School board OKs budget of $118 million Plan now goes to commissioners

February 19, 1993|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,Staff Writer

The Carroll County Board of Education unanimously approved a $118 million operating budget for the coming school year at its third and final budget hearing last night at West Middle School in Westminster.

About 75 people attended the session, many of them to urge the board to spend more than the amount proposed for the 1993-1994 budget.

Superintendent R. Edward Shilling said the school board will submit the budget to the county commissioners by March 1, but the package will not include figures for salaries of union-represented employees.

He said negotiations will "start immediately" with the five employee unions and the board hopes to submit a supplemental budget, containing the salary figures reached through negotiations, by mid-April.

Commissioner Donald Dell attended the hearing.

Before the vote was taken, several licensed practical nurses (LPNs) who work in the schools complained about low salaries and asked to be reclassified from clerical to professional levels.

"Share a week with us and see what we do," said Brenda Hatfield, an LPN at North Carroll High School.

"Be aware of the changes in the health field," she said. "There are many facets to our jobs and we are not taking home the salary commensurate."

Bus contractors thanked the board for the 5.5 percent increase in the reimbursement for drivers adopted at last night's session. That added $325,000 to the budget.

"This formula has to be upgraded with proper increases every year," said Irene Johnson, who has been a contractor for 25 years. "Let us meet earlier in the process next year."

Small adjustments were also made in funding for special education teachers and a teacher for visually impaired children.

Cindy Cummings, president of the Carroll County Education Association, said hundreds of teachers had received no salary increases for two years. "For the most part, they have been understanding," she said. "Keep an open door for salary increases for all employees.

The $118 million budget represents a 4 percent increase over what the school originally got this year, but a 6.4 percent increase over what resulted after state cuts were handed down in December. Major cost increases were attributed to growing enrollment and health insurance.

The system expects 600 additional students next year, spread out over all grade levels.

To meet the enrollment increase, the system will add 52 new full-time positions at a cost of $1.3 million, excluding fringe benefits.

The budget includes an additional $1.1 million in health and dental insurance costs.

It also includes $366,910 in Social Security payments, because the state no longer pays a large portion of those payments for teachers.

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