The Carroll County school board unanimously adopted a proposed operating budget of nearly $304 million last night to add dozens of teaching positions, cover staff pay raises, expand full-day kindergarten and provide for fuel costs in the next fiscal year, which begins July 1.
The five-member board added about $3 million to Superintendent Charles I. Ecker's proposal.
The spending plan includes $1.6 million for an additional 22 special-education resource teachers; nearly $500,000 to hire several reading intervention specialists; and about $560,000 to hire more guidance counselors to reduce student-to-counselor ratios across the system.
The proposed budget would also allocate $8 million for the second year of step increases and a 3 percent pay raise for union-represented employees; $6 million to create 142 staff positions, including teachers and instructional assistants; $2.5 million for the second phase of full-day kindergarten expansion; $1.1 million for additional fuel costs for gas and electricity, and bus transportation.
Also included are $400,000 to replace 21st Century Community Learning Center grants set to expire in June; $285,000 to hire five elementary math resource teachers; and $5 across-the-board daily rate increases for substitute teachers, bumping the pay rate to a range from $78 a day for nondegree substitutes to $105 for substitutes with teaching certificates.
A final budget is expected to be approved in early summer.