By Salim Addrey
Baltimore Watchdog Staff Writer
Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski on Wednesday proposed more than $2.05 billion in investments in public schools for fiscal year 2022, including more than $40 million over the required maintenance of effort in Baltimore County’s history.
Olszewski was joined by Superintendent Darryl Williams and Board Chair Makeda Scott as he stood on the steps outside the Baltimore County Historic Towson Court House.
“The pandemic has been especially difficult for our students, families and educators, and ensuring our education system’s recovery requires unprecedented investments,” Olszewski said. “My proposed budget includes historic investments to support our teachers, staff, and administrators as they work in the coming year to address the needs of all of our students.”
The proposed budget should cover nearly all the Board of Education’s requests and restore 122 teaching positions that were proposed to be cut due to declining enrollment in the current school year. The proposed budget fully funds step increases and a mid-year cost of living adjustment (COLA) for BCPS staff, officials said.
“As we look ahead to the next school year, this budget proposal responds to the COVID crisis with staffing and resources to buffer the pandemic’s impacts on our students and schools,” Williams said.
Investments in the proposed budget, funding by both the county general funds and federal stimulus dollars will not just restore positions but reclassify existing ones, officials said. Some existing programs will be expanded within the county school system.
Olszewski said the budget proposal also will increase support for the Community Eligibility Provision, which allows schools to offer free breakfast and lunch to all students and will fund 35 new positions such as counselors and pupil personnel workers. Millions of dollars will be allocated solely for middle school programs and summer school efforts, he added.
“Recovering from the past year will require a massive investment and unwavering commitment on behalf of the entire community,” Scott added.
Olszewski will officially present his third budget to the Baltimore County Council on Thursday.