Elementary schools seek staff equity Shortages noted in report

November 17, 1993|By Carol L. Bowers | Carol L. Bowers,Staff Writer

With 461 Davidsonville Elementary students in her care, principal Jeanne Paglee has only one wish for the new year, tight budget or not: a full-time guidance counselor.

"I could use an assistant principal, but what I really need is a guidance counselor here five days a week," says Mrs. Paglee. "Millie Beall is here three days a week and at Crofton Elementary two days a week, and she is worked to death. We could keep her busy here 24 hours a day."

The need for guidance counselors is just one of several staffing problems Anne Arundel County elementary schools face, according to the "Bridging the Gap" report issued last year.

At its 7:30 p.m. meeting at school system headquarters on Riva Road, the Anne Arundel County school board will find out how well the county has met those needs.

"We're basically asking for staffing equity," said Richard Chilipko, principal at George Cromwell Elementary and a member of the committee that drafted "Bridging the Gap."

"We still have schools that don't meet the staffing levels that were set in the guidelines and policy statements," Mr. Chilipko added. "We understand there are priorities and we're not trying to pit one need against another. We're just hoping the school board will listen to the needs."

The report was prepared last year by principals frustrated that individual requests to hire new staff members were ignored, said Ken Lawson, acting associate superintendent for schools.

"Asking for it school by school, it was easy for people to dismiss it," said Mr. Lawson.

It was harder to dismiss the united request. James Seamon, principal at Arnold Elementary School, got to hire a part-time secretary as a result.

"With little ones, the secretary becomes the greeter, the telephone-answerer and the first-aid tender, not to mention other duties. A secretary is really important. We're not asking for extras. We're asking for what we're entitled to."

Four assistant principals also were hired last year. Tomorrow night, board members will hear that seven more must still be hired to meet the Board of Education's own staffing ratio standards.

Last year, 17 new guidance counselors were hired, raising the ratio to one guidance counselor for 594 elementary students.

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