Proposal Will Increase Mental Health Staffing in School System
Annapolis, MD (May 18, 2018) – County Executive Steve Schuh today announced a proposed supplemental budget plan to increase mental health staffing in our school system.
“I am committed to working with our school system to ensure we provide needed mental health resources,” said Schuh. “This proposed increase in funding for school counselors and other mental health professionals will help provide the resources needed to ensure social and emotional support for our students.”
The supplemental budget would add funding for school counselors, social workers, and staff focused on addressing conflicts.
“This proposed additional funding is another demonstration of the County Executive’s unwavering commitment to education,” said School Board Vice President Terry Gilleland. “I applaud his responsiveness and remain willing to work with the County Executive to enact a realistic, responsible funding plan for our schools.”
“I believe this is a good first step to increase student access to mental health support,” saidPatricia Nalley.“It is beneficial to our school community for County Executive Schuh and our Board to continue to collaborate to address the needs of our school system.”
These additional positions are expected to cost approximately $640,000 annually. The source of funds to cover these additional costs is a recent arbitration decision that will reduce expected Fire Department payroll by approximately $600,000 in fiscal year 2019.
The County Executive’s initial budget includes $21.2 million for compensation.This is sufficient funding for the equivalent of full-year and mid-year STEPs, subject to negotiations. The proposed two STEP increases are part of an overall strategy by the County to ensure that the school system continue to maintain a regular schedule of annual STEP increases.
Schuh’s budget also provided funding for 80 educators in an effort to reduce classroom size and address increased workloads. Over the last three years, the County has added 175 positions to the school system, for a total of over 250 positions.The County Executive recognizes the serious need for classroom teachers and is committed to increasing staffing to address this issue.
The proposal is subject to County Council approval.