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News Maryland Carroll County Westminster

Carroll commissioners put focus on education fund

The Board of Carroll County Commissioners decided Thursday to establish a 10-person committee to recommend criteria for the newly established Education Opportunity Fund.

The committee is expected to begin meeting within the next couple of weeks, according to Commissioners President Doug Howard.

In May, the commissioners approved their fiscal year 2014 operating budget, which included a controversial $400,000 allocation to create an Education Opportunity Fund for non-public school students.

While commissioners did not have many details on the structure of the fund at the time of the vote, they said they were comfortable allocating the money because all the details would be worked out before any money was spent.

Some county residents testified against the fund during budget talks, contending that it pulled money away from Carroll County Public Schools.

The fund will be managed by the Community Foundation of Carroll County Inc. and, according to a draft agreement with the foundation, an advisory committee will be formed to review applications for funds.

The committee will be made up of citizens from across the county chosen by the community foundation.

The fund is intended to support and enhance opportunities for non-public school children by reimbursing their parents for purchases made on educational items.

According to the draft agreement, the funds may be used to reimburse purchases of books, materials, equipment, curricula, science and technology needs, music, art, and physical education experiences.

The funds will be available to any county student in kindergarten through 12th grade that chooses a non-public education. Students will be limited to $1,000 per year.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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