Hoping to take advantage of the governor's plans to reduce class size, Baltimore County schools Superintendent Anthony G. Marchione proposed last night adding 50 math and reading teachers to next year's budget.
Marchione also added 23 special education teachers to his spending plan for 1999-2000, which means that his proposed budget has 168 more classroom positions than this year's budget.
The proposals were made at the start of the school board's work session on the operating budget for next year. They increase the superintendent's spending plan to $682 million, about $1 million more than he had sought two weeks ago. Marchione seeks to increase the operating budget by 5.8 percent.
In seeking to increase the teaching staff, Marchione hopes to capitalize on a pledge made last week by Gov. Parris N. Glendening to give funding to those school systems that have plans in place to cut class size before legislation is passed in this General Assembly session. Glendening does not expect his statewide program for class-size reduction to go into effect until 2000.
"We are ready with a proposal that we have been working on," Marchione said. The plan wasn't announced earlier because "we thought the governor's program was going to be postponed."
Under Marchione's proposal, 15 state-funded teachers would be assigned to seventh-grade math and 35 to beginning reading instruction in elementary schools.
Marchione's original budget proposal includes 45 new federally funded teachers, who also would be assigned to beginning reading instruction in schools where black student achievement trails white students'.
During last night's session, board members indicated they are likely to add to Marchione's budget proposal -- particularly in the area of construction management.
Board members said that with the school system receiving large amounts of money from the state and county to fix aging buildings, it needs to hire more engineers and maintenance experts to ensure that the money is spent wisely and that the work is done correctly.
The board is likely to add those positions when it votes on the budget proposal Feb. 23. The budget then goes to the county executive and County Council for their approval this spring.
Pub Date: 2/09/99