The Board of Education tonight added 51.8 positions to Superintendent George Arlotto’s budget recommendation, passing a $1.2 billion Fiscal Year 2019 Operating Budget request that contains 27 additional teaching positions and additional compensation increases for all employees.
Through a series of amendments, the Board boosted the number of classroom teachers to reduce class sizes and the number of additional special education teaching positions. It also added to the number of requested school counselors, school psychologists, and social worker to address the social and emotional needs of students. The Board also increased cost-of-living increases that would be allocated to all school system employees from 1 percent to 2 percent.
The request adopted by the Board includes 290.5 positions, approximately 95 percent of which would be allocated for teachers and others who have daily contact with students, and provide every school system employee with a compensation increase. More than 217 of those positions would be teaching positions, 106 of which would address continued enrollment increases and 45 more of which would help reduce rising class sizes. Another 30 teachers would be added for English Language Acquisition classes, 12.5 more would be used to expand the Enhancing Elementary Excellence (Triple-E) program to nine elementary schools in the Annapolis cluster, and 23 additional positions would address the needs of special education students. Another 6.3 teaching positions would be used to help open the Carrie Weedon Early Education Center in south county next year.
The Board’s request also includes $27.3 million for compensation increases. Pending the outcome of negotiations with employee bargaining units, that would be sufficient to provide step increases to all eligible employees, commensurate increases to non-represented employees, and a 2 percent cost-of-living increase to all employees.
More than $850,000 in the Board’s request would go to boost pay for substitute teachers by $10 per day. Substitute teacher compensation has not been increased in more than 15 years.
The request also includes $3 million for 29.2 positions to help address increasing issues related to the social and emotional wellness of students. Those include 14.4 school counselors, 8 social workers, 5.8 school psychologists, and one pupil personnel worker.
More than $3 million in the Board’s request is allocated to the expansion of the Monarch Academy Annapolis Public Contract School and needs at other charter and contract schools across the county. Monarch Annapolis’ base enrollment is scheduled to rise from 530 to 638 students next year.
In its recommendation, the Board also included:
- $274,680 for four additional bilingual facilitators to undertake the critical work of collaborating with families.
- $1 million to continue the fiber ring expansion, a collaborative project with the County Government designed to increase high-speed internet access.
CAPITAL BUDGET REQUEST
The Board adopted Dr. Arlotto’s $216 million capital budget recommendation without making any changes, allocating funding to nine major school construction projects, in priority order:
- Manor View Elementary School ($3.8 million)
- High Point Elementary School ($4.5 million)
- George Cromwell Elementary School ($15.6 million)
- Jessup Elementary School ($7.9 million)
- Arnold Elementary School ($6.7 million)
- Edgewater Elementary School ($19.7 million)
- Tyler Heights Elementary School ($18.2 million)
- Richard Henry Lee Elementary School ($16.9 million)
- Crofton Area High School ($54.8 million)
The capital budget recommendation also contains $7.5 million for prekindergarten and kindergarten additions at Maryland City and Riviera Beach elementary schools, and $10 million for classroom additions at Marley and Solley elementary schools, and a gymnasium and program addition at Glen Burnie Park Elementary School.
The budgets will be forwarded to County Executive Steve Schuh by March 1. Mr. Schuh will include funding for the school system in his proposed FY2019 budgets, which will be released May 1.