Baltimore Co. school board adopts budget $515 million blueprint OK'd unanimously

February 22, 1991|By Glenn Small | Glenn Small,Evening Sun Staff Larry Carson contributed to this story.

The Baltimore County Board of Education, with little discussion, last night unanimously adopted Superintendent Robert Y. Dubel's proposed $515 million operating budget for the next academic year.

The spending plan, which calls for a $51 million increase over the current budget and would give teachers and other employees 3 percent pay raises, now goes to County Executive Roger B. Hayden for review before being sent on to the County Council.

Last night at Perry Hall High School, the only controversy occurred when Calvin D. Disney, board vice president, suggested trimming $1.4 million from the proposed budget, a reduction of less than 1 percent.

Disney's idea was to hire 260 teachers instead of 295, which would increase class sizes by one-tenth of a student in elementary and high schools.

But after Dubel attacked the proposal as a "step backward, an infinitesimal step backward, but a step backward," board President Rosalie Hellman suggested that Disney withdraw his proposal.

"Mr. Disney makes some very strong points," said Hellman. But "I would like to make a suggestion that we form a committee to study the whole issue," she said.

Disney offered no rebuttal and his proposal was defeated 5-3. A minute later, with no discussion, the board unanimously approved the budget.

Asked later why he hadn't argued his point further, Disney said it was not necessary.

Part of the board's problem with Disney's proposal was that he advocated making the same cut in the next 10 budgets, which he said would have increased class sizes by one full student at the end of the period.

Disney said his plan would save $28 million over 10 years.

The savings, he said, could be used to help build the 12 neschools that officials believe will be needed to handle an expected 40,000 additional students by the year 2000.

Currently, there is an average class size of 23.9 students in elementary schools and 18.8 students in high schools.

Dubel, in his attack on the proposal, pointed out that Hayden on Wednesday had expressed strong support for the education spending plan, which represents roughly half the county's $1.1 billion budget for this year.

Hayden, a former school board president, told the county Chamber of Commerce the proposed increase of 11 percent in education spending is not really as large as it seems, given the projected increase in enrollment and excluding salary costs.

He vowed that "class sizes will not be increased in my budget submission."

In other matters, the board approved boundary changes that will send several hundred students from Perry Hall Middle and Perry Hall High schools, both of which are overcrowded, to other schools that are under capacity.

The board approved the changes over objections by parents and state Sen. Thomas L. Bromwell, D-Balto. Co., who asked the board to table the matter for a year.

Bromwell was not present when the board passed a resolution opposing his bill, which would give the county executive the power to appoint board members.

A similar measure proposed three years ago by County Executive Dennis F. Rasmussen was criticized as a power grab and defeated. Board members are appointed by the governor.

Dubel noted last night that Hayden did not ask Bromwell to introduce the measure and said the executive opposes it.

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