Arlington School Superintendent Larry Cuban this week proposed a $48 million budget for the 1978-79 school year that calls for higher salaries for employees and increased programs for bilingual and handicapped studenst.

Cuban said the budget, which is 5.8 percent higher than the current budget of $45.4 million, is "responsive and responsible." He said it provides for continuation of existing programs, initiation of some new programs and reflects a decrease in the number of employees and the number of buildings used in response to a shrinking student enrollment.

The decrease in employees will occur by attrition, Cuban said.

More than 14 percent of the schools' budget will be paid by state and federal funds. Arlington taxpayers would have to pay 79.5 percent or $38.1 million - an increase of 8 percent over last year. The remainder would be financed by revenue from sales tax and other sources.

Under the proposed budget, school employees will receive a 7 percent pay increase, which is the cost-of-living increase that the employees had requested. Cuban said the increase is an improvement over the 2 percent increase the employees got in last year's budget.

Salary and salary-related items account for 82 percent, or $39.7 million, of the budget.

The budget also calls for improving services for handicapped children by providing two new special education teachers and a special education aide. These new positions will be filled by transferring school employees.

A Korean bilingual teacher will be hired to coordinate a program for Korean students similar to the schools' program for Spanish-speaking pupils. There are now 452 elementary and secondary Korean students in Arlington schools.

A total of more than 3,400 students who speak English as a second language attend Arlington schools.

Cuban noted that the county's share of the budget - $38.1 million - was higher than the $36.2 million budget guideline that had been provided by the county board.

Cuban said that the lower $36.2 million budget guideline set by the county board "would continue the unfair share of the county dollar that goes to the school." He said during the past seven years, the county contribution to the school has decreased from 45 cents per dollar in the budget to 32 cents per dollar.

Cuban plans to present the budget to the county school board today. Several work sessions will be held during February and March before the school board presents a proposed budget to the county board in April.