The Fairfax County School Board voted yesterday to ask the county for a 14.4 percent increase in next year's school budget, a request that some school and county officials say is too large.
The board chipped only $2.3 million from school superintendent Linton Deck's proposed $432.9 million budget before sending it to the Board of Supervisors.
"The superintendent's budget is very overblown," said supervisor chairman John F. Herrity. "I doubt we will give it to them."
The approved budget requests a $36.6 million increase in the county's share of the school budget, most of which would go to employe pay and benefit increases and expansion of some instructional programs. The county provides about two-thirds of the total budget for the schools.
"Frankly, I don't think this budget comes anywhere close to what this school system needs," said school board member Anthony T. Lane. Other board members, however, supported more cuts.
"I didn't feel we were being responsible," said school board member Toni M. Carney who stormed out of the meeting room in exasperation after more than five hours of arduous debate that finally ended at 1:47 a.m. yesterday. "Even in Fairfax County, the land of the golden goose, we can't afford this kind of money now."
As the meeting approached 2 a.m., board members slashed $200,000 from the county's requested $36 million contribution to special education and another $200,000 from the fund for major school repairs.
The remaining $1.9 million was snipped from 19 different programs scattered throughout the budget, including elimination of the superintendent's proposals to expand computer literacy progams in elementary schools, hire 46 full-time substitutes for high schools and provide a $15,000 recruitment incentive for hiring new teachers.