Digest

January 25, 2008

Arundel to cut 50 nonteaching jobs to save $2.7 million

Bracing for severe funding cuts from the county government, Anne Arundel County school district officials announced yesterday that they will eliminate 50 nonteaching positions and use fewer substitute teachers.

The moves together could save about $2.7 million by June 30 and help the district cover costs by building up its reserves, which were nearly depleted after cuts last year.

Superintendent Kevin M. Maxwell is asking the county for a $969 million operating budget next fiscal year, but said he is not expecting to see much of the $100 million increase he seeks. County budget officials have said shrinking state education aid and a sluggish housing market will fuel larger-than-expected revenue shortfalls.

Over the past year, the school system had frozen 50 nonteaching positions but now is moving to permanently eliminate them. Maxwell said he has not decided what positions will be cut, but that they will be spread over a number of categories -- from maintenance workers to central office administrators.

"Our first responsibility is to make sure this year's budget is in the black," Maxwell said. "It's a tight year, and this is just the first of a number of things on the table that we're looking at reducing over the spring."

To save about $200,000, the district is planning to sharply scale back substitutes it uses to fill in for teachers who have to attend district training and professional development workshops. Those substitutes account for about 25 percent of what the district uses.

Ruma Kumar

Baltimore

: Armed robbery

Truck holdups net pair 14-year terms

Two Baltimore men have been sentenced to more than 14 years in prison for a series of armed robberies of cigarette delivery trucks in the city in July and August of 2006, according to federal prosecutors.

Keith Debnam, 42, was sentenced yesterday in U.S. District Court in Baltimore to 178 months in prison by U.S. District Judge William M. Nickerson. A co-defendant, Michael Goodwyn, 40, was sentenced on Wednesday to 172 months.

Prosecutors said that Debnam participated in robberies July 25 and 28 and Aug. 1, 4, 7 and 8. They said Goodwyn helped with the robberies July 25 and 28 and Aug. 7 and 8. Another defendant, Clyde Ringgold, who was sentenced to 15 years in prison in December, joined in four of the robberies.

Federal prosecutors said that in all six robberies, 667 cigarette cartons -- worth about $24,500 -- were taken. In one holdup, authorities said, a case of pastries was taken. Prosecutors said that in each robbery, the men threatened drivers with a gun.

The men were arrested Aug. 8, 2006, after one of the victims gave a description of a getaway car to police.

Region

: Initiative

Three counties, city get BRAC award

The National Association of Counties has given Harford, Cecil and Baltimore counties and Baltimore City an award for working together to address the challenges and job opportunities associated with BRAC, the federal military base realignment and closing process.

The counties and city were honored recently with a 2006-2007 Center for Sustainable Communities Award for their Chesapeake Science and Security Corridor initiative, which will help market the region. Aberdeen Proving Ground and other Maryland military facilities are expected to generate thousands of jobs through the BRAC process, and the corridor initiative will look at such issues as education, transportation, infrastructure, housing, resources and quality of life.

The award is presented every two years by the National Association of Counties' Center for Sustainable Communities. The corridor initiative was one of 10 entries to receive the award nationwide.

Anne Arundel

: Crofton

Two children hurt in fall from window

Six- and 4-year-old siblings were seriously hurt yesterday when they fell from the second-story window of a Crofton home, an Anne Arundel County fire officials said. Firefighters received a call at about 3:15 p.m. that a boy and girl had fallen from a window in the 1600 block of Troys Court and found the children suffering from serious injuries, said Battalion Chief Matthew Tobia. The boy and his younger sister were taken by helicopter to Johns Hopkins Children's Center, Tobia said. He said preliminary reports indicated that the fall was accidental, though he did not know whether the children's parents were home.

Justin Fenton

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