Just about everyday it seems that the active and concerned residents of Prince George’s County are tracking all over the county to attend some budget forum, roundtable, or hearing. While all of the discussion over the finances for the county maybe a refreshing welcome from the days before when the Johnson Administration held no forums to hear from the public on their ideas and thoughts, they also can be frustrating when they are not coordinated well.
Yesterday more than a hundred people turned out for a standing room session to share their thoughts on the superintendent’s proposed budget for the public schools where he is calling for drastic cuts to student services and programs in Upper Marlboro. While this was happening at the very same time in Laurel the County Executive Rushern Baker was holding his own budget session promising that while the “budget looks bleak” he would use the limited funds to “spur economic growth to create jobs and improve our education system.” Two different meetings, two very different speeches, both at the same exact time. It gave an image of a county leadership very disjointed and working at two opposite ends of the very same line. For a parents and community activists concerned about the deep cuts to the education budget the system faces balancing both forums could be just too difficult, especially on those with young children. In fact if you were to attempt to make all of the hearings both sides of this line were holding you’d be at a forum just about every night for the next two weeks.
Executive Rushern Baker will hold his third public budget session on February 17th in Fort Washington at Harmony Hall located at 10701 Livingston Road at 7:00PM. The Prince George’s County Public Schools will hold their last public budget work session on Saturday February 19th beginning at 9:00AM in preparation for their February 24th meeting to adopt a budget which will start at 7:05PM. Both of their meetings will take place at the school administration building located at 14201 School Lane in Upper Marlboro.
After the school system adopts their budget it will be sent to the Executive where he will decide just how much county aid will be provided as apart of his overall budget presented to the council later this Spring. After the council and the executive approve the new budget and the state passes their budget in April the Board of Education will reconsider their funding plan to make amendments in line with their realized funds. Mr. Baker has yet to present his budget and in fact is using these forums to help get guidance in the drafting of that plan. To read Dr. Hite’s submitted budget to the Board of Education click here.