The Board of Education this morning finalized a $1.28 billion Fiscal Year 2020 Operating Budget request, adding $19.2 million and 82 positions to the recommendation Superintendent George Arlotto put forward in December.
The overall request, approved by an 8-0 vote, contains a total of 377.6 new positions – 94 percent of which are allocated to personnel who have daily contact with students – and more than $48.1 million in compensation increases for employees.
The Board added $10.7 million to the $37.4 million in compensation increases recommended by Dr. Arlotto, passing a pair of amendments specifically targeted at providing back steps or step equivalents to employees who did not receive them due to freezes in fiscal years 2010 and 2011. The Board voted down two other amendments that would have added another $30.5 million in increases targeted specifically to teachers, guidance counselors, and other Unit I staff, and a third amendment that would have allocated $10 million more in increases for all employees.
Amendments considered by the Board can be found below.
The Board’s request is $92.7 million more than the Fiscal Year 2019 approved budget. It represents a 7.8 percent increase over the current year’s funding.
Among other items, the Board added 51 classroom teachers, 11 school counselors, five school psychologists, three social workers, and one bilingual facilitator to those already proposed by Dr. Arlotto. It also included funding for three additional Pupil Personnel Workers and four additional Community Ambassadors.
The Board also voted to accelerate Dr. Arlotto’s recommended expansion of the Enhancing Elementary Excellence program, adding positions and funding to open it in the six remaining clusters where it currently doesn’t exist: Arundel, Broadneck, Glen Burnie, Old Mill, Severna Park, and South River. Some schools in those clusters would not receive the program next year due to capacity constraints. Dr. Arlotto had recommended Triple E expansion only for the Broadneck cluster.
The Board’s approved budget request will now be forwarded to County Executive Steuart Pittman. 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.