County school staff asked to take pay cut Classes would end 2 days earlier BALTIMORE COUNTY

February 12, 1993|By Mary Maushard | Mary Maushard,Staff Writer

As part of a $6 million package of budget cuts approved last night, the Baltimore County school board will ask its employees to take a small pay cut in exchange for a shortened school year.

The reduction, which is estimated to be less than one day's pay for most employees, would save the school system $1.3 million, the board said.

Other provisions of the package approved during last night's lengthy session include a freeze on most vacant positions, for a savings of $550,000; unused appropriations for insurance and fuel oil, $700,000; a $2 million refund on health insurance; and a $1.8 million reduction in money for classroom materials and equipment.

County Executive Roger B. Hayden asked the school system to cut $6 million from its $479 million budget to help the county out of its current money crunch.

In putting together the package, the board rejected a plan to charge students for riding county school buses.

"This is a radical proposal that students who use our transportation system and can afford to, pay for it," said school Superintendent Stuart Berger in proposing the fee. "We believe that times are that tough."

The $5 per month per student fee for transportation would have brought in about $500,000 in the last four months of the school year, Dr. Berger said.

But board member Hilda Hillman led the opposition to the proposal, saying, "It is entirely too late in this year to come up with user fees. This would be the straw that breaks some of the camels' backs."

The proposal was unanimously defeated.

The decrease in salaries, which must be approved by the three unions representing teachers, teaching assistants and clerical workers in the schools, amounts to one-third of 1 percent of each employee's annual salary, or "less that one day's salary," said Emmalyn Holdridge, manager of the school budget.

For a person making $30,000 a year, the give-back would be about $100. In return for this, the school year would end two days early, on Friday, June 18, rather than on Tuesday, June 22, as planned. Students would attend school 180 days, rather than 182.

Ed Veit, president of the Teachers Association of Baltimore County, said, "We have only agreed to go to the bargaining table. We are very adamant, we will not be furloughed.

"This is another way of looking at the situation. We would like to work with them [the board members] cooperatively to solve the problem. Whatever the teachers select will probably be correct," added Mr. Veit.

In other action, the board approved the calendar for the 1993-1994 school year, with opening day on Aug. 30. The county has traditionally not started classes until after Labor Day. School will close June 10, 1994.

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