Yesterday, they joked in school offices that the cover on the superintendent's proposed $112.28 million spending plan for fiscal 1993 waspurple so it wouldn't show any bleeding.
Unveiled to 35 citizens last night during a 75-minute public hearing at Spring Garden Elementary, Superintendent R. Edward Shilling's proposed budget calls for the 22,500-student district to spend $5.15 million more next year.
Nearly all categories of spending, from administration to instructional salaries, will be increased -- anywhere from 1 to 12.7 percent. Only student personnel services and school community services will see decreases -- though minor -- under the proposed budget.
So, where is the bleeding?
Most of the additional dollars earmarked in the 1992-1993 budget will be spent to meet growth. Educators predict 852 new students will enter Carroll classrooms in the fall.
In addition, the district will open Friendship Valley Elementary in Westminster and will be preparing for the opening of Runnymede Elementary near Taneytown the following year.
Educators hope to hire 52 teachers, secretaries and teaching assistants to accommodate growth and to staff Friendship Valley. The hiring includes 12 elementary and 19.5 middle and high school teachers.
Although instructional salaries willincrease 2.86 percent, or $1.5 million, the money will not be spent on higher wages but for the additional teachers and staff. Teachers and other school workers will not receive salary increases under the planned budget.
In addition, school workers will see no increases in longevity or increment pay. School workers did not receive a pay raise this school year either. To help meet budget cuts, the 2,200-member school staff has taken one furlough day and will take another in June.
Shilling's spending plan calls for the hiring of 17.6 specialeducation teachers, assistants and other staff. The district will spend 6.99 percent, or $628,890, more than the $9.02 million earmarked for special education in the 1992 original budget.
Hampstead resident Mary Smaligo, whose daughter attends Spring Garden, raised several concerns about the budget, including the lack of additional teaching staff to accommodate visually impaired students and salary increases for school workers.
"Please start planning for (these students) now," she said of the need for more staff for the visually impaired.
Shilling said that although salary increases are not planned in the budget, the door is not closed on negotiations with the workers' associations.
Much of the additional state dollars earmarked in the budget depends on what happens in Annapolis over the next few weeks.
The superintendent and his staff are counting on an additional $6.1 million from the state's aid program APEX (Action Plan for Educational Excellence). That gain, however, is offset by a $1.3 million decrease in county dollars from this year's original budget.
The boardinitially expected to receive $58.05 million from the county this school year. But state reductions in local aid forced the school board to trim $2.9 million from the budget. Fifty-one percent of the school's budget comes from county dollars.
"It certainly doesn't providefor improvement," said board President Cheryl A. McFalls. "We're only meeting the areas of growth and relying heavily on APEX funding from the state."
Under the proposed spending plan, the district's cost per pupil will rise from $4,990 to $5,046 -- a 1.3 percent increase.
A second public hearing will take place on the proposed budget at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Piney Ridge Elementary. A final hearing and school board action on the budget will come at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at West Middle School.