Superintendent George Arlotto today recommended to the Board of Education a $1.16 billion operating budget for Fiscal Year 2018 that would provide every school system employee with a compensation increase, add 93 classroom teachers, and allocate $20.5 million to address critical issues in the employee health-care fund.
Dr. Arlotto’s plan includes $15.6 million for compensation enhancements, an amount that would provide full step increases for all eligible employees as well as modest increases for all employees who would otherwise be ineligible for steps. It also includes $3.3 million for 43 additional general education teachers across the system to address a continuing rise in enrollment and help reduce class sizes.
“A budget isn’t a document,” Dr. Arlotto told the Board in presenting his recommendation. “It is an investment in the hopes of our children, and I assure you there is great hope in our children.”
Dr. Arlotto’s proposal also includes $3.3 million for 35.4 positions to help address increasing issues related to the social and emotional wellness of students. Those include 23 teachers and aides for special education students; five assistant principals for elementary schools to allow counselors and reading specialists to concentrate on their areas of expertise instead of administrative functions; three school psychologists and one social worker; and 3.4 school counselors to provide full-time counselors at three additional elementary schools and one early education center.
In his recommendation, Dr. Arlotto also included $20.5 million to help shore up the school system’s health-care fund and fix its structural deficit. The fund has been depleted in recent years as the County Council directed funds from it for other uses within the school system. In the current year, the county and school system worked together to allocate $10 million outside of state Maintenance of Effort provisions to the fund.
Dr. Arlotto’s recommendation also includes $6.8 to open the new Monarch Annapolis Academy Public Contract School in September. The school will be the third operated by the Children’s Guild and will help ease overcrowding issues in the Annapolis cluster.
In his recommendation, Dr. Arlotto also included:
- $1 million for 10.5 positions to expand the Triple-E program to the seven elementary schools in the Old Mill cluster.
- $763,000 for 10 English Language Acquisition classroom teachers to address a 14 percent rise in the number of English Language Learners.
- $125,000 for two additional bilingual facilitators to undertake the critical work of collaborating with families of these students.
- $152,000 will fund two positions to expand the Central Middle School STEM program to the eighth grade.
- $134,000 for 1.5 positions to address enrollment growth at existing Triple-E schools.
- $216,000 for four community ambassadors to serve as additional supports and resources and to provide critical links between schools and the communities they serve.
CAPITAL BUDGET RECOMMENDATION
Dr. Arlotto today also recommended a $238.6 million capital budget to the Board. It would allocate more than $176 million in construction and/or design funding at Manor View, High Point, George Cromwell, Jessup, Arnold, Edgewater, Tyler Heights, and Richard Henry Lee elementary schools, as well as for the new Crofton Area High School.
The proposed capital budget also includes:
- $7.5 million for prekindergarten and kindergarten additions at Park and Shady Side elementary schools.
- $1.1 million to renovate the Carrie Weedon Science Center building in Galesville in preparation for opening an early education center there.
- $7 million for open space enclosures at Brock Bridge and Shady Side elementary schools.
- $6 million for classroom additions at Marley and Solley elementary schools.
Details about Dr. Arlotto’s budget recommendation, a Budget in Brief, a video of his budget address, and the text of his remarks to the Board can be found here.
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 10, 2017, at Old Mill High School, and Thursday, January 12, 2017, in the Board Room at the Parham Building in Annapolis. Both hearings begin at 6 p.m. Those wishing to testify can sign up beginning at 5 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 17, 2017, in the Board Room at the Parham Building. No public testimony will be taken at the workshop.
The Board is scheduled to approve a budget request to forward to County Executive Steve Schuh in February. 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 may shift funding within operating budget categories before it approves a final school system budget no later than June 30.