Will they cut freshman sports in Carroll County high schools? Will they cut indoor track? Well, something may have to give, and when Charles Ecker, the Superintendent of Carroll County Public Schools, presented his budget recommendations for 2011, these were two of the proposed cuts.
This isn't going down well with a lot of local high school sports supporters. There's a meeting at the Century High cafeteria at 5:30 tonight to discuss the subject and present alternatives. Meanwhile the Liberty High School Athletic Boosters are going all out to present alternatives. They've initiated a petition with the following statement: "The elimination of indoor track and freshman sports in Carroll County MD would be detrimental to the students and community. We feel that there are viable, sustainable financial alternatives to cutting these programs that do not require making cuts in instructional services."
In a widely disseminated email, they also had this to say about the proposed cuts:
"The recommendations included the proposed elimination of freshman sports and indoor track programs, saving an estimated $92k and $31k, respectively. The LHS Athletic Boosters are leading an organized advocacy campaign designed to (1) prompt disclosure of the financial detail and assumptions behind the reported savings and (2) suggest sustainable and viable alternatives to elimination of these programs through means other than cutting funding from other programs or instructional services.
"We need the support of the ENTIRE community to be successful. These actions could set precedent for other extra-curricular programs that may be endangered by the estimated additional $3M in cuts anticipated throughout this year's budget process. ALL parents, students, alumni and the general public is invited to participate!"
In a letter preceding the January 13 meeting where he laid out the proposed cuts, Ecker stated that "Carroll County Public Schools receives the bulk of its revenue from the County and the State. We are anticipating another year of declining revenue from the state. The state is facing a projected $2 billion deficit for FY 2011, and student enrollment used to calculate our state foundation funding is down by 209 students from last year. This proposed operating budget anticipates a $1 million reduction in state foundation revenue."
In his letter, Ecker also said that "The county government is also dealing with reduced revenues and is facing a projected structural deficit of as much as $100 million in FY 2015 due primarily to declining property assessments. The proposed operating budget assumes flat funding from the county government for FY 2011."
Unfortunately, the problem is not just related to a reduction of funds. There are also cost increases of $3.9 million for items such as employee medical insurance.
Still, it's possible the immediate situation might not be quite as dire as Ecker feared. On Tuesday, Governer O'Malley proposed closing the state budget gap without significantly reducing the aid to local governments from levels provided this year. If state and county funding holds steady, the school system could be spared the necessity of making some of the proposed cuts.
Meanwhile, at Liberty and Century, they've begun to organize in the hope that whatever cuts do come, they won't be to freshman sports and indoor track.
Keep these dates in mind.
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Public Hearing (with Citizen Participation) and Board Work Session on Budget immediately after (no Citizen Participation) – Room 007 – Board of Education Offices, 125 North Court Street, Westminster – 6:00 p.m.
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Public Hearing (with Citizen Participation) – Manchester Valley High School, 3300 Maple Grove Road, Manchester – 7:00 p.m.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Adoption of Board of Education’s Proposed FY 11 Budget
Board Meeting – Room 007 – Board of Education Offices – 1:00 p.m.
For detailed information on the proposed budget, click here.