The Fairfax County School Board refused last night to yield to the Board of Supervisors' request to make new cuts in its $429 million budget proposal, claiming that unexpected economies plus new revenue from the state will save the county $9.1 million.
The supervisors, who fund two-thirds of the school budget, have called the request for a 10 percent increase in school spending out of line in view of declining enrollment and lessening inflation rates. They have told the school board they want cuts that reduce the entire budget, not just the county's share.
Although most school board members said they don't expect the supervisors to give them their entire request, they were sharply divided last night in their response to the request for cuts.
"Let's wait and see how much money we get from the supervisors before we consider further cuts," said board member Robert Frye.
Member Joy Korologos chastised her colleagues for "sitting on their hands" and failing to initiate further reductions. "There's waste in this budget," she said.
The school board leaned heavily on what it calculates as a $9.1 million reduction in its original request from the county, which funds the budget along with the state and federal governments.
That includes a $4.3 million windfall from the Virginia legislature, release of unexpected federal aid totaling $1.5 million and savings in utility and fuel costs. The board previously cut $2.3 million from Superintendent Linton Deck's proposed budget. The school board will take its case to the supervisors April 12.
School administrators also predicted the board may not have to raise school lunch prices by 10 cents next year as originally anticipated. Although price increases this year reduced student participation in the lunch program by about 25 percent, sales in the school system's alternative a la carte lunch program compensated for that loss with a 25 percent increase.
In another budget-related matter, the board voted to send layoff notices to 29 full-time teachers, 180 part-time school employes and one administrator. The notices are routinely sent each year based on projected enrollments.
The administration also recommended closing Pine Ridge Elementary School in Annandale and dividing its students between Camelot and Mantua elementary schools.