The Fairfax County School Board, urged by community groups not to set spending levels in advance of writing a budget for the next fiscal year, released a proposed resolution last night that was greatly watered down from a similar measure approved by the Board of Supervisors last month.
The supervisors' resolution urged that the increase in next year's school budget be limited by three factors: increases in inflation, school enrollment and county population. That resolution included specific figures for the increases in each of those categories. The supervisors then passed on the resolution to the School Board for approval, as had been done for the last three years.
The budget is drawn up by the superintendent with School Board approval and passed on to the Board of Supervisors for final approval.
A wide variety of opponents, ranging from the 50,000-member county Council of PTAs to the two teacher associations, have asked the School Board to defy the supervisors who appointed them and throw out the resolution. Opponents argued the schools should get the money they need, not an amount fixed in advance.
Last night the School Board released the text of what School Board Chairman Mary E. Collier called "our counteroffer" -- a resolution that eliminates the specific numbers that the supervisors cited for inflation and population increases. The proposed School Board resolution also frees the school superintendent to propose salary increases that are not tied to what other county employes will receive, Collier said.
But under the resolution, school officials would still consider the inflation rate and population increases when setting the budget.
The School Board is scheduled to vote on that revised resolution Nov. 21. It was drafted by Collier and by School Board member Anthony Cardinale, who heads the board's budget committee.
Nine witnesses testified before the board on the proposed budget resolution last night, and all of them opposed it.
In other action, the board approved the appointment of John P. Hess to be the school system's third deputy superintendent, in charge of finance and support services.