It’s more than $19-million in the red.
Frederick, Md (KM) Frederick County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Theresa Alban introduced her proposed fiscal year 2018 operating budget on Monday night. The spending plan totals $582,591,516, which is $26,765,545, or 4.8%, more than the current spending plan.
Speaking to an audience at the School System’s central office building and those following on social media, Dr. Alban said the budget focuses on the goal of recruiting and retaining good employees. “We particularly want to be sure that our teachers are of the highest caliber to stand every day in our classroom. And to do this, we need to be able to insure that our salaries are competitive,” she said.
Dr. Alban also pointed out that since a new pay scale was developed last year, teacher salaries in Frederick County are no longer at the bottom in Maryland. She says they’ve moved from 24 out of 24 school systems to 20th in the state.
The proposed operating budget sets aside $19-million to pay for the second year of a new salary scale.
But Dr. Alban says funding is in the budget to improve salaries for other staff. “We’re looking to offer more competitive salaries to the professionals who make our school system run, many times behind the scenes,” she said. “Our students deserve the very best accountants, mechanics and IT professionals, just as they deserve the very best in our classroom.”
But the budget proposal is in the red. Dr. Alban said the recommended spending plan is $19.2-million more in expenditures and revenues, and she calls this a “significant gap.” “But it is a gap I know that our Board of Education, our other elected leaders, like the members of the county council and our county executive, are going to work to bridge over the next couple of months,” says Dr. Alban. She noted that County Executive Jan Gardner has said she will provide funding for the school system which will, once again, be above maintenance of effort.
As part of her budget, Dr. Alban said 93 additional employees will be hired to accommodate the increase in enrollment; 69 are teaching positions. “We had an increase in the actual number of students who are in our schools this year, and are projecting in the number of students who will be sitting in classrooms in the fall of 2017,” she said.
Dr. Alban said her budget anticipates $5-million in state funding, and $3.7-million from the county to support this increase in enrollment.
The Board of Education will hold a public hearing on this proposed budget on Wednesday, February 1st, 2017 at Oakdale High School beginning at 7:00 PM.
By Kevin McManus