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Baltimore County Public Schools superintendent, other administrators forgo cost-of-living increase

Baltimore County Public Schools Superintendent Darryl L. Williams and other top school officials have opted to forgo a 1% cost-of-living increase to help ensure school employees receive raises due despite the budget impacts caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Others in Williams’ cabinet, including directors, executive directors, community superintendents and chiefs, also will not receive the 1% cost-of-living adjustment this year, schools spokesman Brandon Oland said. By relinquishing the raises, along with other administrative budget cuts, the school system was able to fund a 1% cost-of-living increase for educators.

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Williams, entering in his second year of a four-year term, will retain his salary of $290,000 negotiated in his contract. The 1% cost-of-living adjustment would equate to $2,900.

School board members said Williams requested the vote to amend his contract at a virtual meeting Tuesday night.

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With a tax receipts slashed by the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, the Baltimore County Council cut $59 million from its fiscal 2021 budget in May, including $20 million in school funding and pay increases for county employees.

The Teachers Association of Baltimore County also conceded its step increases, the salary scale that determines raises for educators, after the County Council eliminated the raises.

During budget talks, Williams reduced administrative costs by $4.5 million, including $100,000 in salaries, to pay for the 1% cost-of-living increase for school employees.

The County Council is funding the school system’s $1.65 billion budget at the school system’s so-called maintenance of effort, the legal requirement of local governments to provide per-pupil funding that is at least as much as what was approved in the prior fiscal year.

The school system’s total budget, sourced from county, state and federal dollars, is about $390,000 more than the current year’s budget. The school budget proposal approved by the board in February had requested $145 million more than in fiscal 2020′s budget, including a 2% cost-of-living increase for teachers, before the coronavirus in mid-March hammered the state’s economy.

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