Anne Arundel County school board members will propose “a large number” of amendments to the superintendent’s recommended $1.26 billion operating budget, said board President Terry Gilleland.
Superintendent George Arlotto’s budget includes requests to hire 201 teachers, increase substitute teacher pay, and expand services for non-native English-speaking students.
The superintendent is asking for $1.4 million to hire 13 guidance counselors, social workers and psychologists; and $1.9 million to hire 29.9 special education professionals.
The board was originally set to meet Wednesday, but the meeting was moved to 6 p.m. Monday due to inclement weather. They also are scheduled to vote to adopt Arlotto’s $172 million capital budget, which includes requests to fund major construction and renovation projects at George Cromwell, Tyler Heights, Richard Henry Lee and Edgewater elementary schools, plus a new Crofton-area high school slated to open in 2020.
Unlike last year, four elected board members — Candace Antwine, District 1; Melissa Ellis, District 4; Dana Schallheim, District 5; and Michelle Corkadel, District 7 — will bring requests from the campaign trail.
“A lot of my amendments, and amendments by my colleagues, will cover subjects covered during the campaign,” Schallheim said. Mental health support, adequate staffing and equity are among her priorities.
Gillelland, who will chair the budget meeting, will not propose any amendments of his own, “but will support any amendments addressing compensation, pay equity, class size reduction and mental health supports,” he said in an email.
Also included in the 400-page budget is a $15,000 increase in the superintendent’s salary, $35.1 million to be earmarked for employee compensation increases, and $51,000 in cuts to the high school English and language arts department. Arlotto’s current salary is $270,000.
There will not be opportunities for public testimony on the recommendation at the meeting, but members of the public can comment on specific amendments proposed by board members.
The board will convene at 6 p.m.Monday in the Board Room of the Parham Building, 2644 Riva Road in Annapolis.
Gilleland said school officials are still working to get a final count on amendments.
“I understand the staff is still calculating the financials for some amendments to ensure that we are able to show the amendments on screen during the meeting to be transparent with the public on what the proposal is, as well as its fiscal impact,” Gilleland said. “ And should amendments pass, staff will need to calculate for the final budget amount so we can vote on the board recommendation to the county executive.”
After the board approves the spending plan, it goes to County Executive Steuart Pittman. He can make changes within the budget but has to keep increases in funding needed to maintain existing programs.
The County Council, once it receives the budget as part of Pittman’s wider county budget, can increase spending but has to find funds elsewhere.
The fiscal year covered by the budget takes effect July 1.
“I’m just hopeful that we’ll see some issues resolved,” Schallheim said.