THE HUB - Feature Article

  • Budget Recommendation Addresses School System’s Key Issues

    Posted by Dr. George Arlotto on 1/2/2018

    Helping our children believe that they can reach their full potential and overcome any obstacle that may be in their path involves us – not just those of us in our school system, but all of us in this county – believing in and instilling hope in all of our children. When it comes to Elevating All Students and Eliminating All Gaps, all must mean all.

    The sharp upward spike in our student population over the last three years has created challenges for us, particularly in light of the fiscal restraints that continue to exist in Anne Arundel County. A year ago, we worked with the County to allocate $22.5 million in one-time funding as we implement a long-term plan to secure ongoing quality healthcare for our employees. That plan included sacrifices from our employees, who saw their share of healthcare premiums rise. The necessity – and urgency – of that initiative meant that, in the existing financial environment, we could not provide additional classroom teachers for our increasing student population.

    This year, we simply must address those needs. There is no escaping this reality. These concerns have been voiced loudly by teachers and the Teachers Association of Anne Arundel County. We have heard them, and this budget addresses the concerns in significant ways.
    Included in the $1.19 billion operating budget I recommended to the Board of Education last week are 238.7 positions, 94 percent of which are allocated for teachers and other employees who interact with our students every day.

    Of the 190.7 requested teachers, 106 will address overall enrollment growth and 30 more will be allocated to reducing already bulging class sizes. Another 25 will address the rise in our English Language Learner population, where caseloads now average approximately 49 students.
    Additionally, this budget includes 16 positions to address the needs of our special education students.

    We also must find ways to continue to properly support our employees, and my recommendation allocates $20.8 million for compensation increases. Subject to negotiations with employee bargaining units, that is sufficient to fund step increases for all eligible employees, commensurate increases to non-represented employees, and a 1 percent cost-of-living adjustment for all employees.

    We also must continue to address the increasing variety and widening scale of the social and emotional needs of our students. My recommended budget contains $1.1 million for 10.4 positions (5.4 school counselors, two school psychologists, two social workers, and one pupil personnel worker) dedicated to these efforts.

    To help our students we must also help our family members, particularly those who do not speak English. This budget includes $137,000 for two additional bilingual facilitators to provide interpretation and translation services for families.

    I have also included $1.8 million for 15.9 positions to open the Carrie Weedon Early Education Center, which will be dedicated to housing and supporting prekindergarten students in south county.

    My recommendation also includes $1.2 million for 12.5 positions to implement the Enhancing Educational Excellence (Triple-E) initiative at nine elementary schools in the Annapolis cluster. This is a proven program that sparks creativity and innovation among students.

    Comments (-1)

Tweet of the Week

Notable Dates

  • January 15 - Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Schools and Central Offices closed.

    January 29 & 30 - End of second marking period. Two-hour early dismissal for all students.  School cloed for p.m. Prekindergarten and ECI students.

    February 7 - Prekindergarten Application begins

    February 7 - Professional Development. Two-hour early discmissal for all students. Schools closed for PM Pre-K and ECI students.

    February 19 - Presidents Day -- Schools & Central Offices closed