By Caitlyn Freeman
The Board of Education of Anne Arundel County began the budget process for Fiscal Year 2020 on Tuesday, January 8th, at Old Mill High School with a public hearing.
The hearing consisted of mostly county teachers, who sported red, union t-shirts, as well as members of the community addressing the board with their thoughts and concerns about Dr. George Arlotto’s, Superintendent of AACPS, recommended budget.
Many of the teachers who spoke at the meeting discussed their appreciation for the six percent increase in education spending, according to the Capital Gazette. Several teachers also stated that they have to work a second or, in some cases, a third job to make ends meet. Missed salary increases and the gap in pay between out of county hires and veteran AACPS teachers was also mentioned on Tuesday evening.
“We’re very optimistic […] we know that it’s the best budget we’ve seen in terms of salaries and wages for educators and for […] employees. We do know there can be some work that can be asked for and we’re hoping that that happens,” said Russell Leone, President of the Teachers Association of Anne Arundel County (TAAAC).
“I listen to everything that’s said, and I take notes. I try to listen and hear what is bubbling to the top, that is most important,” said Julie Hummer, president of The Board of Education of Anne Arundel County. “I think it’s very clear from tonight that teacher compensation is very important to everyone. And so, I listen to those, and when it comes time to adding or subtracting from the budget, I’ll be taking all of that into consideration,” Hummer added.
Hummer also mentioned that during this process, she keeps track of the public testimonies and emails that the board receives because it also impacts her decisions.
“I won’t adjust the budget,” Arlotto said after Tuesday’s hearing. The board takes Arlotto’s budget plan as well as all the information presented to them then deliberate on what should be modified or changed, Arlotto explained.
A budget workshop is scheduled for January 15th, at the Board of Education building located in Annapolis at 6 p.m.