Wicomico County Parents Push For More Education Funding in 2020 - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Updated: Executive Culver Announces Full Funding for Wicomico County Public School Budget

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WICOMICO COUNTY, Md. - On Wednesday night Executive Bob Culver announced his plans to fully fund to support Wicomico County Superintendent Donna Hanlin's request for an additional $800,000 toward education initiatives.

Wicomico County's budget rests at about $145 million for FY2020.

Of that $145 million, around $57 million will go toward county public schools.  But Superintendent Donna Hanlin has asked for an extra $800,000 to fulfill her top priorities identified in her "Imagine 2022" strategic plan.  

And parents have her back. A grassroots movement created by parents, "PUSH4Education" has an online petition with hundreds of signatures.

Lana Foley, the mother of a 17-month old daughter, is one of those parents.  Despite not having a child in the public school system yet, she thinks it's important to support the universal pre-kindergarden implementation that her child could use in a few years.

"Obviously I'm a little further away from my children being able to use the universal pre-k, but it's the best time to start fighting for that cause this isn't going to be something that happens right away. This is a baby step in that direction," Foley said.

Other priorities Hanlin identified included improving teacher turnover rates and graduation rates in Wicomico County. 

While Culver says he supports those initiatives, there is only so much money in the budget to move around.  Especially with the $1.2 million maintenance of effort, a state mandated piece of the budget.

"Dr. Hanlin has asked for 800-thousand above that so if in any way we can do this, we are going to go ahead and give her the ask that she has," Culver said.

But Culver says allocating that extra money will come at a cost.  As we reported on Tuesday, things like Mardela Middle & High School renovations would be compromised.

"If we are able to meet this, Mardela High is off the drawing board. We are not going to be able to do Mardela High, we're not going to be able to do any systemic renovations to any buildings until we know exactly where we are," Culver said.

Culver explained that there are still some unknown variables he needs to prepare the budget for.  Things like the state's decision to increase minimum wage to $15 an hour and the Kirwan Commission, which is advocating for the state to spend billions over the next 10 years on education. 

 

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