ANNAPOLIS — A Carroll education administrator objected Friday to a plan that would divert a portion of money normally granted to counties toward a new state initiative, saying the potential $600,000 loss to Carroll's school budget could be "devastating."
"We are not currently in a position of being able to absorb a reduction of this magnitude, nor arewe capable of generating a similar amount of money from local revenue," William H. Hyde, county assistant superintendent of administration, told the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee.
The committee is considering an administration proposal, backed by the state Department of Education, to create a Schools for Success Program, which would address disparities between schools. The programwould award grants to public schools falling below "acceptable standards," provided they have a plan for improvement. It also would provide grants to schools demonstrating excellence, establish a regional training program for teachers and principals and expand programs for disadvantaged pre-kindergartners.
To finance the program, the administration has proposed transferring $19.4 million next year and about$50 million in fiscal 1993 from Action Plan for Educational Excellence, or APEX, a formula that targets money to counties and Baltimore City for educational improvements.
School officials from across thestate have said they support the concept but object to the proposed means of financing. They said the timing would be especially bad because county school boards have counted on receiving a specific amount of money from APEX in forming their budgets, which already are tight.The program should be financed through other sources or delayed, they argue. Several senators agreed, saying the bill's proponents had not presented a strong case.
Carroll has anticipated receiving $3.2 million next year from APEX, to be applied toward special education,school program improvements, teacher salaries and staff development,Hyde said.
"They're trying to use money for school improvements," he said, "but they'd be pulling down other levels to make the improvements."
The county could lose $1.5 million in APEX money in fiscal 1993 if the proposed program is approved.