Difficult economic times have arrived for Fairfax and Montgomery County school systems, the Washington area's largest, which yesterday released their operating budget requests for next year.
In Fairfax County, Superintendent Robert R. Spillane recommended a $903.7 million budget that would boost expenditures by 3.2 percent, the smallest increase in a quarter century.
Spillane's proposal provides no cost-of-living raise for teachers, would eliminate the jobs of 60 central office administrators and contains no inflation adjustments for other expenses.
But Spillane may draw the greatest criticism for what his proposal does include: $3.6 million to fund a full school day on Mondays, a change rejected by the county's School Board less than two months ago.
Montgomery County School Superintendent Harry Pitt recommended a $782.2 million budget plan that would increase spending by 11 percent in order to accommodate 6.5 percent raises for teachers and the biggest enrollment increase in more than two decades.
The plan would also devote $4 million, the smallest sum in several years, to new initiatives, emphasizing more help for the system's youngest students and for those students in danger of dropping out.
Despite Pitt's warning that "this is a tough budget to cut," the plan received a cool reception from County Executive Neal Potter.
The new county executive predicted that the county will be unable to afford any school improvements and may need to pare the school chief's requests.Details on Page C1