The Arlington County school board last week reviewed its proposed 1977-78 budget of $45.3 million with an eye toward trimming it if necessary.
The review was made in respose to a request from the Arlington County Board, which had indicated it may want to make cuts in the school budget before approving it.
The County Board asked the school board to suggest what its budget would took like with cuts of $500,000 and $1 million. The hypothetical cuts showed that the schools would lose much of what the proposed budget is expected to restore in programs, staff and services that had been reduced or eliminated in previous lean years.
"We worked so hard for stronger readings and writing improvement programs and for modest program initiatives," said board member Ann Broder. "I would hate to see those cuts made. The schools can't just stand still."
The school board only reviewed cuts of $500,000 and $750,000. School Supt. larry Cuban said the board did not consider cuts $1 million, partly because the financial outlook has improved for both the country and the schools since the county made its request.
County schools probably will receive more than previously expected in state aid next year, and that increase should reduce the county's funding of the school budget from $35.6 million to $35.2 million, said school budget officer Joe Guter.
Even considering the additional aid, if $500,00 were cut, several programs, staff and services now budgeted for next year would have to go, according to school administration calculations.
Staff cuts would include positions for five elementary level counselors that had been eliminated two years ago, three for remedial education teachers, one for a teacher of English instruction for foreigners, along with join for 13 teacher aides and a library clerk.
The $500,000 cut also would reduce by $100,000 some $850,000 earmarked for staff salary increases, schools by 10 per cent, reduce new supplies by 11 per cent and new equipment by 5 per cent.
If $750,000 were cut, expansions to the reading and writing and math-improvement programs and proficiency math testing programs totaling $70,000 would be eliminated.
In addition, projected salary increases would be reduced another $100,000, new textbooks would be reduced another 10 per cent, five more library aide positions would be cut and an in-service training program would be eliminated, the school figures show.
"I think we should look for cuts in other areas besides direct educational services," said board member Mary Magaret Whipple. "It seems to me we are letting the instructional areas take the brunt of the reductions."
The board requested that staff try to apply the reductions to other areas including summer school transportation, maintenance and clerical services.
The county and school boards will discuss the budget in uncoming work sessions before May 14, when the County Board adopts its own budget which will include the allocation to the schools dates have been set for the session.
Still to be resolved is a $1 million extra payday that falls within the 1977-78 school year. Also to be discussed is $225,426 the schools plan to borrow from a contingency fund of $800,000 the County Board has set aside.
In other matters last week, the school board approved an interim policy for Arlington teachers and teacher aides that would maintain the hours, wages and conditions previously agreed on by school administration and those employees.The policy will be effective through June 30, when a new employee-employer management policy will take over.
The board postponed adopting the new policy until late April, so that it can be reviewed by the Arlington Education Association members and other employees.
The new policy grew out of recent Virginia Supreme Court decision that prohibited collective bargaining between public employees and their employers.
The board also agreed to apply to the state for a waiver to conduct employee grievance procedures along local guidelines rather than state guidelines. The waiver is expected to come before the state board of education later this month.