School board, commissioners talk about budget shortages

March 23, 1994|By Anne Haddad | Anne Haddad,Sun Staff Writer

It's apparent the Carroll school board has little chance of getting the additional $8.9 million it is asking for in its 1994-1995 budget proposal.

The county has only $8.4 million to distribute among all its agencies: schools, courts and roads.

But a joint meeting between the Board of Education and the Carroll County Board of Commissioners yesterday to review the request was congenial. In the past year, the two boards have clashed over some issues.

"I think it helps when we sit down and talk to each other face to face," said school board member Carolyn L. Scott.

A verdict on the budget won't be in until later this spring.

Vice President Ann L. Ballard said the board is aware of the commissioners' difficulty in distributing money and tried to address only enrollment growth in the schools' budget.

"We tried to be sensitive," Mrs. Ballard said.

The boards both expressed dismay at the trend toward lower state support for schools, which puts more of a burden on counties.

With only $8.4 million for the county to spend, "I think it's going to be difficult overall," said Steven Powell, county director of management and budget. "But we're working on it."

The county expects $10.4 million more in revenue for 1994-1995, but $2 million of that may not be spent if the county is to maintain its status with lenders, Mr. Powell said.

Commissioners have said they don't want to raise taxes. The school board approved a budget request Feb. 24 for $131.4 million. Of that, $75 million would come from the county and the rest from federal and state sources.

The $75 million request to the county represents a 13 percent increase, or $8.9 million more than received in the current year.

In the past year, the school board and commissioners have publicly argued as each defended its turf on issues such as a performance audit on school operations.

The school board has agreed to such an audit, and an independent company is being sought to do the work.

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