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Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


Letter To The Editor

Decision makers hurting our county


Residents should know that the Worcester County Commissioners are being incredibly short-sighted and setting up our schools for future failures if they continue down this path of politicizing education in our county. It isn’t (just) that Worcester County teachers are paid the lowest in the state(, or that our teachers deserve a raise because they work hard for our students, or even that the commissioners are considering using budget numbers from three years ago (MOE from FY23 school year) to get through fiscal year 2025. (How many of us can personally afford to live on the same budget we did in 2022?)

It’s all of these things and so much more.

A major issue that our County Commissioners appear either unaware of, or unconcerned about, is the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, which is coming our way – ready or not. The Blueprint calls for all teachers in the state of Maryland to be at a starting salary of $60,000 annually by July 2026. Currently that number is about $50,000 in Worcester County.

Most other counties and districts in the state have been taking this into consideration when planning budgets to slowly move teacher’s salaries up so that there will not be a seismic shock to the budget in FY27 to make the leap upward for starting teachers, as well as an appropriate adjustment for all teachers relative to the starting salary. (If a starting salary is increased, clearly a seasoned teacher should make more!)

Are the County Commissioners up for reelection in 2026 planning not to run, and to leave this as a problem for another group to handle, just passing the issue down the line to look good for their constituents? Or are they setting us all up for future tax increases to blame it on the State or Maryland? Hoping the tax base will increase dramatically? Or are they just looking at what is right in front of them and not taking the time to plan ahead?

Regardless of the reason, choosing to not fully fund the Worcester County Board of Education budget and give cost of living increases to their employees and teachers will hurt the county finances in just a few short years.

Stretching out the increases over the maximum number of years makes the most fiscal sense versus kicking the can forward and setting us all up for sticker shock sometime in the near future.

If you are a tax-paying citizen of Worcester County, I would humbly ask that you also support this position – or plan to move in the next few years.

Alissa A. Carr-Phebus