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WCPS Board of Education budget increases approved

By Ally Lanasa, Staff Writer

(June 25, 2020) The Worcester County Board of Education on Tuesday, June 16, approved its $116.2 million operating budget for the 2021 fiscal year.

Of that total, $95.2 million is from the Worcester County Commissioners, for an increase in local spending of $2.8 million

Of that increase, $633,000 is allocated for one-time capital projects.

The funding for one-time capital projects is divided into $283,000 for schematic and design development fees for Stephen Decatur Middle School, $200,000 for additional HVAC unit replacements and $150,000 for central office improvements.

The other nearly $20 million came from the state, and the remaining $792,463 came from other revenue sources.

In addition to the increase in unrestricted funding, Worcester County approved $50,000 in local restricted grant funding to continue the Pocomoke Middle School Afterschool Program.

Toward expenditure increases, the 2021 fiscal year budget includes $468,104 for new positions.

Vince Tolbert

“They are being funded by health insurance savings that have been recognized this year,” said Chief Financial Officer Vince Tolbert. “There’s two behavioral health workers … the need for mental health in our school systems continue to increase, and we’re adding these two behavioral health workers to help address that need.”

Showell Elementary will add an art teacher, a guidance counselor, a 10-month secretary, a part-time nurse and two more custodians.

The budget includes salary increases, totaling $2.4 million, and $59,816 will go to employee pension costs.

Tolbert added that there is a $200,000 funding increase for tuition reimbursements and $150,000 will be used for technology upgrades.

Another $1,500 will go toward SkillsUSA program.

During the meeting, the school board approved an updated bus contract, which involves the following increases: a 2 percent increase in hourly, mileage and PVA rates, $32,000 for contractors purchasing new buses and $200,000 for support increased transportation costs.

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