School Workers Receive Some Furlough Money

April 24, 1992|By Monica Norton | Monica Norton,Staff writer

When County Executive Robert R. Neall agreed last December to restore wage concessions to school employees who had been asked to take four furlough days, few workers actually expected to see the money.

But earlier this week, Neall announced that some money was, in fact, being returned. On Wednesday night, the Board of Education voted to return the $811,672 to school employees.

School system Budget Officer Jack White said the money equals about four-fifths of a day's pay. Instead of four furlough days, employees now must give up 3.2 days, he said.

While board members were happy to return some of the furlough days to school employees, they expressed concerned about operating a school system with reduced subsidies from both the state and county.

The school system received an unexpected and temporary windfall when the state approved $14.2 million in APEX money, part of a program to help pay for basic educational expenses. However, the state also reduced money for school transportation by $5.2 million, and for special education by $800,000. In essence, White said, the school system will receive $8.06 million more in state money than last year's $101.5 million.

"It's not enough to do what we have to do," White said.

The board is awaiting Neall's presentation of a 1992-1993 budget to the County Council. The board asked for $366 million to maintain services, board President Jo Ann Tollenger said.

Speculation is that Neall will recommend a figure of $348 million, which Tollenger said is not enough.

"I don't want togive a doomsday scenario," she said, "but if it stays at $348 million, then we've got a real problem with that."

In other action, the board heard a report from members of the Chesapeake Regional Association of Student Councils in favor of giving students extra points for taking advanced-placement courses.

Weighted grading provides students the opportunity to receive grade-point averages higher than 4.0. Students testifying at the board meeting said several studies indicate that many of the top colleges and universities overlook students because their grade averages appear lower than those of students comingfrom schools that use weighted grading.

The board also ratified contracts with the Teachers Association of Anne Arundel County, the Association of Education Leaders and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. For a second consecutive year, none of the contracts included pay raises.

The board tentatively agreed on a calendar for the next school year, with Aug. 31 as the first dayof school.

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