EASTON — Talbot County Board of Education recently finalized and approved the school system’s 2019-2020 budget.

During the work session, the board made the necessary $1.4 million in cuts from the original budget request to the Talbot County Council.

“This budget reflects our commitment to the Bridge of Excellence Master Plan, to the 2020 Vision Strategic Plan and to the children of Talbot County,” said Dr. Kelly Griffith, Talbot Schools superintendent.

The total operating budget for the school district for the 2019-2020 school year will be $57,182,066.

This represents an overall increase in operating revenues in the general unrestricted budget of 4.8% or $2.6 million.

“This increase will help us to meet the needs of each student attending the Talbot County Public School system by providing salary increases, additional staffing support and the ability to offset increases in fixed charges,” Griffith said. “We are grateful to the Talbot County Council for securing additional revenue sources to provide funding above maintenance of effort in the category of non-recurring costs as well as funding for the Easton Elementary School construction project.”

Through the budget development process, each school principal and department supervisor justified requested funds. This process allowed the superintendent, the Board of Education and the general public to examine the school’s priorities.

After a thorough evaluation of state and federal mandates, including the continued implementation for the State of Maryland’s College and Career Ready Standards, the board chose to include some additional staffing and resources in the budget request to support these mandates.

The final Fiscal Year 2020 budget will maintain everything in the Fiscal Year 2019 budget in addition to the following approved items:

Salary increases for all staff of one step and 1.75% cost of living adjustment, increases in employee benefit costs including a 4% increase in health insurance, increases in overall insurance of organization, special education services, and Judy Center, renewal of software licenses, additional funding for curriculum/environmental field trips and extended day programs, one additional school bus lease, mowers, $409,170 capital requests and the Easton Elementary School Replacement Project.

Additional staffing positions are:

• Two English language learner teachers

• One gifted and talented teacher

• One special education teacher

• Two-and-a-half classroom teachers

• Four instructional assistants

The following items from the original request were not included in the final budget:

• Four teaching positions, two instructional assistant positions and a grant manager

• Summer school

• New technology requests

• Additional athletic requests

• Additional requests for office supplies

• Additional funding for professional development and stipends

• $389,130 deferred maintenance/capital item requests

“We appreciate the community support, the educational partnerships and the overall commitment of staff during the budget process,” Griffith said. “Together we will address the challenges for higher academic standards and create essential conditions for learning to ensure each child will graduate college and be career ready.”

To review the entire budget and other information about Talbot County Public Schools, visit www.talbotschools.org.

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