Few school-budgets changes likely

EDUCATION NOTEBOOK

May 25, 2008|By JOHN-JOHN WILLIAMS IV

The revisions are expected to be scant when the Howard County school board gathers to approve the 2009 operating and capital budgets Tuesday in its boardroom in Ellicott City.

Few changes to either spending plan are expected. The operating budget submitted by Superintendent Sydney L. Cousin was $661 million. This month, Cousin had to adjust the plan after learning that County Executive Ken Ulman ordered that $4 million be cut.

Cousin's cuts included: $1.3 million from maintenance projects; $560,000 for 10 new technology teachers at the middle school level; $500,000 for new furniture in some schools; $300,000 for new textbooks; $133,000 for a new Web television employee and equipment; $73,00 for a public information specialist; and $48,000 for two student assistants.

In a work session with Cousin, board members didn't raise major objections to proposed cuts.

"I don't expect them to move funds around or anything like that," Cousin said. "I would think that Tuesday would simply be a reflection on what the County Council does."

Raymond Brown, the system's chief operating officer, said he didn't expect any reductions to the $118 million capital budget.

Highly rated schools

Eight of the 12 high schools in Howard County were ranked among the nation's top 1,300 in Newsweek magazine's annual listing.

The rankings are determined by taking the total number of Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate tests given at a school in May, and dividing by the number of seniors graduating in May or June. There are 27,000 schools nationwide, according to the magazine.

Howard schools spokeswoman Patti Caplan cautioned against too much excitement.

"There's more to determining an excellent school than that formula," she said.

Still, the rankings are gratifying, Caplan said.

"We are very pleased and we know that we have outstanding schools," she said. "We are pleased when they are recognized on a national level."

The county schools that made the list were:

*Centennial High topped county schools with a ranking of 265. Last year, the Ellicott City school ranked 151.

*River Hill improved to 290 from last year's 344.

*Mount Hebron made the list for the fourth-straight year, ranked 732, up from 987 last year. *Glenelg is on the list for the third straight year, ranked 926. Last year, the school was 1,026.

*Atholton ranked 992 on the list this year, up from 1,268 last year.

*Howard High returned to the list after a year's absence with a 1,027 ranking. In 2006, the Ellicott City school was 1,193.

*Wilde Lake also returned to the list this year with a ranking of 1,115. In 2006, the Columbia school debuted with a ranking of 1,219.

*Reservoir High in Fulton made the list for the first time this year with a ranking of 1,219.

Seventy-seven schools from Maryland made the list.

Richard Montgomery High in Rockville at No. 32 is the highest-ranking school in the state.

Broadneck High in Annapolis ranked 211, and Towson High is 240.

Centennial was the next-highest ranked Maryland school.

john-john.williams@baltsun.com

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