HAGERSTOWN —The Washington County Board of Education voted unanimously Tuesday night to approve a $254 million operating budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1.
Chief Financial Officer Chris South said the school board will present its budget to the Washington County Commissioners next Tuesday.
Before the board voted on the budget, board member Donna Brightman asked about the cost of school health services for the coming year.
South said school system and Meritus Medical Center Inc. officials have had early discussions about extending health services into next school year. South said he believed the program’s cost would hold steady another year.
The agreement the school system signed with Meritus last year was for one year with two possible one-year extensions. The first year was to cost no more than $2,737,458, according to the agreement.
Brightman noted that the school system still needs to find funding for Boonsboro High School’s wellness center, which school system officials confirmed.
Construction on Boonsboro High’s wellness center was finished in 2011, but there hasn’t been enough funding to staff it, officials with the school system and Washington County Health Department have said. At that time, the wellness centers at Western Heights Middle School, South Hagerstown High, and Williamsport High were staffed by the health department.
Those wellness centers closed at the end of last school year, according to Herald-Mail archives. With the start of the current school year Meritus Medical Center Inc., rather than the county health department, started providing in-school health services.
Meritus Health reopened wellness centers at Western Heights Middle and South High in February.
The wellness centers at Boonsboro and Williamsport high schools are used by the school nurses, but are not staffed as wellness centers, Associate Superintendent Mike Markoe said Tuesday. Wellness centers provide care to students and their families, he said.
With limited funding, officials chose to staff the wellness centers at Western Heights and South High because data over a three-year period showed there was a greater need for access to a wellness center at those schools than at Williamsport High, Markoe said.