THE HUB - Feature Article

  • Superintendent Recommends $1.36B FY21 Operating Budget that Includes 195 Classroom Teaching Positions to Address Class Sizes, Compensation Increases for Employees

    Posted by Melvin Edwards on 12/19/2019

    Superintendent George Arlotto recently recommended to the Board of Education a $1.36 billion operating budget for Fiscal Year 2021 that includes compensation increases for employees and 195 classroom teaching positions to address near historic enrollment increases and reduce class sizes. 

    More than 91 percent of the new positions in Dr. Arlotto’s recommendation are for employees who will have daily contact with students. The recommendation also contains 20 teaching assistants and permanent substitute positions, 11.2 cultural arts teaching positions, and two elementary reading/language arts teachers.

    Fifty-seven positions will go to staff the new Crofton High School, which will open in September for students in grades 9 and 10. More positions will be allocated as the school adds a grade in each of the next two years.

    AACPS is educating approximately 1,700 more students this year than it did just a year ago, the greatest year-to-year increase in about 30 years.

    Dr. Arlotto’s recommendation also funds nine additional school counselors,  two additional school psychologists, and an additional social worker to help meet the social and emotional needs of students. It also contains funding for 73.3 special and alternative education positions, 10 English Language Acquisition teachers, five bilingual teaching assistants, and two bilingual facilitators.

    “When I think about the obligation that we, as a school system, have to the nearly 85,000 students we serve every day, three words come to mind: opportunity, intentionality, and impact,” Dr. Arlotto told the Board in his budget address. “It is only through the creation of opportunities, carried out with intentionality, that we can have the positive impacts on children that they deserve and that our parents and community expect.”

    Elementary schools in the four clusters still without the innovative Triple E program – Arundel, Old Mill, Severna Park, and South River – would receive staffing and funding for the program under Dr. Arlotto’s recommendation. Positions would also be allocated to implement the program at Richard Henry Lee and Oakwood elementary schools, which could not begin the program this year due to constructed-related constraints.

    Dr. Arlotto’s recommendation also would add seven prekindergarten teachers and seven teaching assists to increase the number of full-day prekindergarten programs across the county; fund seven positions in the Transportation Division to enhance bus routing and communications with families and bus drivers; and add four custodial and two preventative maintenance technicians in the Facilities Division.

    More than $34.4 million in Dr. Arlotto’s recommendation is dedicated to employee compensation increases. Pending the completion of negotiations with employee bargaining units, that is sufficient to provide the equivalent of a step increase for all eligible employees, a 2 percent cost-of-living increase for all employees, and a back step for all eligible employees who were in an eligible bargaining unit or position in the 2011-2012 school year.

    CAPITAL BUDGET RECOMMENDATION

    Dr. Arlotto also presented to the Board a $214.9 million capital budget recommendation that includes $139 million for ongoing construction projects at Edgewater, Tyler Heights, Richard Henry Lee, Quarterfield, Hillsmere, and Rippling Woods elementary schools; as well as Old Mill West High School.

    The capital budget recommendation also contains:

    • $9 million for full-day kindergarten and prekindergarten additions at Sunset and Van Bokkelen elementary schools.
    • $11 million for a classroom addition and cafeteria expansion at Arundel Middle School.
    • $3 million for the design of a new elementary school in west county, to be constructed on the west side of Route 3 in the vicinity of the Two Rivers community.
    • $4 million for the feasibility study and design of a new Old Mill Middle School South, to be built on the current Southgate/Old Mill Park.

    BUDGET HEARINGS, WORKSHOP

    The Board of Education has scheduled two public hearings and a public workshop on Dr. Arlotto’s budget recommendation. Public hearings will be held on Tuesday, January 7, 2020, at Old Mill High School, and Thursday, January 9, 2020, in the Board Room at the Parham Building in Annapolis. Both hearings begin at 6:30 p.m. Those wishing to testify can sign up beginning at 5:30 p.m. Testimony will be limited to three minutes per person.

    The Board will also hold a public workshop on Dr. Arlotto’s budget recommendation at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, January 14, 2020, in the Board Room at the Parham Building. No budget-related public testimony will be taken at the workshop or at the February 19, 2020, meeting at which the Board is scheduled to adopt the budget. Should the Board offer amendments at the February 19 meeting, testimony will be taken on the amendments.

    Dr. Arlotto’s full Fiscal Year 2021 operating and capital budget recommendations, as well as a text of his budget address and a Budget in Brief document, can be found here.

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