Superintendent Pushes for Teacher Raises
The superintendent did not back down from requesting teacher raises next year, despite criticism from the county government.
Within the budget proposed by Anne Arundel County Public Schools Superintendent Kevin Maxwell for next year are $33 million in teacher raises.
The total proposed operating budget for fiscal year 2013 weighs in at $986.2 million, an increase of $49.5 million over 2012 budget year. Of that, $597.5 million would come from the county, $306.7 million from the state and $38.6 million from the federal government. The remaining amount will be covered by municipalities and a leftover fund balance.
Of the $49.5 million increase, $33.8 million comes in the form of pay raises for staff, excluding senior and executive faculty. The raises are termed “negotiated agreements” in the budget, a reference to the negotiations reached between the school board and teachers' unions.
Maxwell told the school board in his speech on Wednesday that he was committed to this amount.
“I fully realize this will raise some eyebrows, but I refuse to bow to political criticism and deviate from my belief that we have a moral, ethical and legal obligation to seek this money from the county, which is our funding authority,” Maxwell said.
But that notion might not fly with the county.
Anne Arundel County Budget Officer John Hammond said that the school system would not be getting its requested amount, specifically saying that the pay increases would not be approved.
Hammond called the requested amount "unrealistic."
Similar raises were cut from the school budget by the county council during its review process this summer.
Within the budget proposal is a separate capital budget, mostly dealing with school construction. Within that budget are $198.2 million in construction projects at 10 schools across the county. A full list of the projects is attached to this article.
Among the list of items on the capital budget are $5.7 million in design and engineering for a new Severna Park High School, to be built alongside the existing school. Funding for this project was written out of the budget last year during the county council’s approval process. If the money is approved this year, that new school should be completed by 2016.
The items listed under the capital budget came as little surprise during Wednesday's unveiling. The school board had approved an identical version of that budget in September.
Next year's school budget still has a number of steps to go through before being approved in its final form.
Two public hearings are scheduled in January, allowing the public to weigh in on the budget.
The first hearing will be 7 p.m. Jan. 10 at Old Mill High School, and the second will be 7 p.m. Jan. 12 at the school system’s Parham Building.
Following the hearings, the school board will attend a budget workshop at 6 p.m. Jan. 24 at the Parham Building, to which the public is invited.
The board will vote to approve the budget on Feb. 15. A budget must be turned over to the county executive’s office by March 1.
Then it's up to the county council to approve a version of the budget by June 1. The board will then make the final approval on June 20.