Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz said finding money to restore nearly 200 teaching positions slated to be cut by the school system might be difficult given reductions in state funding.
"I appreciate the efforts of the General Assembly to identify additional funds," Kamenetz said. "However, the funds don't offset the additional costs passed down [from the state] to Baltimore County."
More than a dozen legislators sent Kamenetz a letter this week asking him to use additional funds added to Gov. Martin O'Malley's proposed 2012 budget to prevent the expected reduction of teachers.
"Obviously, we're grateful for anything we get," Kamenetz said Wednesday, adding that he had not personally seen the Tuesday letter from legislators.
Baltimore County Schools Superintendent Joe A. Hairston's budget for next year includes a reduction of nearly 200 teaching positions. Many appear to be coming from county high schools.
Kamenetz said in a Wednesday interview with Patch in Annapolis that restoring the positions through the county's budget, which he will announce in two weeks, would cost $15.8 million.
Decreased state aid for schools and additional costs passed on to the county from the state make that money hard to find.
The county received $525 million in state aid for schools in the current budget year. Under state education funding formulas, that funding should have increased to $549 million for the fiscal year that begins July 1.
"The governor offered us $532 million," Kamenetz said.
The county then has to pay for the remaining amount of the school system's proposed $1.2 billion budget.
However, the state budget working its way through conference committee also contains nearly $8 million in additional costs passed down to the county.
Included in those are about $5 million related to the operation of state Department of Assessments and Taxation office in the county, $1 million in new unemployment expenses and $2.5 million in pension administration costs related to teachers.
"It doesn't help us find the $15.8 million needed to restore the teacher ratio," Kamenetz said.
He said the outlook for state aid to the county could even be worse.
"There are other budgetary problems in the state budget—a glaring miscalculation of health care costs," Kamenetz said, declining to elaborate.
"We'll have to see how we can finance" the teaching positions, he said.