The D.C. Board of Education can live within the council-passed budget for fiscal 1984 by leaving vacant nonteaching positions empty and by reducing expenditures for equipment in a number of areas, the board's finance committee said yesterday.
During the debate over the 1984 funding level, board members had warned that large-scale teacher layoffs might be necessary if they did not receive the full $336.4 million the board had requested. The council eventually passed a budget of $326 million.
The finance committee's recommendation for meeting this budget called for no layoffs and, in fact, rejected a school administration proposal to trim planned hiring of more security and attendance aides.
"People in our community have consistently talked about the need for more security in our schools," said board member R. David Hall (Ward 2), chairman of the finance committee. "We have an obligation to provide more of it. Increasing the number of attendance aides will help cut down truancy and lower the crime rate by keeping some of these kids in school."
School administrators had recommended hiring five new security aides instead of the 10 originally planned and 25 new attendance aides instead of the 49 originally planned. They also called for eliminating 10 existing positions from the system's pre-kindergarten program. The finance committee rejected all three proposals.
Instead, the committee recommended saving more than $2.7 million by not filling nonteaching positions that are currently vacant or are expected to be vacant next year. The school personnel office said that would amount to about 296 nonteaching jobs.
Another $3.5 million should be saved by cutting funds for energy and reducing planned purchases or improvement of equipment for career development programs, safety and security operations and buildings and grounds, the committee said.
"At this time there will be no RIFS from the appropriated budget," Hall said, but he added that the board expects to lose another $2 million in federal funds in the 1984 fiscal year and said if Congress sticks with those cuts, he could not rule out the possibility that the losses would force some layoffs.
The finance committee's recommendations must be approved by the full board of education.