Superintendent To Seek 159 More Teachers For 1991-1992 Lagging Revenue Could Prevent Staff Increases,rehrmann Says

December 30, 1990|By Angela Gambill | Angela Gambill,Staff writer

Harford school Superintendent Ray R. Keech wants to add 159.4 teaching jobs to the 1991-1992 school budget.

But County Executive Eileen M. Rehrmann predicts tough fiscal times for the county -- already strapped by decreased revenue -- that could make such a staffing increase unlikely. She has already frozen hiring for most county government jobs.

"I can't comment until I see the bottom line of the proposed budget. But there's not a large revenue because of the recession. That impacts the money available to fund the total budget this coming year," said Rehrmann last week.

Rehrmann added that she expects the economy to continue its downward spiral until April. "We're facing decreasing revenues in income tax, as well as the state cutting money for existing programs every couple of days," she said.

The Keech plan would increase the number of teaching jobs 8 percent, from 1,864 to 2023.

Keech says he will release an estimated cost for hiring the additional workers Jan. 8, when he delivers a detailed operating budget to the school board for review.

Other requests Keech says he'll include in his proposed operating budget for the next school year include:

* Raising the daily pay for substitute teachers; * Money to start three new pre-kindergarten programs; * More money for alternative education and Saturday morning detention programs.

Among the recommendations for added jobs Keech has made to the school board for the 1991-1992 school year are 94.5 new teachers for elementary schools in the county, including six art teachers, 4 guidance positions and eight teachers for programs for "at-risk" students.

Keech says he'll recommend secondary schools be budgeted for 44 new teachers; special education will be slotted to receive 13.4 in the Keech budget suggestions.

No new pupil personnel workers or school psychologists are suggested.

Keech says he will include 3.5 positions for the central school office staff -- half a position for a language supervisor, one supervisor for early childhood education, one supervisor of construction and one administrative assistant in special education.

Keech had originally planned to request two more helping teachers, one for gifted and talented education programs and one for special education.

But the board has said it would support a citizen advisory council recommendation that gifted education programs be expanded by three helping teacher positions and a program coordinator position in the 1991-1992 school year.

Two nurse positions would be added to the health staff, and 2.5 library technicians. Teaching assistants would be increased by 12.4 positions, and four home-school liaison workers would be added.

Clerical positions would be increased by 18.5 and custodians by nine.

The Central Office support staff would grow by 24 positions under Keech's proposal.

Keech says he'll recommend that daily pay rates for substitute teachers increase from $35 to $50 for non-degree substitutes; from $40 to $60 for degreed substitutes; and to $90 from $80 for long-term substitutes.

Three pre-kindergarten programs would be started under Keech's plan.

Financing for alternative education programs would increase to $45,000 from $25,000 for Saturday morning detention and to $85,000 from $40,700 for alternative education.

The budget also requests $400,000 for computers for instructional use, $100 per pupil for instructional materials, $232,000 for computers for administrative use and $250,000 for instructional equipment. Nearly $200,000 is budgeted for student desks and chairs.

While county students perform well on standardized tests, staffing is among the poorest in the state, the superintendent wrote in a forward to his proposal for the 1991-1992 budget.

"Public education has lower priority locally than in most of the other subdivisions of the state," he wrote. "It is evident that the priority given to public education in Harford County must be improved to prevent serious consequences in the education of its youth."

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