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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  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.

Janet Norman December 22, 2011 at 09:35 PM
Great article! Soooo.... County has $3.8 million to pay a fine to the state, but not enough ($300K?) to alter high school start times for thousands of students? This is not a way to run a budget.... let's demand some accountability with our tax dollars.
Ray Leone December 23, 2011 at 07:17 AM
3.8 million is the states portion of this years budget, that the school system won't get because the county did not meet it's obligation to the tune of 12 million+, that's almost 16 million they don't have. Soooo...even if you could get all the parties to agree, teachers, parents, students, secretaries, and custodians: (300K) is pretty hard to find. Last time they tried the students shot it down too! Tell the county to meet it's obligation under the law and we wouldn't be throwing away 3.8 million in state funding. Just saying...
Jenn December 23, 2011 at 02:08 PM
I'm not clear; where did that MOE money go? Or did county schools not have it in the first place? I agreewith both above posters. Where is the accountability?

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