Teachers in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, will see larger paychecks under a new budget approved by the school board Tuesday night. The board is adding nearly $42 million to the $1.4 billion spending plan.
Teachers wanted bigger raises. The budget, which still needs final approval by the Anne Arundel County Council, also includes money for adding 19 positions to address the social and emotional needs of students.
The school board added seven school counselors, seven school psychologists and five social workers. To fund those additional positions, the board cut the number of teachers requested for class-size reduction from 129 to 100.
In addition, the school board approved several building projects, including nearly $76 million for a new high school in Severn, and the eventual replacement of three elementary schools.
Prior to the vote, teachers circled the school board building parking lot, honking horns in protest of having teachers return to classrooms Wednesday.
Teacher Allison Heinz told WBAL TV, “I live with someone who is immune compromised, and I’m concerned about all the things I’m bringing home.”
Anne Arundel County Teachers Union President Russell Leone told WBAL that teachers don’t think the school systems’ COVID-19 protocols are good enough.
“Right now we don’t have something that is as enforceable and consistent that no matter what school you walk into, it’s going to look the same,” he said.
The school system says it has detailed written plan to keep teachers and students safe.
While teachers go back into classrooms Wednesday, students don’t start returning to buildings until March 1.