The Anne Arundel County schools have a surprise $9 million surplus and, in this season of spending, hope to spread the money around.
The school system staff will ask the school board Wednesday to approve a long list of purchases: textbooks, library computers, heating and cooling units, pay raises, seminars for teachers and 6,100 calculators at $87 each.
"It's a better year money-wise than we've had in the past," Associate Superintendent Gregory V. Nourse said yesterday. In a typical year, he said $1 million to $2 million remains when the books are closed. He knew this year would bring more but didn't foresee that much more, he said.
Some of the money - $3 million - had been earmarked as partial payment for 12,000 new computers for the county's middle and high schools over the next three years as part of the Technology Refresh program. A contract dispute has left the program in limbo until next year, and much of that money will be saved for when the red tape has been cleared and the computers can be bought.
Nearly $2 million came from the state, unexpected reimbursement for money spent to educate disabled students. About $1 million is interest from school district investments - $1 million more than officials had expected. The rest comes from smaller surpluses and other unexpected payments.
The school district got $2.8 million back from its health care provider because the premiums ended up being lower than what it paid for them. But it'll need most of that savings from last fiscal year for this fiscal year because the County Council didn't provide the school district with all the money it requested for health care, Nourse said.
The money comes from the fiscal year that ended over the summer. The calculators will be given to every algebra class working toward taking the state's high school assessment test.
Eleven schools in need of heating and cooling units, roof replacements or both will get $3.4 million to help pay for those projects.
Brooklyn Park Middle School is to get $50,000 for textbooks, which the new school needs to begin operating. A countywide library computer system, which was cut out when the County Council approved this year's budget, will get $415,000. In addition, $1 million will go for pay raises for administrators promised through negotiation and the addition of seven assistant principals.