Penny-pinching county officials last week appeared delighted to learn of the school district's relatively unknown practice of shuffling used desks and chairs among classrooms.
"Someone else's junk is someone else's treasure," Robert A. "Max" Bair, the county commissioners' executive assistant, observed after listening to educators' plans to fill two renovated and expanded elementaries with a mix of used andnew furniture and equipment next year.
"We've always taken surplus furniture and made it available to principals throughout the school system," said Vernon F. Smith Jr., director of school support facilities. "This is not a new approach."
Commissioner Elmer C. Lippy wanted to know whether schools statewide offered surplus furniture and equipment to other districts. Educators, though not aware of any such effort, said they would look into the matter.
By using some surplus items at the renovated Winfield and Sandymount elementary schools, the district will save about $160,000 next year.
The school board is expected to receive bids for new desks and chairs and computers, audio visual, physical education and music equipment -- $289,172 at Sandymount and $396,361 at Winfield -- at its meeting Wednesday.
School officials sought the commissioners' assurance that money would be budgeted for the furniture and equipment in the capital budget for fiscal 1993, which begins July 1. Bids awarded in February will be ready for delivery in July or August.
The first phase of the $6.8 million renovation and addition of Winfield Elementary School is expected to be completed in July. School officials said the $4.8 million renovation and addition at Sandymount will be completed in late fall.
Smith said none of the schools will receive junk. Both schools will receive "good, usable furniture," he said.
Only the new Friendship Valley Elementary School, slated to open in Westminster in September, will receive all new furniture and equipment.
"Philosophically, what we like to do when we open a new building is not put old furniture in it," Smith said.
Because of the budget crunch, principals were asked to reduce furniture and equipment requests next fiscal year. School staff has marked furniture andequipment in each building that can be used at the renovated schools.
"Anything we can salvage out of other schools, we use," said board President Cheryl A. McFalls.
Some surplus furniture and equipment is stored at the old Hampstead Elementary School. Smith said the only real usable
furniture officials found there were student desks.
"A lot of it there is borderline junk," he said.
George Arnold, supervisor of purchasing, said unusable furniture and equipment isdisposed of through Snyder's Auction in Hampstead.
"We get more out of it this way," he said. "We move it out all through the school year."
In other matters, the board Thursday told the commissioners of recent cuts to the district's 1992 budget. They included:
* $1.25 million in administrative services and the capital budget, which resulted in delaying some maintenance work.
* $700,000 in salaries as the result of a two-day furlough for about 2,000 school employees on Jan. 24 and June 18, the last day of school.