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Baltimore County school board expected to renew Hairston pact


The Baltimore County school board is expected to renew Superintendent Joe A. Hairston's contract tonight and give him a raise.

The board also will discuss, and possibly vote on, Hairston's proposed budget for the next school year. Board members have expressed support for Hairston's inclusion of an extra $47 million in the $923 million operating budget for salary, benefits and other compensation increases for teachers and other staff members.

While he declined to give a specific dollar figure, school board President James R. Sasiadek said board members want to bring Hairston's salary in line with those of other successful superintendents in large school districts.

Hairston makes $185,400 a year, compared with Montgomery County Superintendent Jerry D. Weast's $264,890 and Prince George's County Chief Executive Officer Andre J. Hornsby's $250,000. The salaries of all other Maryland superintendents are less than $200,000, according to figures provided by the State Department of Education.

State law requires school boards to reappoint incumbent superintendents between Feb. 1 and March 1 of the year in which a contract expires. It also requires that the contract be for four years.

Teachers and other school system employees have not received a cost-of-living increase in two years. With increased health care costs, some are bringing home less money this year, leaders of the Teachers Association of Baltimore County have said.

Hairston's budget proposal, which represents a 5.4 percent increase over the current budget, does not specify how much of a raise any employee would receive. The school system and its five unions, the largest of which represents teachers, would negotiate the distribution of the $47 million.

Another highlight of Hairston's budget is the creation of a transitional school for students placed by courts and other outside agencies. The school board will likely discuss the proposed school tonight, Sasiadek said.

At a public hearing on Hairston's budget last month, speakers opposed proposed cuts to the gifted-and-talented enrichment program and pleaded for more staff for a program serving preschool-age children with disabilities.

Once the school board approves the budget, it will send the spending plan to County Executive James T. Smith Jr., who can make changes before sending it to the County Council for a final vote.

Last year, the school board put into the budget a 3 percent raise for all 17,000 school system employees, only to see it cut by Smith.

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