topic in the state government as of now.

In the end however, with the gap seeming like a big problem, compromise will most likely solve the issue, as of now it is impossible to the compromise will be but spending gaps are common and negotiation usually evens things out. Edwin “Bruce” Ford, chief finance and operations officer of Wicomico County said,”The funding gap eventually gets solved through compromise on all side. There is a lot of work between now and when the budget is passed and submitted to the County Executive, so it’s hard to say where we will end up,”

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