Arundel schools could see job cuts Resource teachers, counselors might return to classrooms

June 17, 1998|By Kris Antonelli | Kris Antonelli,SUN STAFF

Guidance counselors, resource teachers and anyone else qualified to teach could wind up back in the classroom, but it is uncertain whether there will be job losses as the Anne Arundel Board of Education struggles to cut $9 million in spending to balance its books, county school officials say.

A letter sent yesterday to all 8,000 school employees from David D. Lombardo, director of human resources, warns that "certain currently occupied existing positions may have to be eliminated" because the school budget adopted by the County Council is "inadequate to meet all of the needs" of the school system.

Despite the warning, Superintendent Carol S. Parham said yesterday that the budget cuts she will recommend today would not leave anyone without a paycheck.

"But because I don't know what is going to happen with the board, I want to give people timely notice of all the budget deliberations," Parham said.

The board had proposed a $501 million spending plan for the fiscal year that begins July 1, but County Executive John G. Gary slashed that to $454 million before sending it to the County Council, which adopted it.

Anne Arundel school officials say the budget is $9 million short of what they need for basic operating expenses and have begun considering program and service cuts.

"Hopefully, elimination of positions, reductions in force and/or layoffs will not be necessary," Lombardo wrote. "However, employees need to be on notice that such actions may occur as a result of an inadequately funded FY99 operating budget."

Parham and the school board will meet at 2 p.m. today in Annapolis. It is likely to be a long, painful meeting, board members say.

"I don't see classroom teachers being laid off," said board Vice President Paul Rudolph. "There is the possibility that we will have to eliminate people in certain positions, and my hope would be that they would be able to return to the classroom."

John G. Kurpjuweit, the teachers union president, said he is concerned about members' jobs, but was reassured during a meeting with Parham yesterday morning.

"I did not get the impression that there would be layoffs," he said. "But the board is in a bind if they can't pay the people that they have. We will be working with them on this."

In addition to cutting $47 million from the board's proposal, Gary and the County Council put $8.5 million of school money into a fund that can only be used to hire teachers or to renovate Brooklyn Park Middle School.

The board is considering whether to file a lawsuit against the county. Lawyers for the board believe it is illegal for the county to specify how school money should be spent.

Pub Date: 6/17/98

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