After an hour and 45 minutes of talking tonight, Durham county commissioners decided not to decide on a $3 million cut in Durham Public Schools' appropriation.
Instead, they asked Durham Public Schools Superintendent Carl Harris and County Manager Mike Ruffin to talk.
“I would suggest there is some middle ground,” said commissioner Ellen Reckhow, who suggested putting off the vote.
A $3 million cut would represent 3 percent of the county’s 2008-’09 appropriation. Monday night, Harris asked the county to reduce the cut to $1 million.
Durham Public Schools has already lost $1.3 million to state budget cuts, and expects to take another $1-million hit in February, school board member Steve Martin said.
Ruffin had recommended the $3 million figure in a package of cuts, to make up a projected $14.25 million revenue shortfall. Ruffin said Monday night that revenue figures received since he announced his package last week indicate the shortfall may get worse.
The $3 million cut would represent 3 percent of the county's appropriation for the schools. That is the same reduction percentage suggested for other non-county agencies, including Urban Ministries of Durham, the Museum of Life and Science and the Animal Protection Society.
Besides Harris, several schools officials and citizens spoke against the cut; about 60 citizens in the audience stood to express their opposition.
There was no indication when Harris and Ruffin might meet.