LEONARDTOWN, Md. – St. Mary’s County’s Board of Education held a meeting on Jan. 5, where they discussed a budget change for special education, teacher salary incentive, mental health coordination, and more.

Although they used the term “unrestricted” when describing the funds, the funds still have to be accounted for in specific figures. An estimated $6.5 million will be for special education, $1.2 million for English learners, and $1.9 million for full-day Pre-K teachers. Overall, this proposed budget will cause a 6% increase for an estimated $7 million of local funding.

We should note that this year’s budget has been more complex. Like previous years, the board has organized the budget categorically. However, the funds will now be dispersed based on the state’s blueprint.

The county has to balance what can sometimes be two conflicting ideals. The state does not organize the blueprint the same as the county, which leads to some confusion about where the fund will go.

Additionally, the board mentioned they are looking to add more testing for the county schools to obtain more comparative data. However, more testing means a need for more funds.

It looks like the board will have their hands full trying to get this budget approved by this time next year. With more discussions on the topic, the board is sure they can figure out the logistics of the situation.

The board’s next meeting will be on Jan. 13, 2022.

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