2 school systems coping with budgets In the city, an increase in spending of 6.8% is proposed.

January 24, 1992|By Robert Hilson Jr.

Baltimore School Superintendent Walter G. Amprey proposed a $581.5 million budget last night for the fiscal year beginning July 1 that calls for spending $223 more per student.

The proposal amounts to an increase of $37.1 million -- or 6.8 percent -- over this year's budget.

It allows for staffing of kindergarten programs that were mandated by the General Assembly last year.

The programs are to begin in September.

While the superintendent's new budget does not include layoffs, it lops more than $1.6 million off administrative costs by reducing central office staff to the "right size," Mr. Amprey said.

Another $1.3 million was cut by eliminating several non-mandated bus routes and by contracting out some janitorial work.

The proposed budget for the 110,000-student district is subject to approval by the school board and, in June, the City Council.

The school board will hold a public hearing on the budget Feb. 6 at its headquarters at North Avenue and Calvert Street.

Mr. Amprey's proposed budget, his first as superintendent, comes at a time when the city and state are hard-pressed to meet what they consider their budgetary needs.

"This is a very tenuous budget year," Mr. Amprey said.

"It's hard to put in a [fiscal] 1993 budget while still trying to grapple with the 1992 budget," he said.

However, Mr. Amprey said his proposal would provide the "framework for the revitalization" of Baltimore schools.

Under this budget, the amount spent per pupil for classroom supplies would increase $13 from the current $29.50 to $42.50. The total spent per pupil would increase $5,415 this year to $5,638 under the proposed budget.

The budget proposes more than $1.4 million for the mandatory kindergarten programs. That whole sum is expected to come from the state, Deputy Superintendent Patsy Blackshear said.

"If the funds are not provided, then we have a major problem," she said.

School officials estimate kindergarten enrollment will rise to 1,843 pupils.

One of the goals of the kindergarten program is to increase the readiness of students "to learn by providing a comprehensive and integrated early childhood instructional program," Mr. Amprey said.

The superintendent's proposed budget envisions an additional 93 teaching positions to serve a projected enrollment increase in grades 1 through 12, and would maintain the current student-to-teacher ratio.

Other proposed increases are:

* $500,000 to improve vocational programs.

* $500,000 for staff development.

* $500,000 for additional elementary school assistant principals.

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