Superintendent Presents Revisions to FY25 Draft Budget
Posted February 7, 2024
Washington County Public Schools (WCPS) Superintendent Dr. David Sovine presented a revised FY25 recommended budget to the Board of Education during a public work session on February 5, 2024, and to the Board of County Commissioners on February 6, 2024. Sovine had to revise the draft budget after learning WCPS is expected to receive approximately $3 million less from the State in the coming year than was anticipated before Governor Wes Moore released his budget three weeks ago.
The reduction in anticipated state funding is the result of a complex wealth equalization calculation that is used to help ensure less wealthy jurisdictions receive more state funding for public education than localities deemed to have greater wealth. Over the last year, Washington County revenues grew at a faster rate than the state average, leading to this reduction in State funding for WCPS in FY25.
In order to account for the reduction in anticipated state funding in the fiscal year that begins July 1, Sovine recommended several adjustments to the draft budget he presented on January 16.
- Identifying alternative sources of funding for necessary student support programs, such as the Reading Tutor Apprenticeship and software used to prepare students for assessments
- Eliminating elementary classes at the Academy of Blended Learning Education (ABLE)
- Delaying the transition of 44 school-based staff from 10- and 11-month to 12-month positions
- Reducing the number of new staff positions, including those to support safety, security, and mental health in schools
Sovine says, “It has been extremely difficult to adjust the draft FY25 budget I first presented to the Board of Education because my initial proposal represented the true needs of WCPS and what is needed to meet the requirements set forth in the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future. However, I recognize the difficult budget decisions facing the Board of County Commissioners and knew it would be important to keep the requested increase in local funding at the level included in my initial draft budget: $9.67 million or 8.86 percent more than was provided in FY24.”
The Board of Education’s top funding priority, salary and compensation for staff, maintains a fully funded salary resource pool in the superintendent’s revised budget. This allocation of about $10 million equates to an approximate five percent increase for all permanent WCPS employees.
“It is critical to provide our team members with a meaningful salary initiative so that our community can continue to attract the most qualified new teachers and staff while also retaining our highly experienced and talented educators and employees who have grown a career with WCPS,” Sovine adds. “All of our employees play a role in the success of our students, and Washington County must be competitive with other school systems to make our district a desirable place to serve our students.
The budget review and approval process will continue over the next several months. Key actions are scheduled on the following dates:
- February 20: The Board of Education will take action to adopt the Superintendent’s Proposed Budget as its draft budget.
- March 19: Individuals may provide feedback to the Board of Education at a public hearing on the budget.
- April 16: The Board of Education will approve the final FY25 budget.
Additional information about the superintendent’s recommended FY25 budget is available at www.wcpsmd.com/budget.