At their monthly December 13, the Talbot County Board of Education released their priorities for the year and reviewed the FY 25 budget.
After the meeting was called to order, the Board honored Easton High Senior Will O'Donnell, for being selected for the Maryland General Assembly Student Page Program for the upcoming session.
The Board then re-elected Emily Jackson (District 4) as Board President and Candace Henry (District 2) as Vice President.
The Board reviewed the timeline for the FY Budget presentation will include a joint meeting between the school board and the County Council on January 16 and a public presentation January 17.
Chief Financial Officer Sally Jones explained the FY 25 budget, pointing out the following increases by area:
Administration - $188,723.00
Mid-Level Administration- $340,437
Instructional Salaries - $3,384,295
Materials of Instruction- $72,841
Other Instructional Costs (technology)-$1,022,316
Special Education - $670,113
Pupil Personnel Services - $113,364
Transportation - $598,787
Plant Operations - $68,141
Maintenance of Plant- $204,887
Fixed Charges- (Insurance costs, employee benefits) - Not Determined Yet.
This adds up to a budget of $80,039,841 up $7,989,476 from the previous year.
The amount of State/Local contribution to the budget has yet to be determined and is based on how Maryland computes the funding formula.
Jones also stated that the system is down about $12,000 due to declining enrollment over the three year average that is used to determine "foundation" or per pupil funding.
Other areas discussed in the budget were the renovations of the Chapel District Elementary School, Turf Fields for Easton High School ($1,800,000), Easton High Auditorium lighting replacement, $800,000, and Easton High School Stadium lights replacement, $222,374. A request for $1,600,000 for four electric charging stations for future electric buses added to the fleet was removed upon suggestion of Board Member Mary Wheeler (District 6).
Board member Amy Dobson (District 3) reminded the public that much of the budget ask is mandated by the Blueprint for Maryland's Future and not the Board.
Following the budget presentation Superintendent Pepukayi described system priorities explaining that staff would review system goals in recruitment, school climate and academics using data points and benchmarks on a monthly basis.
Assistant Superintendent of Instruction Helga Einhorn, Assistant Superintendent - Administrative and Support Services Lynne Duncan and Director of Student Services, Darlene Spurrier reviewed the district's priorities for this year.
In particular, Einhorn presented the 2023 Maryland Report Card for Talbot County explaining how data and the "star ratings" for each school were determined. Here is the link to the data broken out by county and school.
The meeting closed with remarks from the Board. President Jackson stated that she was proud of the work they did this past year.