Garrett County Responds to School Board’s “Open Letter”

Garrett County Administrator R. Lamont Pagenhardt recently responded to letter from the County Board of Education.  The “Open Letter to the Citizens of Garrett County” depicted a strained fiscal climate and included a request for the Garrett County Commissioners to meet with the Board of Education in public session and to provide budgetary commitments for “2015 and beyond.”

Administrator Pagenhardt’s response begins with an acknowledgement and agreement of the difficulty of the present fiscal climate.  He then suggests the following steps for collaboration:

  1. The charter and formation of a multidisciplinary advisory board with members from the County Departments of Financial Services and Economic Development, Garrett College administrative staff, Garrett County Public School System administrative staff, you, and me.
  2. The task of this advisory board would be to develop a range of specific proposals for addressing the fiscal strain on the Garrett County Public School System and the economic predictions for Garrett County Government over the short and  long-term.
  3. Our respective Boards should be updated during our administrative review. The combined evaluation and finalization of these proposals by the Board of County Commissioners and the Board of Education will be presented in public forum to allow for public commentary and a definitive plan for immediate implementation.

This past legislative session, MACo supported a bill, HB1459, that would have required annual meetings between representatives of county boards of education and county government to discuss opportunities for cost-savings. HB 1459 had a hearing in the House Ways and Means Committee on March 15, 2013, but did not proceed further.

For more information on this topic, see the letter from Administrator Pagenhardt or our previous post on Conduit Street, 2013 End of Session Wrap Up: Education