Tracey's Elementary School needs more -- more teachers, more space, more bathroom doors.
"The overcrowding at Tracey's is worse than it was last year," said Steve Mitchell. "The teachers' lounge is beingused as a music room. The resource students are being taught in closets."
Mitchell and about 250 parents, students and employees of the county school system attended the first of two public hearings on the proposed school budget Wednesday night.
Departing Superintendent Larry L. Lorton proposed a $374.8 million budget to the Board of Education on Jan. 22, more than $41 million over last year's amended budget.School board members and County Executive Robert R. Neall said the proposed budget will have to be cut.
However, parents and students came to the public hearing to asking that, at the very least, the school board accept Lorton's budget. Some even suggested adding to the budget to increase services.
Kathy Smith asked for an additional special education teacher for Cape St. Claire Elementary.
Students at Tracey's Elementary requested doors on the bathroom stalls.
RichDavis, president of the Rivera Beach Elementary School PTA, asked for help to alleviate the crowding that has turned the
school into a"trailer park" because of the number of relocatables on the school site.
"There's just not enough teachers to go around," Davis said. "We're asking for full-time help for our teachers. Right now, we havea fraction of a media specialist, a fraction of a guidance counselor."
Davis said his PTA also was concerned about the possibility of eliminating permanent substitutes, especially since the board had just named one of the school's permanent substitutes as employee of the month.
Parents voiced their support for additional assistant principals.
With the school system expecting 2,700 more students next fall, parents testified that schools need all the teachers and assistant principals they can get.
"Assistant principals become a critical and indispensable part of the school," said Kevin Stone, the parentof two Georgetown East Elementary students.
"Keep the assistant principals in the budget," he said. "They are not part of the fat."
Stephanie Doyle, of the Belvedere Elementary PTA, also came to express her concerns. But her daughter, fourth-grade student Shelby, may have best summed up the message parents were trying to send to the board.
"If you keep on cutting education and teachers, Anne Arundel County will be a wreck," Shelby said.