School board to hire new teachers Unspent money found in budget


Seven elementary schools will get more teachers this week, paid for with unspent money school officials found in this fiscal year's $203 million operating budget.

The money was discovered early last week, when school officials conducted a routine analysis of the budget and found that some vacancies had been filled later than expected this year, resulting in some salary savings.

There also was some money left over because some of the teachers who were hired over the summer were hired at a lower pay rate than had been anticipated.

The difference between what had been budgeted and what was actually spent is enough to fill 8.5 teaching positions, at a total cost of roughly $200,000.

The unspent funds were discovered just days before the school board voted on how to allocate a $1.4 million income tax windfall the school system recently received from the county.

Clarksville, Elkridge, Guilford, Phelp's Luck and Running Brook Elementary schools each will get one extra teacher. Bryant Woods Elementary will get one full-time teacher and one part-time kindergarten teacher, and Swansfield Elementary will get one classroom teacher, a part-time music teacher and a part-time art teacher.

School officials assigned the teachers -- all newly hired -- based on last month's final enrollment figures, which showed unexpected increases at those schools. The teachers are expected to be in place by the end of this week, according to Al Tucci, human resources supervisor.

"These were the schools with the most dire needs," Mr. Tucci said.

The school board had previously considered spending a portion of the $1.4 million windfall the school system received from the county on extra teachers. Instead, it voted to spend the funds primarily on textbooks and equipment.

The $1.4 million comes to the school system from a 9 percent increase in county income tax revenues last fiscal year. The money is $900,000 short of the $2.3 million which County Executive Charles I. Ecker last year had hoped the school system could be given in supplementary funds, based on what he thought would be a 10 percent increase in income tax revenue.

The school board last week decided to spend $515,000 of the windfall on textbooks, and $300,000 on equipment, including $100,000 to buy to buy up-to-date televisions, VCRs, computers and other equipment.

Patti Caplan, schools spokeswoman, said administrators were prompted to buy new equipment because of public concerns about new schools having more and better computers and other technology than older schools.

Among other big budget items were $250,000 to repair buildings and $201,000 to hire nine more special education teachers and aides.

The school board also restored $10,000 to the Black Student Achievement Program's $100,000 budget, with the extra money to be used for consultants; decided to use $29,000 to create 2.5 more custodial positions; and allocated $15,000 to hire an additional maintenance worker.

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