ANNAPOLIS, JAN. 10 -- Maryland Gov. William Donald Schaefer is planning to push for a $25 million package of school improvements, including mandatory kindergarten and an accountability program that will apply performance standards to all state schools.

The changes are among recommendations by state Superintendent Joseph L. Shilling, which include lengthening the school year and raising the required attendance age from 16 to 18.

Neither of those recommendations will be included in the legislative proposals Schaefer will send to the General Assembly next week. But Shilling said the other proposals that will be offered are the "fundamental core" of his plans to raise school performance.

Schaefer legislative aide David S. Iannucci said legislation for mandatory kindergarten and the accountability program will be sent to lawmakers next week as part of the legislative program Schaefer will outline in his State of the State address next Friday.

He said funding for the programs, a ticklish issue when the upcoming year's budget is projected to be in the red, is still being debated.

The statewide impact of mandatory kindergarten will be slight: an estimated 95 percent of 5-year-olds are already enrolled.

But Shilling said the effect will be great in poor areas such as Baltimore and the Eastern Shore, where kindergarten enrollment is lowest. Mandatory kindergarten will cost the state about $6 million and impose a similar burden on localities.

"The impact would not be huge in terms of numbers, but it would be tremendous because we know that the 5 percent who don't {attend kindergarten} are really disadvantaged," Shilling said. Shilling said he also wants to establish pre-kindergarten programs in 111 schools, at a cost of around $6.6 million.

As part of his performance proposal, Shilling asked to institute new statewide tests in reading, writing, math, science and social studies to gauge the performance of third-, fifth-, eighth- and 11th-graders. The test results, along with other criteria such as attendance and dropout rates, will be used to rate every school in the state.

Under the plan Schaefer is expected to introduce, up to $9 million will be set aside for grants to schools that fail to meet the performance standards. Part of the money would be used to reward schools that surpass the benchmarks.

Shilling said the intent is to let the grants continue for three years so that faculty members and administrators have a chance to bring their schools up to par. By the end of that time, he said, the state will try to develop a way to intervene in schools that don't make the grade.