Anne Arundel school board adopts Maxwell's budget request

The Anne Arundel County Board of Education voted Wednesday to approve Superintendent Kevin Maxwell's operating budget that would add more than 60 teaching positions and fully fund negotiated agreements with employee unions.

The board adopted the superintendent's operating budget by a 7-1 vote, with member Amalie Brandenburg opposing. Board member Solon Webb was not present.

Maxwell has recommended an operating budget of $986.2 million that requests the authority to fill the teaching positions, which will all be deployed into the classroom, school officials said.

The board also voted 8-0 to adopt Maxwell's $198.2 million capital budget recommendation that contains $120 million for construction projects at 10 schools.

Board member Kevin Jackson said that Maxwell's budget greatly addresses the class-size problem in schools. School officials said that funding for the teaching positions would come from school system savings accrued through reductions in base salaries due to permanent turnover.

"We need some relief, and the budget asks for an additional 62 educators for the classroom," said Jackson. "There are other things in the budget that are asked for as well that I don't think the County Council will be that favorable over, but we'll see over time.

"But the one thing that I hope the County Council and county executive will be supportive of is the fact that our class sizes are rising," Jackson said, "and we need to control that. And the only way to do that is to provide more educators in our county."

The school board's recommendation will be forwarded to County Executive John R. Leopold, who will present his proposal to the County Council in April. The County Council adopts its budget in May, and the school board approves a final school system budget in June.

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