Superintendent George Arlotto tonight recommended to the Board of Education a $1.19 billion operating budget for Fiscal Year 2019 that would add 190.7 classroom teaching positions and provide every school system employee with a compensation increase.
In Dr. Arlotto’s plan, 106 of the teaching positions would address continued enrollment increases and 30 would help reduce rising class sizes. Another 25 teachers would be added for English Language Acquisition classes, 12.5 more would be used to expand the Enhancing Elementary Excellence (Triple-E) program to nine elementary schools in the Annapolis cluster, and seven special educators to address the needs of special education students. An additional 6.3 teaching positions would be used to help open the Carrie Weedon Early Education Center in south county next year.
“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,” Dr. Arlotto told the Board in his budget address. “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.”
Dr. Arlotto’s recommendation also includes $20.8 million for compensation increases. Pending the outcome of negotiations with employee bargaining units, that would be sufficient to provide step increases to all eligible employees, commensurate increases to non-represented employees, and a 1 percent cost-of-living increase to all employees.
More than $850,000 in Dr. Arlotto’s recommended budget will go to boost pay for substitute teachers by $10 per day. Substitute teacher compensation has not been increased in more than 15 years.
“When it comes to the success of our students, it’s about people,” Dr. Arlotto told the Board. “We must continue to take care of our people.”
The proposal also includes $1.1 million for 10.4 positions to help address increasing issues related to the social and emotional wellness of students. Those include 5.4 school counselors, two school psychologists, two social workers, and one pupil personnel worker.
More than $3 million in Dr. Arlotto’s recommendation is allocated to the expansion of the Monarch Academy Annapolis Public Contract School and needs at other charter and contract schools across the county. Monarch Annapolis’ base enrollment at the school is scheduled to rise from 530 to 638 students next year.
In his recommendation, Dr. Arlotto also included:
- $137,340 for two additional bilingual facilitators to undertake the critical work of collaborating with families of these students.
- $1 million to continue the fiber ring expansion, a collaborative project with the County Government designed to increase high-speed internet access.
CAPITAL BUDGET RECOMMENDATION
Dr. Arlotto tonight also recommended a $216 million capital budget to the Board. It would allocate funding to nine major school construction projects, in priority order:
- Manor View Elementary School ($3.8 million)
- High Point Elementary School ($4.5 million)
- George Cromwell Elementary School ($15.6 million)
- Jessup Elementary School ($7.9 million)
- Arnold Elementary School ($6.7 million)
- Edgewater Elementary School ($19.7 million)
- Tyler Heights Elementary School ($18.2 million)
- Richard Henry Lee Elementary School ($16.9 million)
- Crofton Area High School ($54.8 million)
The capital budget recommendation also contains $7.5 million for prekindergarten and kindergarten additions at Maryland City and Riviera Beach elementary schools, and $10 million for classroom additions at Marley and Solley elementary schools, and a gymnasium and program addition at Glen Burnie Park Elementary School.
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 9, 2018, at Old Mill High School, and Thursday, January 11, 2018, 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 16, 2018, 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 retains the ability to shift funding within operating budget categories before it approves a final school system budget no later than June 30.