Superintendent Kimberly Hill recently presented to the Board of Education a proposed fiscal year 2018 budget request of $364.1 million, an increase of 5.8 percent, or $19.9 million. The budget proposal includes an anticipated $4 million state increase and a request for an additional $17.9 million from the county.
The primary cost drivers of next year’s budget are employee salaries and benefits, additional support for special population students, teachers for enrollment growth and bus replacements and additional bus routes.
Employee compensation, Hill said, is essential to hire and retain high quality staff — the foundation of success for teaching and learning. The proposed budget shows commitment to investing in top tier staff, and nearly 81 percent of the budget funds salaries and employee compensation.
For every dollar, Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) directs 66 cents to classroom instruction, 13 cents toward maintenance, operations and capital outlay, 9 cents to school administration, 8 cents to student transportation, 3 cents to central administration and 1 cent to student and community services. The proposed operating cost per pupil rises to $13,490, up $386 from this school year.
The proposal includes $11.9 million to fund 2018 collective bargaining negotiations with the Education Association of Charles County (EACC) and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). The $11.9 million includes nearly $5.6 million for an across-the-board step and level increase in FY18 and $6.4 million to cover two unfunded step increases from 2011 and 2015. The school system has not given an across-the-board cost-of-living increase since 2009.
The needs of the school system’s growing special student populations also require more resources. During the past five years, CCPS has enrolled 600 additional special education students with an increase of 200 more students this year than last year. This year, CCPS had the second fastest growing special education population and the largest increase of English Language Learners (ELL) in Maryland.
Hill’s proposal includes more than $3 million additional funding for special education and ELL services. Increases would pay for staff and expenditures needed to meet Individual Education Program (IEP) requirements for students, additional special education instructional assistants and support staff and funds to reduce ELL student-to-teacher ratios.
There is also a request for $417,000 for six new teachers for student enrollment growth. CCPS estimates student enrollment will increase by 143.7 students in FY18.
The Board of Education is reviewing the budget at 6 p.m., tonight, during a work session at the Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building. Final approval of the budget is expected Feb. 14, followed by submission to the county by Feb. 28. The Charles County Commissioners will hold a public hearing on the county budget, including the Board of Education’s request, on May 9.
Charles County Public Schools provides 26,400 students in grades prekindergarten through 12 with an academically challenging education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 36 schools that offer a technologically advanced, progressive and high quality education that builds character, equips for leadership and prepares students for life, careers and higher education.
The Charles County public school system does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or disability in its programs, activities or employment practices. For inquiries, please contact Dr. Patricia Vaira, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (students) or Pamela K. Murphy, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 coordinator (employees/ adults), at Charles County Public Schools, Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building, P.O. Box 2770, La Plata, MD 20646; 301-932-6610/301-870-3814. For special accommodations call 301-934-7230 or TDD 1-800-735-2258 two weeks prior to the event.