Cutting guidance counselors' schedules from 12 to 10 months, a money-saving proposal made earlier this year, would cripple programs aimedat helping students in crisis, principals and counselors told Board of Education members yesterday.
About 20 county principals, guidance counselors and other school employees turned out at 9 a.m. for the"public participation" portion of the meeting to say they oppose anyattempt to save money at the expense of guidance positions.
"Crises do not take a summer vacation," said Vicki Coover, a guidance counselor at Windsor Farm and Southgate elementary schools.
Oliver Wittig, principal of Severna Park High School, said schools arebeing asked to deal with more complex problems facing students usingfewer resources. To cut counselors' schedules would make dealing with problems like teen-age pregnancy, drug and alcohol abuse, dysfunctional families and low self-esteem even more difficult.
Brenda Corcoran, a guidance counselor for 11 years at Corkran Middle School, said that for many families, guidance counselors are the only professionals they can turn to for help dealing with family crises.
The proposal, which would change an undetermined number of the county's 156 guidance positions from 12 to 10 months, would save about $200,000 a year, said Jack White, budget officer for the school system.
"I suggest ($200,000) is not worth the price" students would pay, said Carole B. Baker, former County Council and school board member.
Board President JoAnn Tollenger said that the proposal was "not a fait accompli" and that suggestions from staff and parents would be consideredbefore decisions are made.
White said the school system is considering a number of ways to save money in its operating budget because the County Council cut about $12 million from this year's budget request. White added that the council may force the school board to cut as much as $5 million more from its $341 million budgetfor this fiscalyear, which started July 1.
In other business, the board approvedthe transfer of two principals.
Principal Charity McClellan will leave Annapolis Middle School for Chesapeake Bay Middle School, and Kevin Dennehy, assistant principal of Brooklyn Park/Lindale Middle School, will be promoted to principal of Annapolis Middle School.