Growth Spurs School Plea For Money To Hire Teachers

BALANCING ACT--Carroll County government juggles expenses,revenues--Continuing coverage of the county government's budgetary process

March 31, 1991|By Greg Tasker | Greg Tasker,Staff writer

It didn't take long for Carroll educators to outline the need for more money in next year's school budget.

In a meeting with the County Commissioners, Superintendent R. Edward Shilling said the extra money -- a 10 percent or $10 million spending increase -- was needed to hire teachers to accommodate growth and staff two new elementary schools, make classroom improvements and maintain competitive salaries.

And while staffing the two new schools -- Spring Garden in Hampstead and Piney Ridge in Eldersburg -- was a priority in the proposed $110.3 million spending plan, Shilling said he was concerned that commissioners would overlook the staffing needed to accommodate growth.

"Please make sure your view is broader than (staffing) Spring Garden and Piney Ridge," Shilling said. "We are going to experience growthin most schools in the county. This will have an impact on classroomsize, which most of us feel is not good to begin with."

Educatorssaid 525 more students are expected to enter Carroll classrooms nextyear, pushing enrollment to more than 22,000.

To accommodate the growth and staffing of the new schools, educators have proposed hiring about 50 teachers and other personnel at a cost of $1.3 million. Another $303,000 is needed to hire about 16 teachers and more personnelto improve classroomsize and other school operations.

"We're expected to be improving schools at the same time we're being asked to cut funds," said board member Carolyn Scott, noting that Carroll has one of the state's lowest student-teacher ratios.

Although commissioners have not pinpointed areas to cut in the proposed spending plan, they have said that increasing the county's share of the budget by about $5.5 million would be difficult.

Like other counties, Carroll is facing a revenue shortfall and has initiated various cost-saving measures. In addition, county agencies have been asked to trim 1992 budgets to 2 percent below current spending.

Commissioner Vice President Elmer C. Lippy Jr. said greater scrutiny must be given to the school budget because the county provides about 50 percent of its revenue.

"Its impact is certainly more considerable than other agencies," Lippy said.

The commissioners have already trimmed the school'scapital improvements program, but administrators last week asked forreconsideration of a $25,000 track refurbishing project at North Carroll High School and $40,000 for projects at South Carroll High School, including locker repairs.

In other matters:

* Shilling, stressing that school officials want to help resolve the budget crunch, said $554,830 has been trimmed from the current $100 million fiscal plan to return to the county.

* The state Board of Public Works has denied planning recognition -- state acknowledgment that a project isneeded -- for the proposed New Windsor Middle School replacement. School officials asked the county to move ahead with forward financing for the school. "It's an important project. One we don't feel we can afford to lose on," Shilling said.

COST PER STUDENT ENROLLMENT IN CARROLL COUNTY

Source of revenue: County contribution

1990 actual:$48,233,949. . % of total 53.7

1991 budget: $55,542,950. ..% of total 55.4

1992 request: $61,192,656. . % of total 55.5

Source of revenue: State contribution

1990 actual: $38,183,437.. . % of total 42.5

1991 budget: $41,412,629. .. % of total 41.3

1992 request: $45,818,514. . .% of total 41.6

Source of revenue: Other sources

1990 actual: $3,479,462. . % of total 3.9

1991 budget: $3,276,028. . % of total 3.3

1992 request: $ 3,259,422. .% of total 3.0

. . . . . . .Total cost

1990 actual: $89,896,848

1991 budget: $100,231,607

1992 request: $110,270,592

School calculations. . . . 1990

Student population* . . . ..20,298

1991. . . .. % chg... . . 1992. . .. . .% chg.

20,841. . .. 2.7 . . . . ..21,341... . ..2.4

School calculations. . . . . . 1990

Cost per pupil -- county. . . .$2,376.29

1991. . . . . . % chg.. . . . 1992. . . . .% chg.

$2,665.08.. . . 12.2.. . . . $2,867.38. . 7.6

School calculations. . . .. . .1990

Cost per pupil -- state . . . ..$1,881.14.

1991. . . . . . % chg.. . . . 1992. . . . . .% chg.

$1,987.07.. . . 5.6. . . . . $2,146.97. . . 8.0

*Full-time equivalents

SOURCE: Board of Education proposed fiscal 1992 budget, excluding debt service

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