Dance's Operating Budget Highlights Population Growth, Curriculum Changes

The school system superintendent is requesting a $1.3 billion operating budget—a $41.9 million increase from the previous year.

School system Superintendent Dallas Dance said much of his $1.3 billion fiscal year budget request is intended to fund the manpower needed to accommodate projected student population growth and curriculum changes.

"Eighty-five percent [of the budget] will go toward people," Dance said.

The request, which is a $41.9 million or 3.3 percent increase from the fiscal year 2013 request, was presented to the Board of Education during a Tuesday night meeting. The board will vote on the budget to present to county officials on February 5.

The operating budget request is the first for Dance, who started his tenure in July 2012.

Schools officials said at a Tuesday afternoon press briefing that they are anticipating more than 6,200 additional students to enroll in county school over the next five years, including approximately 1,400 in the upcoming academic year. Enrollment for the current school year is 107,033.

The most recent figures from the school system show that the education cost per student in Baltimore County was $12,987, versus a state average of $13,297, in fiscal year 2010.

To manage the growth, Dance said he intends to add about 100 teaching positions to the existing 8,792, and six guidance counselor positions to the existing 269—if budget requests are met. It's still being determined where those staff members would be based.

The superintendent said only two new administrators would be hired, both for the office of safety and security. That department is headed by Dale Rauenzahn, a 36-year school system employee who was appointed executive director in October 2012.

In total, $1,109,987,184 would go toward salaries and wages of school system staff.

Funds would also be dedicated to transitioning to the Common Core State Standards, updating to a "digitized" curriculum and reducing achievement gaps, Dance said.

"Because Baltimore County is such a diverse county—there are great schools in our county, there are schools that need improvement," he said. "So we have to make sure we're closing the achievement gap but not bringing schools down."

A breakdown of the budget provided by school officials shows that, employee pay aside, $10,319,643 of the budget request would go toward equipment, $45,802,603 for supplies and materials, $77,077,663 for contracted services and $80,918,475 for other charges.

The budget can be seen in greater detail on the Baltimore County Public Schools website.

School officials said the request reflects maintenance of effort as required by state law.

The Board of Education approved the superintendent's approximately $72 million capital budget request, which was notable for requesting funding for air conditioning infrastructure at county schools, in October 2012. County Executive Kevin Kamenetz said Monday that school construction is one of his priorities for the 2013 General Assembly.

A public hearing for the operating budget is scheduled for 7 p.m. Jan. 15 at West Towson Elementary School.

Larry January 09, 2013 at 03:09 AM
M. Sullivan January 09, 2013 at 09:11 AM
Take the time to read this budget on the BCPS website. You will notice a few interesting points, such as: Out of 19000 employees only 8792 are regular teachers. Administrative salaries are budgeted to increase 26.1%, middle level administrative salaries increase 2.4%, while instructional salaries increase 1%. What's wrong with this picture?
Stacy Aghalarov January 09, 2013 at 12:35 PM
Not much change since last superintendent then.... SMH
Nancy Eubert January 09, 2013 at 01:52 PM
Admins were underpaid for the amount of work they do and comparable to the rest of the industry admins, so they should have an increase in pay.
Robert Frisch January 09, 2013 at 02:01 PM
Another reason to get behind the effort to have elected members of the school board that has already been pre filed an Annapolis for the current session.
Robert Frisch January 09, 2013 at 02:06 PM
Nancy, If admins feel overworked they should return to the classroom. There is also the private sector if they believe they can earn more money for doing the same amount of work.
M. Sullivan January 09, 2013 at 02:35 PM
Underpaid? Give me a break! Salaries are listed in the budget if you dig deep enough. These people are certainly not underpaid, especially when you consider the benefits they get.
Angela McLean January 09, 2013 at 02:52 PM
I have tried to get a response from Dance's office that should have been in the budget * why does BCPS not have an emergency contact email system for BCPS parents to be notified why is that not in place for our system...it's based on each school- each school has to pay for the constant contact email systems...some don't have that * why hasnt' the bcps website been updated with resources/links for information pertaining to the Sandy HOok violence as of the last time I checked...no communication has come from Dance at all pertaining to that event or plans for any community collaboration with police, admin and parents that I know of * why were teachers and administrators not notified immeadiately with plans and current update of event after the shooting. I know of asst and principals and teachers that didn't even find out until 3:30 of the shooting * beyond the 5 community reach sessions why is Dr. Dance not responding to emais in a more timely fashion * I want to know why it hasn't been a priority to collaboratively approach school safety transparently...I have to search for dates, discussions and information Angela McLean concerned parent and educator for 16+ years
LF January 09, 2013 at 02:54 PM
If good staff is underpaid, they will go to the private sector. The only people who remain are near retirement or can't get jobs in the private sector. While it's not reasonable to expect the exact same level of compensation as private industry, it doesn't take long for salaries to get so far behind you can't attract and retain good people. When you don't have competent staff, then you can complain about government inefficiency!
M. Sullivan January 09, 2013 at 09:22 PM
I'm not sure that the answers to any of these questions would be found in a budget, even though they may be important questions.
bill logan January 09, 2013 at 10:06 PM
$ 13K per student per year. Why do Public School Systems have a monopoly on our kids education? A parent should is entitled to some financial relief when they send the kid to a private school. Why not the same $ 13K the public School system is saving, How about a $ 13K Voucher? Why are we forced to fund public social re-engineering?? Somehow, I suspect someone will disagree (like a closet public school teacher)
M. Sullivan January 09, 2013 at 10:12 PM
Bill, you would think a voucher would be fair but, what about people who don't have kids? The argument could be made that they should get a $13K refund. I just hate to see so much tax money being wasted on administrative overhead.
bill logan January 09, 2013 at 10:25 PM
M. point well taken. I would simply argue that so long as we all agree, and suppose I do, that the kids education is a community necessity, as is fire and police protection; whether we ever need it personally or not. My theory is based on the following: there is a kid and in a society that advocates "choice" (at least when it fits their respective campaign base) I'm stuck with that. So, I would argue the tax dollars should be available to fund that kids education. This is so, whether it be in a public, or alternate school environment. Thus, eliminating the tax payer funded monopoly, which currently includes too much social re-engineering, at the expense of math, science, and history for that matter.
bill logan January 09, 2013 at 10:33 PM
Evets: what grade do you teach? who home schools your kids when your are at public school teaching? since when is a private school free, or inclined for that matter, to deny any kid for any reason or no reason? could you be more specific??? Lice, maybe?
M. Sullivan January 09, 2013 at 10:37 PM
Evets, you're a public school teacher but, your own kids are home schooled? Doesn't say a lot for your confidence in the system of which you are a part.
bill logan January 09, 2013 at 11:05 PM
Sorry, but I'm not drinking the cool-aid. Fire and police are a slam dunk "shared" tax burden. the very reason Evets homeschools his kids, when he's a school teacher, is the very reason I am saying NO to the Public School monopoly; and I ain't buying the inflammatory generalizations posed by Evets above. The public schooled indoctrinate 2nd grade girls into birth control, but a kid cant wear a religious symbol, under some bogus separation of church and state argument.
Meg O'Hare January 09, 2013 at 11:11 PM
Clearly it is time for a fully elected school board. I hear Liz Bowie is off on a Fellowship to Columbia University. Not sure if this is so. I am so sure that Liz Bowie would be all over the increases in administrators at Greenwood because the Stealth Superinterndant S. D. aka "Austin"Dance Administration has hired significanly more Greenwood Executive Staf--mostly his buddies. Where is the outrage for these continuous Executive hires? Why would we give any none school based administrators, who make well over $100,000 with many salaries at Greenwood significantly higher, raises when clearly they have greater salaries than the teachers in the classroom. It is time for the transparency that Baltimore County government showed a few years ago when it published Baltimore County Government salaries to bleed over to the Baltimore County Public School System and it personnel. It is time for the citizens to have a list of names and salaries that also show job assignment for those making greater than $100,000. I do not begrudge the school building Principals and Assistant Principals their salaries.
bill logan January 10, 2013 at 03:19 AM
Evets, Nothings free. I think also, you are missing my broader points.
M. Sullivan January 10, 2013 at 03:31 AM
Meg, I totally agree with the need for much more transparency in the BCPS organization. Taxpayers should not have to wade through a hundred page budget presentation to figure out where their money is going. Since they are public employees, the salaries of all BCPS employees should not be allowed to be secret. If salaries of other County employees can be published, why are BCPS employees exempt? It sounds like Mr. Dance is building himself an empire pretty quickly.
M. Sullivan January 10, 2013 at 04:35 PM
Oddly enough, Evets seems to have deleted all his comments on this topic. Could it be that the BCPS Secret Police got to him?
Concerned Mom January 10, 2013 at 10:38 PM
You want to talk about BCPS employees who are underpaid, let's talk about Additional Adult Assistants who work with special needs kids- some of whom are extremely difficult to work with. They are paid $9.32 an hour with absolutely no pay raises ever, no matter how many years they do this job and get absolutely NO benefits whatsoever. Also, these assistants have no formal training and are often assigned 2 and 3 very needy kids to help during the day. When the school is closed for any reason or they are sick, they don't get paid. They are also not included in any official emails that are sent to the other staff members in the school. An aid who sits on the school bus and simply puts kids in their seats and rides the bus with them, gets paid more than an assistant who works with kids all day long. They also get full BCPS benefits and regular pay raises. Is that fair? I think not! Who is advocating for these underpaid and overworked assistants? The answer is, nobody.
FIFA January 10, 2013 at 10:49 PM
As I have said many times before, I have no desire for an unqualified elected school board, the requirements to be elected are solely age and did you pay a filing fee. The "cure" is worse than the "illness" in my opinion.
Buzz Beeler January 11, 2013 at 01:22 AM
Great comment. We see this in our military where many casualties of war are left waiting for help and are often forgotten. We focus far too often on the spotlight and forget the shadows and those who must live and work there. In a nutshell we saw this action in the county executives lucrative pension decision which he spearheaded. We also saw this type of conduct in the last superintendent whose name I have gleefully forgotten. These special needs students and those who work with them deserve so much more. Dr. Chance are you listening to our voices?
Karl January 11, 2013 at 02:21 PM
I'm in total agreement Meg. A hybrid board will still be controlled by the Governor. It surprises me that everyone got off on a jag about senior administrators' salaries. I'm want to know why Eastwood Elementary School is being closed when school enrollment is expected to increase 1.3% next year, and increase 5.8% over the next five years, 6,200 students. Assuming that most of these additional students will be in elementary schools, that's an average increase of 58 students per school. (That's assuming BCPS projections are correct. In recent years they have woefully underestimated student population increases.) Regardless, the County Executive and BCPS don't appear to be working together.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something