School board members take issue with proposed budget

January 14, 1994|By Carol L. Bowers | Carol L. Bowers,Staff Writer

Anne Arundel County school board members have had two days to consider acting Superintendent Carol S. Parham's $414.2 million budget proposal -- and already some are proposing changes.

"There are some major issues in the budget in terms of what our priorities are next year," said Joseph H. Foster, a school board member. "I've been lobbying heavily for the school system to move forward regarding technology, but the [acting] superintendent basically has not put anything in the budget for that."

Dr. Parham's proposed budget sets aside only $141,000 for new computers.

Thomas Twombly, the school board president, also has advocated improvements in computer labs and has issued a challenge for county schools to be the best in the state in all areas by 1997.

Most of the increase over the current year's $383.5 million budget -- about 8 percent or $30.8 million -- would cover pay raises negotiated last fall for employees.

That agreement calls for school employees to receive a 2 percent raise this month, followed by a 4 percent raise when the budget year begins July 1, said Jack White, the school system's financial officer.

"So that increase has to cover a total raise of 6 percent -- the 4 percent due in July and the 2 percent that already will be part of their paychecks," he said.

Six of the school board members got their first glimpse at Dr. Parham's proposal at a budget work session Wednesday night. The budget will be formally presented at the board's regular meeting Jan. 19.

After the board approves a budget, it will be sent to County Executive Robert R. Neall, who must submit his own recommendations to the County Council.

The council, which has ultimate authority over how much the school system gets, must approve a budget by June 1.

Louise Hayman, a spokeswoman for Mr. Neall, said the executive would have no comment on Dr. Parham's proposal.

The school board must now decide whether to cut Dr. Parham's proposed operating budget or make other changes.

Two public hearings on the budget have been scheduled for next month: Feb. 2 at school system headquarters on Riva Road in Annapolis and Feb. 9 at Glen Burnie High School. Both meetings are scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m.

Among other recommendations in Dr. Parham's proposed budget:

* Spend $120,000 to hire two new assistants to the superintendent at a salary of about $60,000 each.

* Spend $1.53 million to hire 51 new teachers, with an average salary of $30,000 each.

* Spend $1 million to hire 44 special education teachers.

* Spend $637,000 to hire guidance counselors to fill 12.5 positions.

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