The proposed $437 million operating budget that Superintendent Carol S. Parham presented to the county school board last night embraced the spirit of a just-completed efficiency study.
"The purpose of this budget is to streamline management, increase effectiveness, achieve savings and increase accountability," Dr. Parham told the school board.
"This budget is based on a fundamental belief that we are here for the children," Dr. Parham said.
Her spending plan calls for a $28.7 million increase over the current $409 million operating budget.
The plan includes $7 million for the Advanced School Automation Project that is designed to provide computer labs in every school and to link computers in the entire system. There's also 5 percent boost for special education.
One of the most controversial aspects of Dr. Parham's proposed budget is that it contains 21 fewer positions -- 16 of which are to be taken from the highest ranks of the school system's administration. The five other positions targeted are lower level posts.
The proposed cuts, which were sparked by the recent management study, would save $1.1 million in salaries and benefits that would be spent directly on textbooks and classroom supplies.
Of the 21 positions, 10, in the school system's higher echelon, are now occupied. The others were recently vacated through retirements or transfers, or have been vacant for some time.
Among the positions proposed for elimination are two assistant superintendent slots, two executive secretarial positions, and the jobs of the supervisor of central services, the budget officer, a management analyst and the coordinator of basic adult education.
Dr. Parham also proposed eliminating the post of administrative assistant to the assistant superintendent, a job now occupied by Ken Nichols, and that of the administrative assistant to the superintendent, a job now held by Eleanor M. Harris.
In addition, the superintendent proposed the elimination of two instructional directors' positions and the posts of four program coordinators. There are 33 program coordinators and 17 instructional directors, but Dr. Parham has not said who in those positions will see their jobs eliminated.
Employees whose jobs are eliminated will be encouraged to apply for other positions within the system, Dr. Parham said.
The school board will conduct public hearings on the proposal beginning Feb. 1 at the Board of Education headquarters at 7:30 p.m. The school board must make a final decision on the budget by Feb. 15 because it must be submitted to County Executive John G. Gary by March 1.