She calls it her ‘largest ask.’
Frederick, Md (KM) Frederick County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Theresa Alban presented her fiscal year 2021 budget request Monday night.. The spending plan totals $683.4-million, which is 7.3% of the base budget from fiscal year 2020. Doctor Alban also says it’s also $29.8-million dollars of above maintenance of effort, where the school system would receive about the same percentage of funding it received the previous fiscal year.
“Our county executive, when she took office six years ago, education was one of her priorities. And she did work hard to make sure we got above maintenance of effort for all six years,”: says Dr. Alban. “This is the largest ask we have ever sent across the street.”
Dr. Alban says one of her priorities in the budget is funding for competitive salaries for all employees. “For four years, we have worked steadfastly to transition to a new pay scale designed to increase our competitiveness, ” she said. “However, in many cases, we still offer salaries in the lowest quartile in the state. We must continue our efforts to improve our competitiveness.”
Another goal in the budget is to appropriate money for staffing and resources for students in the areas of mental health, language acquisition, early childhood education, special education and intervention. “My recommended budget includes additional positions for special education, school psychologists, people personnel workers, teachers for English learners and behavioral support assistants,” she says. Related to that is requests for full day pre-kindergarten classes, and money to help reduce class sizes.
The Frederick County School System has one of Maryland’s leanest central office staffing allocations, according to Dr. Alban. She says 2% of the budget is spent on administrative personnel. But that needs to change as the school system continues to grow. . “We can no longer ignore the needs of the extremely important part of our FCPS team. So my recommended budget includes additional positions and funding to insure our central office can support this large, complex school system,” she says.
Another goal in the budget is to set up a replacement cycle tor technology, both hardware and software.
The budget request is scheduled to be presented to the Board of Education on Wednesday, January 8th. The Board will go over the proposed spending plan, and decide which parts it will take to a public hearing, which is expected to take place on Wednesday, February 5th. After that, on February 12th, it will vote on the budget request which sends it off to the County Executive, who will draft her own spending plan.
By Kevin McManus