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Carroll school officials met with the new Board of Commissioners Friday to discuss the budget, contract negotiations and Carroll's Maryland School Performance Program.

"We want to to be a part of helping with the problem," Superintendent R.

Edward Shilling said of the county's current budget constraints.

Steven D. Powell, county director of management and budget, said proposed state cuts could a mean a revenue shortfall of about $750,000 to $1.2 million for Carroll.

Powell told the Board of Education he is recommending the county extend its hiring freeze.

Shilling said school officials are "looking at everything" to see where cuts can be made and which staff hirings and capital projects can be delayed.

"We will come back to the board with what we can save," he said. "We do expect to be part of the solution."

But school officials underscored the need for more dollars in the future while reviewing Carroll's results in the Maryland School Performance Program.

Although Carroll placed second in the state in overall academic scores, Shilling said that he didn't think the results would be the same three years from now. More money, he said, is needed to boost the teacher-student ratio and for staff development.

Howard County, he noted, has 120 teachers dealing strictly with gifted and talented students.

"There are many other areas where we believe we're going to see greater gaps, and that concerns us," Shilling said.

Educators gave new Commissioner President Donald I. Dell and Commissioner Elmer C. Lippy Jr. an overview of contract talks and said the board hoped to have negotiations completed before the annual school budget is submitted in March.

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