Arundel schools budget encounters support

Anne Arundel County residents lauded Superintendent Kevin Maxwell's recommended $986.2 million operating budget at a public hearing Tuesday night, encouraging the school board to adopt it and the county council to help fund it.

About three dozen people attended the meeting at Old Mill High School in Millersville. All of those who commented on the fiscal 2013 budget voiced support; they included members of the teachers and secretaries union. Maxwell's budget requests the authority to fill 62 additional teaching positions and fully funds negotiated agreements with all four employee bargaining groups.

School officials will hold an additional public hearing Thursday in Annapolis.

Diana Peckham, a member of Teachers Association of Anne Arundel County, said the group approved of Maxwell's effort to honor negotiated agreements and said that county officials should support those efforts.

"We do not have a spending problem in this county; we have a revenue problem," said Peckham. She said that the county's funding authority should "honor its commitments rather than continue to force educators, police, fire, county, office and department employees to pay from their own pockets for county services which benefit all Anne Arundel County residents."

Maxwell said that residents' comments lead him to believe they are aware of the economic challenges facing school budget funding, and added, "They understand that beyond the negotiated agreements there is only a 1.2-percent increase that we're asking for here. They understand this is not a pie in the sky budget. You're not hearing people crying and gnashing their teeth."

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