It’s a basic skill for a county executive, and Steve Schuh has it down pat. Last week he again showed how you use a supplemental budget request to demonstrate responsiveness and address the loudest criticisms of a county budget plan.
Drawing on a windfall from an arbitration decision that actually went against the county, Schuh decided to use a $640,000 supplemental budget to add counselors, social workers and other conflict-addressing staff members to Anne Arundel County schools.
This won’t end criticism that his budget, which adds about 50 teachers, doesn’t go nearly far enough toward his announced multi-year goal of improving teacher-to-student ratios in classrooms. But the supplemental funding is an obvious step in the right direction and was quickly welcomed by some councilmen and school board members.
The Board of Education’s budget request to Schuh, which he had described as unrealistic and inflated, called for 14 school counselors, eight social workers and six psychologists. Schuh’s original budget called for two psychologists.
The latest announcement, as it happens, came on the same day news broke of yet another lethal school shooting, this one at a high school in Santa Fe, Texas — two teachers and eight students killed, and 13 injured. Adding resources to help students deal with social and emotional problems is often advocated as a way to prevent such tragedies; that’s not something ever likely to be proved. But having more such services available is, all by itself, a good thing.