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Residents protest ‘unprecedented’ school system budget cuts

By WBAL Digital Staff

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    BEL AIR, Maryland (WBAL) — Parents and educators gathered to protest in Harford County Thursday, calling for more funding for Harford County Public Schools.

They claim the budget proposed by county executive Bob Cassilly defunds education. They marched to the County Council Chambers to call for $40 million more than what the county is offering this year.

“Cassilly provided a budget that is a $39 million reduction from what the school system asked for, and a $19 million reduction from what they received last year. That’s unprecedented, it’s never happened before,” said Chrystie Crawford Smick, president of the Harford County Education Association.

Cassilly told 11 News that isn’t actually the case. He said what the county provided in funding for schools last year was unsustainable.

“When the school system was given an extra $30 million last year, that was not sustainable,” he said. “All my budget does is say, ‘Let’s go back down to that line, the county revenue line.’ I’m not going below that, I’m going back to that. That’s what I propose. That’s a sustainable expense.”

This controversy comes after the Harford County Sheriff’s Office accused Cassilly of defunding law enforcement after he refused to move forward on a planned project to build a new police precinct.

The final vote on the county budget is expected in June.

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