County school board members have agreed to cut $3 million from this year's operating budget to help make up an anticipated county deficitof $9.5 million.
The board met privately Friday morning with County Executive Charles I. Ecker to discuss the county's financial problems. The issues include a $4.1 million cut in state aid imposed by the General Assembly several weeks ago, lower than expected income fromthe county's share of state income taxes and being forced to borrow $3 million from the current budget to cover a shortfall in last year's operating budget.
Ecker called the session "a good meeting." The board promised to work with him in meeting the budget crisis, he said, and he promised not to get involved in how the school budget is cut.
The board scheduled a meeting at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in the board meeting room at the Department of Education to tackle the budget cuts.
The $3 million that the board will have to take out of its $180.7 million operating budget comes just a few weeks after the General Assembly capped thestate's contribution to teachers' retirement and Social Security funds. Picking up those contributions is expected to cost the local school system $970,000.
State budget reductions approved by the General Assembly Oct. 11 gave county executives the power to cut non-classroom education expenditures, but Ecker said he is not interested in exercising it.
Superintendent Michael E. Hickey will delay his 1992-1993 operating budget request by one month in hope of getting a better handle on state and local financial prospects for the fiscal year that begins July 1.
The superintendent's budget, traditionally madepublic the third week of December, just before winter break, will beintroduced the third week of January.