Classroom support is clear focus of budget proposal for county schools
TOWSON, MD—Baltimore County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Darryl L. Williams proposed a $1.82 billion operating budget for FY2021 at Thursday night’s meeting of the Board of Education.
Dr. Williams prioritized classroom instruction and supports through the addition of 482.5 positions.
“Emphasis has been placed on instruction, professional development, and our facilities,” said Dr. Williams. “Our focus needs to be on the classroom to close gaps and provide the appropriate conditions and supports that will help every student succeed.”
The superintendent’s proposal was shaped by extensive feedback from students, parents, staff, and community members, including the 100-Day Entry Plan process, which included 10 Community Conversations.
As a result, Dr. Williams identified the following five budget focus areas:
- Learning, Accountability, and Results: School-based classroom support is the clear focus of Dr. Williams’ budget proposal through the addition of 115.3 teachers for enrollment growth, 124.5 teachers for Title I and focus schools, 61 special education positions, and 52 positions to support English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL). Highlights include PreKindergarten expansion and cost savings for student devices
- Safe and Supportive Environment: Staffing increases include 10 school counselors, five school social workers, five school psychologists, 5.6 health assistants, a nurse for the ESOL welcome bus, and two floating nurses.
- High-Performing Workforce and Alignment of Human Capital: The proposal provides potential step and COLA (cost-of-living adjustment) increases, which are currently under negotiation, as well as increases in fringe benefit costs (such as medical and retiree health) and the mandated minimum wage increase.
- Engagement and Partnerships: Dr. Williams proposed adding a communications officer who is bilingual in Spanish and English and who has expertise communicating with families who speak a variety of languages.
- Operational Excellence: Highlights include investments in preventive maintenance, additional custodians, general and special education bus attendants, bus driver training and incentives, as well as critical information technology infrastructure.
The next steps in the budget process include public input, a proposed budget by the Board of Education, and a budget proposal from County Executive John Olszewski to the County Council, before the final budget is approved by the County Council.
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View the FY21 Operating Budget Schedule for more information.