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Harford County schools seek more funding to avoid potential cuts. County officials say no money left in budget

Harford County schools want more funding to avoid cuts
Harford County schools want more funding to avoid cuts 02:25

Harford County school leaders are pushing for more funding for next school year.

Superintendent Dr. Sean Bulson said the district needs $40 million from the county to avoid potential cuts, but the county executive says there's no more money left in the budget to fill the gap.

Dr Bulson says if the district doesn't get the funding, class sizes could increase and the district may have to cut positions like safety staff and school nurses.

"Flat funding equals cuts," Dr. Bulson said. "… We've asked for an additional $40 million in this budget, but doesn't bring anything new to this system. That's $40 million to run the same system I'm running right now."

But, when Harford County Executive Bob Cassilly released his proposed budget for fiscal year 2025 last week, it only included an extra $1 million over the amount of funding required by the state.

He tells WJZ he was hoping for a larger increase, but is limited due to lower state income tax revenue this year.

"We had to come back and tell the board, 'Look I don't have it,'" Cassilly said. "The budget is tight and I'm not going to increase taxes."

Dr. Bulson and school leaders held an informational session about the budget for parents and teachers Monday night at Aberdeen High.

Johnathan Whitworth has three children in the district and is calling on more parents to pay attention to what is going on.

"It's not even the money amount," Whitworth said. "It is more so understanding the processes, who has the authorities."

While the district and the County Executive continue to work on the budget, they both believe most of the issues go beyond the county level and need to be addressed by the State Board of Education.

"There's just so many things that the Blueprint doesn't speak to that most of the community consider part of the expected services that public schools provide," Dr. Bulson said.

"Back to the board, you need to start looking at what you're doing and try to economize, because if the state's not going to change, we're going to run into real problems," Cassilly said.

The superintendent will go before the Harford County Council on April 29 to answer their questions about the budget.

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