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Cecil County Public Schools prepares to make cuts to programs, positions

Cecil County schools say cuts needed with $13 million funding deficit
Cecil County schools say cuts needed with $13 million funding deficit 02:27

ELKTON - The Board of Education and administrative staff in Cecil County went back to the drawing board to revise their proposed budget for the next academic year that will reflect $13.1 million less in operating costs. 

During a regular meeting on Wednesday, administrative staff gave board members an overview of the deficit.

"Going into next year, we needed $17 million in new revenue to offer the same level of service we're offering this year," Superintendent Dr. Jeffrey Lawson said. "We received $4 million from the county, so that leaves $13 million."

Lawson said the deficit will force the district to make cuts to programs and positions.

"85% of our costs are people -- teachers, support staff, administrators, and so obviously, the lion's share of that $13 million would have to come at the expense of people and subsequently decrease services for students," Lawson said.

School officials will work to reshape the future of the public school system over the next week or so.

"We have 29 schools and it ends up being conversations with 29 principals, what it might mean in each of their schools," Lawson said. "Subsequently, what it's going to end up being is larger class sizes."

Earlier this month, Cecil County Executive Danielle Hornberger unveiled her proposal to county council members, which included funds for public schools.

WJZ spoke with Hornberger following a county council meeting.

"We've given them an increase of more than 10%, and frankly, record operational funding," Hornberger said. "To threaten our children and our teachers with these cuts from school leadership, even prior to a budget ever being presented or discussed, is more than irresponsible... It's gotten our whole community upset."

Parent and social justice advocate Christine Givens said the fight for more funding isn't over yet.

"If our children aren't taken care of then everybody else loses," Givens said. "So, I'm really proud of our community for locking arms and coming together on this cause and I hope this is sort of the catalyst to move things forward in other ways."

The Board of Education will meet again on May 8 where detailed recommendations will be made on proposed cuts to staff and services. 

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