Wico. Schools Budget Passes; Focus Placed on Discipline, Safety - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Wico. Schools Budget Passes; Focus Placed on Discipline, Safety

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Empty classroom. (Photo: WBOC) Empty classroom. (Photo: WBOC)

WICOMICO COUNTY, Md.- The 2016-2017 budget for Wicomico County Public Schools has been passed and money has been set aside to focus on student discipline, safety, and school climate.

At the start of the upcoming school year, there will be some new staff members of the Wicomico County district.  They include elementary reading intervention teachers to improve literacy, special education teachers for a growing student population, and behavior intervention specialists.

"And so these are people that are trained in specifically the aspects of behaviors for students that are going to be things that are preventing the students from doing misbehavior," said Superintendent John Fredericksen.

The staff increase, along with the purchase of new security equipment (including cameras), and training for staff members is part of the focus on school safety and discipline.  More than $1.6 million has been set aside in the upcoming school year's budget to make the improvements and adjustments.  Superintendent Fredericksen said there were some issues this year with students that prompted the action.

"There were some things causing us some concerns, so that's why we started pushing on it.  And that's why we started talking amongst our certain groups and said 'What's the difference in this school, what's the difference in that school?' And that's when we said the climate is what the issue is," Fredericksen said.

Climate, or the relationship between students and teachers, is something the Wicomico County Education Association had concerns over earlier in the school year.  WCEA President Gary Hammer said the initial funding is a good start, but believes more could be done.

"If the funding was available, I, of course, would like to see student intervention personnel in every school.  Elementary, middle and high.  Some of the high schools do have that. I don't think its enough," Hammer said.

Hammer said the current personnel are swamped in schools so any help they get will not only benefit the personnel, but most importantly, the students.  Hammer also added that he would like to see discipline policy changes in the school district next year that will ensure a safe and non-disruptive learning environment for the students who behave on a daily basis.

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