Wicomico County voters choose to elect their school board members (WBOC)
SALISBURY, Md. - Parents say it is critical that Wicomico County leaders invest more in the public education budget for 2020.
But with extra money being demanded by the state, Executive Bob Culver says it may not be possible to fulfill Superintendent's request for an extra $800,000.
"I'm not saying I don't agree with some of their requests, but at the same time I can't do that and still run the county," Culver said.
But parents like Eileen Johnson say the education in Wicomico County could be better if things within Dr. Hanlin's Imagine 2022 plan were funded. Johnson thinks teachers should be paid more and universal pre-kindergarden should be completely funded in the upcoming budget.
"I want to do everything I can to help those children, these are my son's friends, the kids he plays with everyday, who he's forming his friendships with," Johnson said.
That's what prompted Johnson to start the "PUSH4Education" petition online. The petition is looking to have 1,000 signatures to present to the executive. Because Johnson says students that did not attend a pre-k program are proven to not do as well in school as those that did.
"It's not only the ABCs and numbers it's also just social and emotional development that they're missing out on," Johnson said.
But Culver says it's difficult to fund with Maryland passing things like $15 an hour minimum wage and the impending Kerwin Commission decision.
"It all has to get a piece of the pie, no one can get all the pie. And now we're faced with some mandates coming down from the state that will swing the pendulum over to the school board," Culver said.
Culver says putting forth a reoccurring $800,000 into education would make about a $2 million budget for Wicomico County schools every year, which he doesn't foresee being possible at this time.
Culver and his staff will hear public input on March 20 at the Wicomico Youth & Civic Center. Johnson says she and other parents plan to attend to voice their concerns on the 2020 budget proposal.