WESTMINSTER — Putting the brakes on spending, the Carroll Board of Education last night eliminated 35 new teaching and other positions and some classroom materials -- or about $2.2 million -- to adopt a $110.3 million budget for 1991-1992.
The cuts came at the request of Superintendent R. Edward Shilling, who asked the board earlier this month to trim $2.2 million from the $7.7 million he initially sought in additional dollars from the County Commissioners.
The board trimmed the superintendent's initial $112,494,318 spending plan to $110,270,592 during the last of three public hearings at West Middle School.
Some of the last-minute changes in the superintendent's budget included retaining $3,000 for summer camps for special needs students and about $98,000 for teaching assistant principal positions at the elementary and middle school levels.
The superintendent's initial proposal called for the hiring of 109 additional teachers, administrators, clerical workers and others at a cost of $2.6 million.
But because of the gloomy economy and dwindling county revenues, the superintendent asked the board to limit any additional dollars to hire teachers to accommodate enrollment growth and to staff Piney Ridge and Spring Garden Elementary schools, slated to open in September.
Shilling said if money was not appropriated to hire the staff at those schools, he would be forced to pull teachers at other schools to fill positions.
The budget approved by the board included $1.5 million to hire 64 teachers and other personnel to provide staff at the new schools, accommodate growth and provide for some improvement.
Overall, the number of positions included in the new budget amounts to 72, including some positions funded by federal and statedollars, at a total cost of $1.7 million
"It's been a very agonizing budget year for all of us," said board member Joseph D. Mish Jr. "We would certainly like to have included a lot more items for improvement."
Also kept intact in the budget were 18.6 teaching and other positions for special education at a cost of $440,215. Several special education teachers had lobbied the board during a public hearing at North Carroll Middle School to retain all money in the proposed spending plan for special education teachers and materials.
The teachers said that classrooms are currently understaffed to handle the many needs of special education students.
William H. Hyde, assistantsuperintendent of administration, said special education was one of the few areas in the budget where school officials actually proposed increases over the superintendent's original proposal, which initially called for 15.6 positions.
Helping school officials to trim the superintendent's initial proposal for increased staff is an expected drop in the number of new students. Student enrollment, initially expected to grow by 3.2 percent or 700 students next year, has been pared to 525, pushing enrollment over 22,000.
The board's revisions increase the spending plan by 10 percent over the current $100 million budget. The superintendent's proposals would have increased spending by 12 percent.
Shilling requested a curb in spending because county officials expect only about $2 million to $3 million in new revenuefor all county agencies and the school system next fiscal year.
"These really are tough economic times, especially for a county that is a growth county," Shilling said. "I think this is the responsible thing for us to do at this time."
He added that school officials want to be part of the solutions to resolving some of the county's budget shortfall.
Shilling originally sought $63.2 million from the county, up from $55.4 million for the current fiscal year. Just over half of the budget comes from the county, with the balance coming primarily from the state. The commissioners must approve the budget.
The revised budget calls for county dollars to increase by $5.5 millionor 9.9 percent over the current fiscal year.
School officials areexpecting an additional $3.2 million in state dollars next year. However, Hyde said school officials were concerned about that money because there are bills before the state legislature that would reduce that amount.
Shilling warned that if the current economic situationdoesn't turn around in the upcoming months, school officials could be faced with making more drastic cuts.