Fairfax County's largest teachers union said it will begin airing radio commercials next week to try to persuade county residents to lobby for more school money.

The ads, scheduled to run from Monday through Feb. 19, would be the first time the 6,900-member Fairfax Education Association has used the airwaves in support of more school spending.

The commercials are scheduled to run between 6:30 and 8:30 a.m. and from 2 to 4 p.m. on WMAL, WLTT, and WCPT. Union President Maureen Daniels said she could not recall exactly what the ads will cost. The FEA is authorized to spend no more than $8,000 on the campaign, she said.

"We don't know what kind of impact this will have," Daniels said. "Our primary goal is to heighten the public's awareness."

Superintendent Robert R. Spillane last month proposed the smallest spending increase in a quarter century for the school system's operating budget next year. His $903.7 million budget, to be voted on by the School Board Feb. 19, calls for a 3.2 percent spending increase with tightened expenditures nearly across the board. Cost-of-living increases for teachers would be eliminated. Teachers would receive increases based on seniority.

The operating budget pays for the everyday costs of running the schools, whose 130,000 students and 188 schools make it the largest district in the Washington area and the 10th largest in the nation. After the school board acts, the budget will go to the Board of Supervisors for approval.

Fairfax's tight school budget is a result partly of cuts in state aid proposed by Gov. L. Douglas Wilder as part of his plan to make up for a $2.2 billion revenue shortfall this fiscal year and next. Wilder proposes cutting state aid to Fairfax Schools by 12 percent next year.

The union ad begins by touting Fairfax schools' national reputation, then focuses on voices talking about parent and teacher concerns. The voices are those of Daniels and three FEA staff people, Daniels said.

Children should have "the most qualified, competent teachers," and no further increases in class size or reductions in supplies and planning time for teachers, the ads say.

A voice says, "We can't put our students' academic needs on hold while we get our fiscal house in order."

The union is lobbying the state legislature for authority to impose a local option half-cent increase in the sales tax to go toward education, Daniel said. The tax proposal is not mentioned in the commercial.

"We're limited to one minute and we couldn't get everything in there that we wanted to," Daniel said.

The ad ends by urging listeners to call School Board members.

Previously, the association has run ads in local newspapers, but Daniels said "the feeling was that doing a radio commercial would catch {the public's} attention".

"They do a lot of things. They send notes out, urgent alerts to teachers to do this and to do that, but that's aside from the fact that there isn't any money," said School Board member Anthony Cardinale (Springfield). "I think we have a budget that will not detract at all from the educational program."