Board adds guidance counselors Visiting teachers' positions cut

February 25, 1993|By Monica Norton | Monica Norton,Staff Writer

The Anne Arundel County school board, after adopting a $105 million capital budget last night, turned its attention to giving final shape to the operating budget.

In action on the operating budget late last night, the board voted to eliminate 12 visiting teachers' positions to provide elementary schools with 17 more guidance counselors, a priority of parents.

The board also voted $50,000 to fund the new position if director of community outreach/partnership to develop more partnerships between businesses and the schools.

The board's president, Vincent O. Leggett, had feared that other board members might call for the elimination of the community outreach position to fund another guidance counselor.

Last Wednesday, the board was expected to vote on the proposed $383.4 million operating budget for fiscal 1994, but decided to delay the vote until last night to give staff members an opportunity to find money for new guidance counselors.

Guidance counselors for elementary schools were requested by nearly every parent who testified during two public hearings on the budget this month.

Many were responding to a report issued in November called "Bridging the Gap." The report documented inadequacies in staffing among elementary schools, particularly with regard to guidance counselors, assistant principals and secretaries.

School Superintendent C. Berry Carter II submitted an amended $383.4 million budget last week, about $3 million more than the budget he submitted in January. The new version includes money for an additional 57 employees -- teachers, guidance counselors, secretaries and assistant principals -- for elementary schools. The increase over last year's budget is $34 million, or 9.9 percent.

Mr. Carter had asked for five counselors in his proposed budget.

Visiting teachers visit the homes of parents who are too busy or otherwise unable to meet with teachers at school.

After the school board acts on the proposed budget, it will be sent to County Executive Robert R. Neall. He then will present his version of the budget to the County Council, which must approve a final budget by June 1.

The proposed budget does not include any cost-of-living adjustments for school system employees, which has fueled the anger teachers already feel over being furloughed for 3.2 days last year as a cost-saving measure.

County teachers and secretaries filed suit against the school board and the county this month to return the $4.3 million teachers lost in pay because of the furlough.

This could be the third year in a row school employees have not received pay increases. The board and unions representing school employees are still negotiating.

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