Proposed Schools Budget Includes 62 New Teachers, $3.8 Million Penalty
The superintendent recommended a $986.2 million operating budget for fiscal year 2013. The school system faces a penalty because the county failed to meet Maintenance of Effort (MOE) obligations.
The budget Anne Arundel County Public Schools Superintendent Kevin Maxwell is proposing for next school year would ask for $597.5 million from the county—a $41.4 million increase. Maxwell said schools were shortchanged for the current year.
The total proposed operating budget for fiscal year 2013 weighs in at $986.2 million, an increase of $49.5 million over last year. Of that, $597.5 million would come from the county, $306.7 million from the state and $38.6 million from the federal government.
The remaining $43.2 million would be funded by municipalities, special revenue and a fund balance from previous years.
Maxwell made a presentation to the school board on Wednesday night, characterizing the budget as the minimum needed to keep schools running efficiently.
“This is a responsible request," Maxwell said. "It’s not everything we need. It’s not a wish list."
The silver lining of the budget is resource allocation, allowing for 62 new teachers to be hired at no additional cost to taxpayers.
The new positions will be paid for with $4.1 million in so-called turnover funds accrued from the salaries of teachers and other faculty who left the school system over time.
Schools Chief Operating Officer Alex Szachnowicz stressed that these 62 new positions would go straight into the classrooms that needed it most, not to administrative or ancillary duties.
“We’re rechanneling our assets toward the schoolhouse,” Szachnowicz said.
About $16 million of the $41.4 million increase in the county’s share of the budget is due to both a rise in student population and the county failing to pay its fair share in the Maintenance of Effort law, Maxwell said. The so-called MOE requires the county to pay at least as much as the previous year in per-student spending in order to keep school funding stable.
Last week County Executive John Leopold was reportedly sent a letter from the state department of education saying the county had underfunded county schools last year. As a result, the school system will be fined a $3.8 million penalty. That penalty, along with the roughly $12 million the school system requested to meet the MOE between last year and this year, is included in the proposed budget.
The largest proposed budget increases:
- Negotiated agreements (salary increase): $33.8 million
- Charter school expansions: $3.5 million
- Transportation and fuel costs: $7 million
- Textbooks: $2.9 million
Check Patch later for additional information regarding the recommendations and capital budget.