State school superintendent warns of more budget cuts

December 19, 1990|By Mark Bomster | Mark Bomster,Evening Sun Staff

Programs for adults, prisoners and disruptive youth could be cut in the current fiscal year, as state education officials look for ways to trim the state Education Department's budget.

State School Superintendent Joseph L. Shilling said yesterday that the department will need to look at curtailing existing programs in light of the state's budget woes.

But much of the state education budget consists of mandated programs, such as special education, vocational education and some local aid, which are off limits to cuts.

That makes the budget-cutting job tougher. A department spokesman said only about $50 million of the department's massive budget consists of non-mandated programs in fiscal 1991.

The department already has made several million dollars of cuts in the fiscal 1991 budget, according to a spokesman. Reductions include a hiring freeze and elimination of out-of-town travel.

Another round of cuts is imminent, however.

"We have some difficult decisions ahead of us," Shilling told members of the state school board yesterday. "The situation we face is not a bright one at all."

Shilling also painted a gloomy picture for fiscal 1992, telling members of the board that the state is projecting a $204 million deficit for the coming fiscal year.

Just last month, the department submitted a budget request totaling $2.252 billion for fiscal 1992. But the department will once again be forced to look at cuts in its headquarters budget and in non-mandated aid programs.

In other discussions, the state school board received a recommendation that it dramatically revise the requirements for teachers to be recertified in the state of Maryland.

The proposal, outlined by A. Skipp Sanders, assistant state superintendent for certification and accreditation, would link recertification directly to performance evaluations, a department spokesman said.

Teachers now gain recertification simply by completing a certain number of course credits. A teacher without a master's degree must be recertified every five years, and a teacher with a master's degree must be recertified every 10 years.

The revised system also would require more extensive continuing education by teachers.

The state board took no action on the proposal.

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