The Durham County commissioners cut more than $3 million from the Durham Public Schools' appropriation Monday night, after County Manager Mike Ruffin reached agreement with School Superintendent Carl Harris.
"We didn't have it to give," Ruffin said, but the cut will not affect "what's going on in the classroom."
To cover the reduction, the schools are using $2.7 million from uncommitted state lottery funds and giving up $400,000 earmarked for capital projects, including some maintenance, he said.
The cut represents 3 percent of the schools' 2008-'09 allocation, the same cut earlier made in funding for other non-county agencies to meet an anticipated $14.25 million revenue shortfall.
"We did feel like it was important the school system provide a reduction of 3 percent, the same as we've asked other outside agencies," Ruffin said.
Ruffin also said he expects the shortfall to worsen. Earlier in the day, Wake County announced its expected shortfall has risen from $17 million to $23 million.
Commissioner Ellen Reckhow offered hope that some of the capital-outlay money might be replaced from an expected federal economic-stimulus program.
The Durham Public Schools' board still must approve the particular financial actions.
In contrast with the commissioners' Jan. 12 meeting, when about 60 citizens appeared to oppose cuts to the schools, Monday's meeting was sparsely attended and no one other than Ruffin and the commissioners discussed the cut.
Ruffin's other cuts in non-county appropriations were approved at that meeting.