Members of the Anne Arundel County Board of Education are scheduled to adopt the fiscal year 2013 operating and capital budgets Wednesday morning before sending the proposal to County Executive John R. Leopold.
No public testimony will be taken at Wednesday's meeting, but parents have made their concerns known through several public hearings, including one in January where more than 70 south county parents and teachers filled the board room.
The large number of parents from south county schools attended the hearing to discuss various topics ranging from Edgewater Elementary's air quality to the need for an additional fifth-grade teacher at Tracey's Elementary.
Neither concern is directly discussed in the proposed budget, but Tracey's Elementary's desire for a new teacher could be satisfied in Superintendent Kevin M. Maxwell's proposal.
The superintendent's proposed budget is identical to the one proposed by a council comprised of parents and teachers throughout the county. In it are several pieces that directly affect schools in southern Anne Arundel County.
- Maxwell seeks to add 62 new teaching positions to address the class size issues throughout Anne Arundel County.
- The funding of 62 new positions will be covered by $4 million in “salary savings from all employee groups,” and other savings accrued through “sound fiscal management,” according to a past release from Anne Arundel County Public Schools.
- The proposed budget seeks to fully fund $33.8 million in salary increases for teachers. Patch previously reported that John Hammond, budget officer for the county, called the request “unrealistic” and said it’s unlikely the school system gets the requested funding for pay increases.
- The proposed budget contains $9 million of funding to enclose open space classrooms at Central Middle School and Broadneck High. In fact, the open space classroom enclosure project ranks third on the priority list.
- About $16 million of the proposal’s $41.4 million increase in the county’s share of the budget is due to both a rise in student population and the county failing to pay its fair share in the Maintenance of Effort (MOE) law, Maxwell said. The MOE requires the county to pay at least as much as the previous year in per-student spending in order to keep school funding stable.
The board’s recommended budget will go to Leopold, who will present his proposal to the County Council in April, and then the council will adopt a budget in May before sending it back to the board to be finalized in June. The fiscal year 2013 starts July 1.
Stay tuned to Patch throughout the day as I'll be blogging live from the board room and providing up-to-the-minute reports on the budget's final draft before it goes to the county executive.