Losses from vandalism and theft in Fairfax County schools declined by 17 percent in the last school year to $361,000, the lowest total in six years, according to a report received by the School Board at its meeting Thursday night.

The largest declines were in costs for night vandalism, which dropped 24 percent, auto vandalism, which fell 50 percent, and night break-ins, which dropped by 83 percent.

Daylight vandalism, however, increased slightly and equipment losses fell by only 3 percent, an indication, according to the report, that a significant portion of the nearly $70,000 in equipment losses last year occurred during the day, when school electronic security systems are not operating.

School officials attribute the overall decline to increased nighttime security and the efforts of community residents.

Just six of the county's 23 high schools experienced nearly half of the high school losses, each of those reporting more than $11,000 in vandalism and theft.

Langley, McLean and Mount Vernon high schools were singled out as having particularly high equipment losses, Langley reporting the greatest at $10,421.

In other action, the board unanimously authorized 50 new staff positions at a cost of $1 million. Superintendent William Burkholder said the additional positions are necessary to cope with an enrollment of 934 more students than expected. Much of the growth occurred at the elementary level.

The board will not have to figure out exactly where the $1 million will come from until the school system's midyear budget review.