Just before winter break, Superintendent Dr. George Arlotto of Anne Arundel County Public Schools recommended to the Board of Education a $1.26 billion operating budget for Fiscal Year 2020 that would add 201 classroom teaching positions and provide school system employees with multiple compensation increases.
Arlotto’s plan contains 295.6 new positions, 92 percent of which would be allocated to employees to have daily interactions with students. Of the 201 classroom teaching positions, 116 would help reduce existing class sizes and 44.5 would address enrollment increases.
The recommendation also includes $35.1 million for employee compensation increases, to be allocated as follows:
The $13.6 million “is sufficient to provide an additional step for eligible employees, cost-of-living increases for all employees, or some other distribution – including back steps – that a bargaining unit may desire to negotiate,” Dr. Arlotto told the board in his budget address, which was attended by County Executive Steuart Pittman and County Council members Allison Pickard, Nathan Volke, Andrew Pruski and Amanda Fiedler.
“The decision about whether to convert funding for a step to some other form of distribution to cover more or fewer employees is one for bargaining units to make and negotiate,” Arlotto added. “I would urge represented employees to make their priorities known directly to their bargaining unit representatives on this issue so that their voices can be heard at the bargaining table.”
The recommendation also contains $2.1 million to increase extracurricular pay for teachers from $25 per hour to $30 per hour, and $928,000 to increase pay for substitute teachers by $10 per day. This substitute pay rate has not been increased in 18 years.
Arlotto also included $3.1 million for 47.3 positions to address enrollment increases and enhanced student needs in special education. It also includes $2.4 million for 25 English Language Acquisition teachers, 10 bilingual teaching assistants, two bilingual facilitators, and a technician to assist English language learners and their families; and $1.4 million for seven school counselors, three school psychologists, and three social workers to help further address social and emotional needs of students.
Also included is $742,800 to expand the Triple-E program to the five elementary schools in the Broadneck cluster, making it the seventh cluster in the county with the curriculum.
CAPITAL BUDGET RECOMMENDATION
Arlotto also presented to the board a $172 million capital budget recommendation that includes $88.8 million for ongoing construction projects at:
It also includes $3 million for feasibility studies at Quarterfield, Hillsmere and Rippling Woods elementary schools, and $10 million for the design of the new Old Mill West High School.
Also contained in the capital budget recommendation is $11 million for prekindergarten and kindergarten additions at Millersville and Linthicum elementary schools, and $6 million to construct a classroom addition at Crofton Woods Elementary School and complete the addition at Solley Elementary School.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we continue to have a lot of work to do,” Arlotto said in his address. “I stand here tonight committed to doing everything I can to accomplish that work, and firmly believing that the right ingredients exist to bring about the results that we all want … To every resident of this county, I say clearly that this is not just my work. This is not just your work. This is our work. These are our children. All of them. And all means all.”