The Fairfax County School Board has approved by a 7-3 vote a $289.3 million budget for the next school year.
The total is $2.6 million above the printed budget released by Supt. S. John Davis and 7.1 per cent higher than last year's budget. Board members voting aginst approval were John J. Caussin of the Springfield District, Nancy K. Falck of the Draneaville District and Robert E. Smith of the Annandale District. All three had tried without success to make cuts in the budget during two hours of debate.
Caussin particularly opposed the proposed $47 fee for elementary string orchestra and bank. "I thought that by cutting other things, such as caferia aides, there would be enough money to offset the cost of putting it back," he explained.
Another of Caussin's objections was the increase of 58 employee positions over Davis' proposed budget. "I would rather additions were made in program improvement other than personnel," he said.
The approved operating budget of $240,8 million, the largest of the five school budget sections, increased by $1.1 million over the printed budget. That represented an addition of three programs by the boards as well as adjustments, corrections of minor errors and inclusion of special resource programs that had been ommitted from the oublished budget.
Added to the budget are two positions for area level volunteer coordinators, two positions in adult services and a restoration of 20 compensatory education teachers were not to be confined to kindergarden but would be assigned by area superintendents to kindergarden through third grade, where the need was greatest.
The board also voted to increase the fee out-of-county students participating in the adults education program by 30 per cent and voted to require senior citizens to pay half the regular fee to adults education. The voted not to increase the school lunch costs to students but will increase the costs of lunch for adults.
The board voted down Caussin's motion to remove the fee for students in the music program.Although the fee was approved. it still needs the approval of the state legislature before it can be implemented. The proposal has been passed by the Virginia House but has yet to be considered by the Virginia Senate.
Also defeated was a motion that the board reduce payments for employee Blue Cross-Blue Shield health insurance to 50 per cent of the monthly premium. Although the motion lost, several board members indicated that if further cuts were necessary, health insurance was a likely target. A 50-50 payment would reduce the budget by $2.4 million.
According to Myron Cale, assistant superintendent for financial services in Fairfax schools, $1.3 million of the total increase is an auditor's technicality. He said that the auditors required that USDA commodities for the school lunch program be listed in the budget as expenditures as used.
Another $200,000 of the total increase was added to the construction fund budget to cover a contingent liability in the building program.
The board will confirm the vote again during its regular business meeting at 8 p.m. tonight at 10700 Page Avenue. From there, the budget will be sent to the County Board of Supervisors for inclusion in the totalcountry budget for the coming fiscal year.