The Carroll County school board approved a budget request of $131.4 million last night, after adding money for kindergarten assistants, bus contractors and other items.
As with the two public hearings last week, last night's meeting at Friendship Valley Elementary School in Westminster drew people who asked for more in the budget instead of less.
The board added $386,020 to last month's original request by administrators after hearing comments from parents, bus contractors and staff at two public hearings last week.
"The primary thing this budget speaks to is growth in the county," said Superintendent R. Edward Shilling. School officials expect 868 new students next fall, an increase of 3.82 percent over the current enrollment of 22,701.
The request will go to the county commissioners by Tuesday. It represents an 8.85 percent increase over the 1993-1994 budget.
Of the $131.4 million, the schools are asking the county for about $75 million, which is $8.9 million more than the current year and about a 13 percent increase. The rest will come from state and federal sources.
The money added by the school board last night included $132,000 for eight more instructional assistants in kindergartens.
The additional staff could mean that every kindergarten in the county will have an assistant. However, there might be exceptions, such as if one kindergarten is very small and the aide is needed elsewhere, said Dorothy Mangle, director of elementary education.
Bus contractors, who complained that the 1.5 percent increase built into the budget for them was far behind the 4 percent increase in the Consumer Price Index, got another $187,500 to help them keep up with their operating costs.
About $6.6 million of the new money would go toward negotiated pay raises and increases in benefits for the roughly 2,400 school system employees.
Another 47 teachers will be needed next year to keep up with enrollment growth, officials said.