County schools superintendent Michael E. Hickey says he will consider freezing non-teaching positions in response to further state budgetcuts that could cost the county school system nearly $1 million.
"If a classroom teacher left, they would be replaced," Hickey said. "We'll look at vacant, individual non-classroom positions and make a determination if they have to be filled or not."
Apart from these "obvious" options, Hickey says it will be two weeks before school officials determine specifically what to eliminate in the school budget.
He says his biggest concern is the General Assembly's proposal to cap the state's contribution toward teachers' retirement and social security funds. This plan would particularly hurt counties like Howard and Montgomery, where teachers receive higher salaries than other state school systems.
Hickey said the state might select an average teacher salary and make retirement and social security contributions based on that figure.
"That level is going to be well below what we're already paying employees for this year," he said. "Locally, we're going to have to pay the costs ourselves. They have to be paid."
Hickey also expects the upcoming county budgetnegotiations with the school board to be difficult.
"The county is going to be making cuts and it's going to be a difficult budget battle with them next year," Hickey said. "We're going to get it on bothends."
Under the plan approved Friday by the General Assembly, Baltimore and the counties would lose $68 million in state aid to offset a $450 million budget deficit.
The proposed cuts follow $115 million in reductions in local aid approved by the state Board of PublicWorks last week.
The first round of cuts slashed $45,000 in statemoney from the local school budget.