always popular with Virginia legislators -- have won a critical battle in their fight over Gov. Charles S. Robb's proposed cuts in education.

In reports issued this week, two House Appropriations subcommittees recommended that almost half of Robb's educations cuts be restored next year: $22.8 million in aid to public schools and $10.3 million in higher education.

The reports, which typically carry the approval of the committee's leadership, suggest that the legislature expects to find more money before the budget goes to the House and Senate for debate next week. There are no major tax increases pending before the assembly.

The recommendations in higher education would reduce the proposed 6 percent cuts at the colleges and universities to 4.8 percent, with $7.8 million to be given back to the institutions. Meanwhile, the subcommittee also recommended that colleges be allowed to raise up to $7.3 million in tuitions and other fees Robb had wanted to freeze next year.

In public education, the subcommittee proposed full funding for a proposed 10 percent increase in salaries for classroom teachers. That increase, a Robb priority last year, was rolled back to 6.3 percent as part of the governor's government-wide cuts in spending.

Robb is scheduled to appear before the legislature's money committees Friday with an update on the state's revenue estimates. In his last appearance, Robb announced a pending deficit of $175 million. As the budget cycle nears its end, lawmakers now hope the new estimates will give them more latitude to fund teachers' salaries, college programs and all the other items politicans like to prosper in an election year.