Saying he was perplexed by the Carter administration's wage guidelines, Fairfax County School Superintendent S. John Davis yesterday proposed a $267.8 million school budget for 1980 that deliberately excludes a cost-of-living pay increase for the county's 14,000 school workers.
Predictably both the county Board of Supervisors, which must approve the budget, and teacher groups, whose members are directly affected by it, were upset by the proposal. Fairfax Board Chairman John F. Herrity called the budget "misleading."
Davis' proposed spending program was defended last night by School Board Chairman Rodney F. Page, who called it "a conservative budget" and denied that it is misleading.
Davis himself had no sooner released the figures than he promised to recommend a pay increase, but not until he can get a better understanding of the presidential wage guidelines and talk with employe groups. The voluntary guidelines suggest that employers limit pay increases to 7 percent a year, but allow for some variances.
"I don't really understand what the president's guidelines are," Davis said in an interview. Last night he went before the county school board to explain his budget that, in its current form, would call for a 2.6 percent increase in school spending next year.
But Herity and others were fuming over his porposal. Herrity, one of the Board of Supervisors' more conservative members, said the Davis proposal understates the school budget. "It is significantly more," he said.
Supervisor Audrey Moore (D-Annandale), who attended Davis' news conference, predicted that the board will certainly aise salaries this year.
Robert Hicks, president of the 6,500-members Fairfax Education Association, a teacher group, was blunt. "We are not happy with the situation at all," he said.
The county's own civil service commission had urged that Fairfax school employes be granted a 5.9 percent increase, an action that would add $12 million to the school budget.
However, the commission is reconsidering its recommendation because of the presidential wage guidelines. School Board Chairman Page said Davis was unable to include raises in the proposed budget because he is awaitng results from two wage compensation studies commissioned by the board and the supervisors in addition to the civil service commission recommendation.
"I have always placed an emphasis on compensating employes," and Davis yesterday. "I will continue to do so."
His proposed $267.8 million budget is $6.8 million higher than the current budget and calls for te county to contribute $169.6 million, to the schools next year, an increase of $8 million or 5 percent over the current year. Expected decreases in state and federal funds account for the larger percentage of local funds, Davis said.
Schools are the largest single item in the Fairfax County budget, accounting for more than half the county's spending.
Under the proposed budget, there would be a decrease of 104 school positions from the current year. The positions would be lost through attrition, Davis said. The budget is based on a projected enrollment of 126,453 students, which is 2,928 students less than the current enrollment, Davis said.