The Board of Education tonight finalized a $1.4 billion Fiscal Year 2022 Operating Budget request, adding 19 positions to address the social/emotional needs of students and $18.4 million to the recommendation Superintendent George Arlotto put forward in December.

The overall request contains a total of 220.9 new positions – more than 97 percent of which are allocated to personnel who have daily contact with students – including 181.9 classroom teaching and classroom support positions. It also includes more than $41.8 million in compensation increases for employees.

The Board added seven school counselors, seven school psychologists, and five social workers to the positions included by Dr. Arlotto in his recommendation. To fund those additional positions, the Board cut the number of teachers requested for class-size reduction from 129 to 100.

The Board also added three English Language Acquisition teachers and two bilingual teaching assistants to those included by Dr. Arlotto.

In terms of compensation increases, the Board added $16.7 million to the $25.1 million placeholder included by Dr. Arlotto for all employees. If funded by the County, that amount is sufficient to bring salary steps for Unit I and Unit II employees on par with experience steps and to provide back steps for employees in other units. The specifics of final compensation packages must be negotiated between the Board and employee bargaining units.

The Board’s request is $82.8 million more than the Fiscal Year 2021 approved budget, inclusive of an additional $12.1 million in state grant funding. Overall, it represents a 6.3 percent increase over the current year’s funding.

The Board’s approved budget request will now be forwarded to County Executive Steuart Pittman. The County Executive’s proposal will be considered by the County Council before it adopts a budget that allocates funding within prescribed state categories in June. The Board retains the ability to shift funding within operating budget categories before it approves a final school system budget no later than June 30.

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