The Montgomery County School Board, in considering the proposed school budget for fiscal year 1979, Tuesday night tentatively approved extra teaching positions in all levels of the public schools. Many of the jobs will be filled by teachers slated to leave their current teaching positions because of declining enrollments.
The budget, recommended by Superintendent Charles M. Bernardo, calls for 31 extra elementary teaching positions, 20 in middle and junior highs and 28 in senior high schools. The board designated 10 of the senior high positions for English teachers.
"Students don't write as well as they should, they don't read as well as they should and they don't express themselves as well as they should," said board member Darryl Shaw. "We seriously need to address that concern."
The board's decisions Tuesday, made on a category-by-category basis, were incomplete at the time of The Weekly's deadline.
The superintendent's recommended budget of $270,827,940 was $15.5 million more than last year's budget.
Of that increase, $10 million was for a 5 percent cost-of-living salary increase required by the 1977-80 contracts between the board and employee organizations.
In addition to that, the board considered giving that 5 percent cost-of-living salary increase to substitute teachers as well.But Bernardo said his total recommended budget left enough money to fund such an increase if needed.
"We haven't changed the rate itself," said Bernardo, noting that the budget showed the daily rate for substitutes as $34.50. "If you up the daily rate, what will (the substitute teachers) bargain for?"
In administrative portions of the budget the board added $36,000 to the employee assistance program, a counseling and referral service for employees with personal problems.The board also added $23,000 for retirement counseling.
In administrative categories, including the addition of positions for secretaries, accountants and data processors, the board added $150,000 to the superintendent's recommended budget.
Board member Marian Greenblatt advised the board to proceed cautiously and carefully through the recommended budget.
"The budget is $15.5 million more than last year," said Greenblatt. "The (school) population will decrease by 3,500 - over 3 percent of last year's enrollment. I think we will be shirking our responsibility if we throw this to the (county) council and say, 'You make the cuts.'"
In other action, the school board approved a policy on occupancy of public schools with extra space. The policy sets a priority order for the selection of users who could be occupying the space.Public school-related programs have first priority, followed by educational programs, public or private nonprofit. COmmunity programs are next, followed by housing for other county agency functions. Private enterprises are last. Each user will pay rent for the space occupied.
The board also decided where to reassign students from Holiday Park Elementary School, which is to be close in June. Students from the Adams Drive area will go to Rock Creek Palisades Elementary School, those from the Holiday Park subdivision will go to Viers Mill Elementary School, and students from the Connecticut Avenue Estates area will go to Highland Elementary.