Howard County School Superintendent Michael E. Hickey proposed yesterday what he called a budget that reflected "the new realities" -- a $201.5 million package that calls only for a longer high school day and enough new employees to keep pace with rising enrollment.
Dr. Hickey's budget for next year would raise spending by $20.9 million, roughly 12 percent. It must be adopted by the Board of Education and reviewed by the county executive before it is sent to the County Council for approval.
The spending plan calls for hiring 50 new teachers and 24 other people involved in instruction. Fourteen teachers would be sent to high schools so that students could take a seventh period each day, while the rest are needed to keep pace with a projected growth of 1,085 students, Dr. Hickey said.
He also wants to hire 64 other employees, among them a buyer and specialist in construction for the central office. Two new schools will open in the coming year, Pointer's Run Elementary School in Clarksville and Mayfield Woods Middle School in Waterloo.
The superintendent noted that his plan to expand the high school day was a considerably scaled down version of the one recommended by the PTA Council of Howard County. That plan called for hiring 50 teachers just for high schools.
Dr. Hickey proposed adding two teachers to each of seven high schools. Wilde Lake High School already has enough staff and would not get any new teachers, he said.
The superintendent acknowledged that his estimate of the number of new students might be high, given the current slowdown in home-building. But he said he wanted enough money in his budget to avert a potential shortfall.
County Executive Charles I. Ecker could not be reached yesterday for comment, but he said during the campaign that he would look closely at the expenses of the school system's central office if he made cuts.
The superintendent will make a detailed presentation of his budget proposal at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 3 in the board room at school headquarters on Route 108 near Columbia. A public hearing will be held there Jan. 22.