"We are making progress."

That was the assessment of Fairfax County Schools' affirmative action program director, Alta Newman, in her annual report on the program to the school board last week.

The affirmative action program, begun in 1978, is expected to reach its goals by the 1982-83 school year. Minimum objectives are to increase the percentage of minority teachers throughout the county, of women in administrative positions and of male teachers in elementary schools.

At present, 7.2 percent of teachers represent minorities, with the goal being 11 percent; 29 percent of administrators are women, with the goal being 45 percent; and 10 percent of elementary teachers are men, with the goal being 12 percent.

Newman estimated that increasing the number of male teachers in elementary schools will present the biggest obstacle to attaining the goals set by the school board, " . . . to achieve this goal will require considerable effort," she reported.

Calling for an increase in the funds allocated for recruitment of new employes, Newman said that active recruitment is most productive in finding qualified minority applicants.

Newman also alluded to a need for a change in administrative attitudes toward women where she said: "I am suggesting there are male managers who don't perceive women as being qualified for certain positions."

In other matters at last week's school board meeting -- which was L. Linton Deck's first as school superintendent -- the midyear budget review was made public and the school board reaffirmed a 1.85 percent salary increase for all school employes. The pay raise was approved earlier this month by the board of supervisors and takes effect April 1.

As energy costs steadily escalate, school administrators continue to revise their estimate of the potential budget deficit in the current year. That figure now stands at $4.5 million, nearly double the amount made public less than two months ago.

Emergency measures being enacted by school administrators to save money are forcing a two-month delay in filling all vacant positions, except teaching staff, and cutting back on equipment purchases.

More drastic solutions being explored by school officials include the rearrangement of custodial hours and a possible cutback on the use of school buildings apart from regular school hours.

Deck stopped short of urging a protest against a probable bill in the General Assembly that would reduce the sales tax on food and nonprescription drugs, but he submitted a memo to school board members presenting approximate losses if the bill is passed.

According to Decks' figures, the gradual reduction of the tax would deprive county schools of approximately $6.5 million, or 26 percent of the proposed school budget for fiscal year 1981.