Anne Arundel County Public School Superintendent Kevin Maxwell announced today a recommended budget for the county’s public schools, totaling $986.2 million — a 5.2% increase over the funding level provided for the FY 2012 fiscal year. From coverage in the Annapolis Capital:
Maxwell’s $986.2 million budget request for next year is about $49.5 million more than schools received this year and already is meeting with opposition from county officials.
But the superintendent said he’s obligated to take care of school employees.
“I fully realize this will raise some eyebrows, but I refuse to bow to criticism and deviate from my belief that we have a moral, ethical and legal obligation to seek money from the county” for the pre-negotiated raises.
County Budget Officer John Hammond said he has already told school officials not to expect any more than the state required minimum increase to their budget. Hammond said that comes to about $5.5 million.
“The county has had to tighten its belt during these economic times,” Hammond said. “The county isn’t going to get pay increases. So for the schools to expect to get one is inconsistent.”
The request is $49.5 million more than the Fiscal Year 2012 budget approved by the County Council, with $33.8 million of that going toward funding of the negotiated agreements. The remainder of the increase includes allocations for increased transportation and fuel costs ($7 million), charter school expansion ($3.5 million) and textbook purchases ($3 million).
“As we look to the future and formulate a budget request that will continue to help us move our school system forward, we must not be oblivious to the fiscal climate that exists in our county,” Dr. Maxwell told the Board. “However, we also must not ignore the needs of our students and our system and, in the process, fail to invest in the very future of not only our county, but our state and nation.”
For the 2012 legislative session, MACo has adopted among its initiatives the topic of School Board Fiscal Accountability and Process Reforms, citing concerns about the deepened disconnect between school board and county approaches to budgeting during difficult economic times.