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Cecil County students, parents, staff voice concerns over proposed funding for school district

Cecil County community fights for more funding for school district
Cecil County community fights for more funding for school district 02:48

ELKTON - Concerns over looming cuts to positions and programs within the Cecil County Public School district brought a group of students, parents and staff to rally outside the administration building after a county council meeting on the proposed fiscal year 2025 budget. 

On Tuesday, the county council held the first budget meeting in a series over the next several weeks to start deliberations over county-wide funding.

In the spotlight, again, were funds proposed to be allocated to the public school system.  

During the meeting, County Executive Danielle Hornberger gave an overview of the proposal, which includes just over $120 million for CCPS. 

Within that total is an additional $4 million for the operating budget over the state-mandated "local share."

"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."

In a letter, CCPS and the superintendent responded to the county executive's plan. 

"This appropriation still leaves $13 million needed to ensure these positions and programs can continue without reductions," the letter stated. 

The rally that afternoon was one of several since at least the beginning of this year after Superintendent Dr. Jeffrey Lawson sounded the alarm on a budget shortfall. 

The gap in funds this year stems from COVID-19 grants drying up, implementing Blueprint for Maryland's Future and being funded at the "Maintenance of Effort" level over the past few years, according to Dr. Lawson. 

"Students have a very powerful voice and I think the Fund CCPS group, I think we've shown that," the advocacy group founder, Allison Stout said. "That students, when they come together, they can make something happen. Even though we didn't get proper funding, I still think we can make a difference."

CCPS states more work will be done to revise their budget with the board of education. However, in the coming weeks, specifics will be shared with the district on the reductions for next school year.

Cecil County Council will continue to deliberate over the budget as a whole into mid-May.

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