Area schools will have to do more with less in 1991-92 Enrollment is up, but budget growth slowing.

August 30, 1991|By From staff reports Staff writers Monica Norton, Mark Bomster, Meredith Schlow, Jay Merwin, Bruce Reid and Norris P. West contributed to this report.

When the 1991-92 school year opens next week, some teachers will be working for new principals or, in Baltimore City's case, a new superintendent, and some students will inaugurate new schools.

But all the various jurisdictions will share one goal: Doing more with less, as government budget growth slows while enrollment grows.

A report from around the metropolitan area:


The budget, or, more precisely, the reduction of one, is what school officials in Anne Arundel County must deal with as more than 66,000 students return to school.

"The budget is a big issue," said school spokeswoman Jane Doyle. "It's affecting the entire county, and it's definitely affecting us."

County Executive Robert R. Neall earlier this month asked the school system to cut $5.5 million from its $341 million budget to help cover the county's anticipated $10 million shortfall.

Classroom staffing will not be affected, but the budget reduction will be felt in other ways, budget officer Jack White said.

"The superintendent's staff has recommended to the board that we cut supplies and equipment by 20 percent," White said. "Instructional supplies and equipment, maintenance equipment, custodial equipment -- we have to cut across the board.

"It just has to be this way," White said. "Eighty-two percent of our budget is . . . salary. If our cuts are not going to affect positions, then [they are] going to have to affect materials."

The new year also will bring an additional 15 minutes to the school day for all elementary students, and a 10 percent increase -- from $1 to $1.10 -- for student lunches, Doyle said.


In the city, officials are pushing for high attendance on the first day, in a system chronically plagued by poor enrollment early in the school year.

"All schools will open on Sept. 3. All students are expected to report on the opening of school," said Douglas J. Neilson, school department spokesman.

Last year, about 20 percent of the student body missed the first day of school, with only 86,973 of the projected 108,000 students showing up. It took until the end of September for the school system to reach full enrollment.

Back-to-school letters have been sent to parents, with public service announcements placed in the local media and fliers distributed to city agency employees.

The school system has eliminated staggered enrollment dates at all schools.

The new school year also brings a new superintendent, Walter G. Amprey, a former Baltimore County school official. Amprey replaces Richard Hunter, who had lost the support of Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke.

revised elementary school curriculum also takes effect, the first phase of a three-year process to revise the entire school curriculum. In the fifth grade, the new curriculum includes detailed material on African and black American history and culture.


About 4,000 more students will attend Baltimore County schools this year than last, although no new buildings are scheduled to open until September 1992.

"This will be a year of getting those schools [Lutherville and Seven Oaks elementaries] ready," said school spokesman Richard Bavaria. The additional students will raise the county's enrollment to 90,800.

The opening of the new Seven Oaks school in Perry Hall, to help ease crowding at Gunpowder and Carney elementaries, was delayed because of unstable soil conditions at the site, school officials said.

Gunpowder and Carney are among eight elementaries in the county whose enrollments are more than 20 percent over capacity. Hillcrest, Prettyboy, Sparks, Hampton, Arbutus and Pot Spring are the others.

Lutherville Elementary, which was closed due to low enrollment in 1983, is scheduled to re-open next September, to relieve crowding at Hampton, Lutherville/Timonium, Riderwood and Rodgers Forge elementaries.

For this year, however, crowded schools will continue to hold some classes in trailers or portable classrooms, said Jim Kraft, a school planner.

Parents will have to fork over an additional 5 cents for their children's lunches. Elementary lunches will increase to $1.40, secondary lunches to $1.50 and adult lunches to $1.95.

Also, the Board of Education will be busy searching for a successor to long-time school Superintendent Robert Y. Dubel, who this week announced his plans to resign at the end of this school year.


Carroll County is opening two new elementary schools this year -- Spring Garden in Hampstead and Piney Ridge in Sykesville -- to relieve some of the crowding brought on by a

surge in elementary population.

The opening of Spring Garden will enable Hampstead Elementary to keep its student population below capacity for the first time in its four-year existance, said Vernon Smith, director of school support services.

Two other schools are undergoing substantial renovation this year.

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