The Howard County Board of Education slashed expected pay raises for top-level school administrators and resurrected summer school, which had been eliminated last year, as part of its $134.3 million budget adopted yesterday.
The board voted yesterday to increase by $611,860 the operating budget proposed in December by Superintendent Michael E. Hickey. Most of the extra money was earmarked for hiring two part-time guidance counselors and 10 middle school teachers for gifted and talented students, and $206,000 was slated for new textbooks and materials.
The school board budget now goes to the county executive and then to the County Council for approval. The board's proposal is 14.7 percent higher than the $117.1 million budget approved by the council last year.
Board Chairwoman Anne L. Dodd called the budget proposal "prudent" and said this was the first time in four years that the board has approved significant increases in the superintendent's proposed budget.
But Dodd said parents have high expectations of a county school system that is struggling to keep pace with a projected 24 percent increase in enrollment in the next five years.
Summer school classes will return this year for all grade levels, even if other programs must be cut to pay for the popular program, the board said yesterday. The board canceled summer school last year for lack of funds.
School officials have proposed spending $131,500 for a revamped summer school program offering review and remedial classes, along with some skill development courses, such as typing and computer keyboarding.
The board yesterday slashed pay raises to 5.5 percent next year for assistant school superintendents and program directors, who are paid $67,000 to $81,000 a year. Hickey had recommended up to 10.5 percent salary increases for top-level school administrators.
County government officials criticized the board last year for granting 8 percent pay raises to about 85 top-level school administrators.
Last year, the school board and the county teachers union negotiated a contract guaranteeing an increase of 8 percent each year for three years for teachers and principals.
In other action yesterday, the board adopted a $21.4 million capital improvements budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1. The board wants the county to authorize $15.6 million in bonds to pay for improvements and new school buildings.