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Prince George's school board approves $1.8 billion budget for school system

The Prince George’s County Board of Education reconciled changes made by the County Council in the school system’s 2015 budget Thursday night and approved the $1.8 billion spending plan just days before it goes into effect.

The budget, which is the first proposed by Schools Chief Kevin M. Maxwell, was approved unanimously. It goes into effect July 1.

Maxwell had to make adjustments to the original $1.8 billion budget the board approved and sent to County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D) in March because of cuts, amounting to $6 million, made by Baker. The board had to reconcile its spending plan with the county’s approved budget.

County budget officials said the reduction was made to the school district’s budget after weighing other needs. Thomas Himler, a top Baker aide, said public safety “had more of a critical need than the school system.”

The reconciled budget does not include cuts in new programs that Maxwell proposed in his original spending plan. It also does not affect staffing levels, Maxwell said.

The budget calls for an increase in the number of schools that offer full-day pre-kindergarten classes, expands are and foreign-language programs and restores some parent liaison positions to improve interaction between school administrators and parents.

Ovetta Wiggins covers Maryland state politics in Annapolis.

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