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Fairfax Schools Budget Plan Includes 600 Job Cuts

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By Jonathan Wilson

In Virginia, Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent Jack Dale has laid out his plan to deal with a $176 million dollar budget shortfall.

Dales budget proposal calls for eliminating 600 positions and increasing in the districts average class size, by one student.

It also calls for reductions in teacher training programs, a district wide salary freeze for the second straight year, and the elimination of winter cheer-leading, indoor track, and all freshman athletics.

Dale says he knows these cuts will be hard for staff to take.

"I think it contributes to a demoralizing effect," Dale says. "They look at the quality of work that theyre doing, and they see another round of cuts coming and it effects the psyche," says Dale.

Board members have been discussing the budget for months, and say Dale's plan was not surprising, but some say they're still prepared to fight for certain programs.

Board Chair Kathy Smith says she's partial to foreign language instruction for elementary students, a program that would go if Dales plan is adopted.

"I will definitely be fighting for that program, absolutely," says Smith. "One of things that's great about that its every kid in the school it's not just a special program for a few kids."

Not up for elimination is full-day kindergarten, which the district adopted just a few years ago.

But Dale says that could change, his proposal depends partly on funding from the county, and the state they're both dealing with their own deficits.

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