Howard County School Superintendent Michael E. Hickey unveiled yesterday a proposed $133.7 million operating budget for next year, recommending few new programs and targeting most of the increase for teacher pay raises.
Hickey said the budget, a $16.5 million increase over the current year, includes money to hire 73 teachers and offer a scaled-down summer school program.
However, by far the bulk of the proposed budget increase, $10.3 million, would go for an 8 percent pay raise for the system's 1,900 teachers. Last year the Board of Education and the teachers union reached a three-year contract calling for an 8 percent annual pay raise.
That collective bargaining agreement and a rising enrollment are the driving forces behind the 14.1 percent budget increase request, Hickey said.
Last year, Howard schools sought a 15.5 percent increase but ultimately got a 10.5 percent increase from the county.
Close to 1,000 new students enrolled in Howard schools this year, bringing the total to 26,700, Hickey said. School officials are projecting a similar increase next fall.
Hickey, who plans to present his budget formally at a Jan. 5 public meeting, said yesterday the school system expects to spend $5.6 million next year to accommodate growth. There are no plans to decrease class sizes.
Many of the new teachers proposed to be hired next year would be placed at Bollman Bridge Elementary School, scheduled to open next fall, he said.
The Board of Education plans to hold a public hearing Jan. 21 on the proposed budget, followed by a series of workshops. An adopted budget is scheduled to be submitted to County Executive Elizabeth Bobo by March 15.
Hickey's budget would ask the county government to provide $101.4 million of the proposed spending plan, an increase of $13.7 million over the amount approved by the county in the 1988 budget.
He is seeking a 15.6 percent increase in county funding, compared to a 10.5 percent increase approved in June. The bulk of the remaining money would come from the state.
Hickey said yesterday that the proposed budget may upset some parents who want more and better programs in their public school system. But he said the proposal reflects the philosophy of Bobo, who has indicated she expects a lean county budget next year.
Ray Wacks, county budget administrator, said Bobo had not seen the school superintendent's propos- al, adding that the county executive considers it premature to comment on the request.
Last summer the County Council approved a 22-cent property tax increase to avoid drastic budget cuts in education and other public services. The current rate is $2.49 per $100 of assessed value.
Sandra French, president of the PTA Council of Howard County, said the PTA supports higher salaries for county teachers. Hickey said Howard's pay scale is competitive with the county's two chief local rivals for teachers, neighboring Montgomery County and Fairfax County in Virginia. The starting salary for Howard teachers is $20,650 annually.
School board Chairman Anne Dodd said yesterday that she was unsure what might be changed in the superintendent's budget request, but added that there is not "a lot of fat" in the budget.
The proposed budget includes the smallest increase in four years in funding for new programs. Next year Hickey proposes to spend $511,000 on improvements, with the bulk of the money slated for the summer school program.
Also next year the school system plans to hire five middle school band teachers, an additional science aide and two physical education teachers.
Hickey said school administrators submitted $12 million in funding requests.