Prince George’s school board preps to finalize $1.66 billion budget -- Gazette.Net


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The Prince Georgeís County school board is slated today to approve its $1.66 billion fiscal 2013 budget — the first under its new system of student-based budgeting.

This yearís operating budget, a 3.1 percent increase from the $1.61 billion fiscal 2012 budget, will allocate funds to schools based on the number and type of students, with additional dollars allotted for both high- and low-performing students, those who are learning English, and those who qualify for free and reduced-price meals.

In changes presented to the board June 20, the fiscal 2013 budget now includes $572,000 to hire five additional instructional specialists to provide professional development in mathematics teaching, said Matthew Stanski, the school systemís chief financial officer. These specialists will help prepare teachers to implement the new Common Core curriculum — national learning standards 45 states have agreed to adopt — as itís phased in during the next couple of years, Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. told the board.

About 26 additional teachers and specialists will be hired for pre-kindergarten, physical education, vocal music, art, evening high schools, talented and gifted instruction and alternative schools at a cost of about $2.7 million, Stanski said.

Nearly $5 million, enough to fund 57 positions, remains in reserve to hire additional teachers to balance classroom enrollment levels, if necessary, according to Stanskiís presentation to the board.

Under the system of student-based budgeting, a school is given a base amount of $3,110 for each student, which is supplemented with between $92 and $1,868 in additional funding based on studentsí grade levels, academic performance, whether they qualify for free or reduced-price lunch, and whether they are designated English language learners, according to budget documents from the school system.

Principals, who used to be allotted a certain number of staff members based on enrollment, now are given control of about half of their funding and have spent this spring drafting individual budgets based on the schoolís priorities. Some have opted to hire a full-time library media specialist, and others have eliminated an assistant principal position in favor of hiring an additional classroom teacher.

The County Council has 30 days after receiving the board-approved budget to sign off on the final fiscal 2013 budget for Prince Georgeís County Public Schools, Stanski told board members. If the council does not take action, the budget automatically is approved.

abrownback@gazette.net