The Board of Education of Anne Arundel County today adopted a $1.046 billion operating budget request for Fiscal Year 2015 that would add 73 school-based positions to system needs, fully funds in-place negotiated agreements with all bargaining units, and provides a 2 percent compensation increase to all other employees.
Prior to adopting the budget request by an 8-1 vote, the Board voted to add $6.2 million to fully cover step increases for teachers. A closer analysis of the budget in the wake of Interim Superintendent Mamie J. Perkins’ recommendation in December found that the additional funding was necessary to fulfill the terms of the agreement with the Teachers Association of Anne Arundel County.
The operating budget request would fund expansion of programs of choice at four schools, launch a second STEM middle school magnet program, and open the county’s first contract school in west county.
The Board’s request, a 4.2 percent increase over the FY2014 operating budget, contains just $5.1 million in program enhancements and would add 32.4 teaching positions to address needs directly tied to continued growing enrollment. Anne Arundel County Public Schools currently serves 78,490 students and is projected to surpass the 80,000 mark in the coming years.
In addition to those positions, the budget request contains funding for 15 special education positions, 5.5 teaching positions to staff the third year of the Performing and Visual Arts High School campuses at Annapolis and Broadneck high schools, two teaching positions for the fourth year of the BioMedical Allied Health magnet at Glen Burnie High School, two teachers for the second year of the STEM magnet at Old Mill Middle School South, and two teachers to launch the county’s second STEM middle school magnet at Lindale Middle School.
Also among the recommended additional positions are two elementary school counseling positions, seven school-based positions to work with students in English Language Acquisition programs, three school-based bilingual facilitators, and two American Sign Language interpreters to assist deaf teachers in their classrooms.
Also included in the Board’s request is $5.8 million to open the Monarch Global Academy Public Contract School in Laurel, which will offer the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme and help ease overcrowding at Brock Bridge, Jessup, and Maryland City elementary schools.
By a 9-0 vote, the Board also approved Mrs. Perkins’ recommended $192.1 million capital budget request, which contains no new projects from the current year’s budget. It is nearly $50 million less than the school system’s FY2014 capital budget request.
Included in the plan is more than $18 million for ongoing renovation projects at Annapolis, Crofton, Lothian, and Mills-Parole elementary schools; and $95 million of construction funding for Severna Park High School and Benfield, Rolling Knolls, and West Annapolis elementary schools. The recommendation also contains $10 million for full-day kindergarten and pre-kindergarten additions at Jacobsville, Jones, Nantucket, and Seven Oaks elementary schools; and $9 million to continue efforts to enclose open space classrooms with projects at Magothy River Middle School and Meade High School. There is also $6 million requested for gymnasium additions at Millersville and Woodside elementary schools.
The Board’s requests will be forwarded to County Executive Laura Neuman, who will present a proposal to the County Council in May. The County Executive’s proposal will be considered by the County Council before it adopts its budgets no later than June 15. The Board must approve a final school system budget by June 30.