School board winces from proposed budget cuts

Six key areas of the local public school system would suffer from the more than $2.4 million budget cut that St. Mary’s Board of County Commissioners are planning for the proposed education budget, the school’s finance director told the Board of Education Thursday afternoon.


“This has been a painful process. I have said this word painful for ten times and will say it for the 11th time,” said Superintendent Dr. Michael Martirano about the cuts he had had to make in his original request.

Martirano pointed out that St. Mary’s three high schools rank among the top 5 percent of the 27,000 high schools nationwide.

“This doesn’t happen by accident,” Martirano said.

Martirano pointed out he had envisioned an even better report card for St. Mary’s County and enumerated the many challenges facing St. Mary’s with the competing counties, including recruiting teachers and bringing in qualified principals.

“This is not a scare tactic,” Martirano said.

Finance Director Daniel Carney later told The Bay Net that the cuts would mean that there won’t be full staffing for High School Assessment remediation, an area in which St. Mary’s is already lagging behind.

In addition, the student-counselor ratio and replacements for IT equipment would not be fully addressed, and the staffing shortages in the operation and maintenance of buildings would widen further.

“The school system would be getting more square footage, but not the people to take care of it,” Carney said.

Carney said there would be no funds available for the after-school transportation of middle school students.

“The big concern is that some students will not be able to participate because they will not have a way to get back home,” Carney said.

Federal agencies have reported that juvenile crime shoots up in the crucial afternoon hours between 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., and, last week, St. Mary’s County witnessed a racial vandalism right in the heart of the county seat. As a solution to this sort of mischief, educators nationwide encourage after-school programs.


Finance Director Daniel Carney of the St. Mary's County Board of Education, answered the board's questions about the impact of cuts to the schools' budget request.
At his office, Carney looked into statistics for school year 2005, and said St. Mary’s ranked 16th in per pupil spending in the state of Maryland, while Calvert ranked 10th, and Charles County ranked 22nd. In
St. Mary’s, per pupil spending stood at $8,903 while in Calvert it was $9,224 and in C

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