Money for student activity buses and employee car phones are expected to be among the first items cut from the school system's budget, asschool board members struggle to meet County Executive Robert R. Neall's request for a $5.1 million budget reduction.
Meeting in special session last night, board members, however, delayed a recommendation for teacher furloughs until union members vote on the proposal fora four-day furlough -- a move that would save $4 million.
Principals had been advised yesterday that Friday may have been the first day of furloughs, but board members said last night they will wait for final word from unions before approving a revised budget by the next scheduled school board meeting, on Nov. 6. Neall asked that a budget reduction plan be submitted to theCounty Council by Nov. 14.
If board members seek furloughs, employees would not be asked to stay home until after Dec. 2, officials said.
After 2 1/2 hours of public testimony from parents, teachers, principals and union representatives, school budget officer Jack White offered the board a list of budget items that could be cut with limited impact on classroom instruction.
Board members endorsed a plan that could save the school system $2 million, which includes:
* Suspension of the system-wide computer program, ISIS, for remainder of the year, $100,000;
* Limiting executive staff travel reimbursement, $21,000;
* Suspending all recruitment activities, $10,000;
* Eliminating teacher workshops, $40,000;
* Defering replacement school buses for a year, $75,000;
* Using activity buses for one day only at middle/junior schools, $275,000;
* Reducing maintenance for grounds, $100,000;
* Delaying three walls and partition projects, $260,000;
* Paying no overtime for janitors, except for graduations, $53,000;
* Eliminating car phones, $2,000;
* Consolidating adult education, $65,000;
* Increasing class size for summer school, $141,000;
Boardmembers also voted to restore $27,000 to the pre-kindergarten program for 4-year-olds. The county was originally asked to cut $135,000 from the program, which meant that four of the 10 sites would have beenin jeopardy of closing Nov. 1.
Staff writer Peter Jensen contributed to this article.