The City Council, faced with the alternative of a nine-day forced school holiday, last night declared a state of emergency and voted to appropriate $919,000 to cover the school system's payroll for the rest of the year.
The council also instructed the city auditor not to pay school employees whose positions are not included in the original department budget next year, a move designed to prevent the school department from returning with supplemental budget requests.
School department officials said that if the supplemental appropriation had not passed, they would have been forced to close schools nine days early and not pay teachers during that period.
Increased fuel prices, the cost of complying with court rulings to spend more on bilingual education, and tighter security following the January stabbing of a high school senior all increased costs above the level budgeted, School Superintendent William Lannon told the council.
The additional money will tide the schools over for the rest of this year, Lannon said, but he added severe budget cuts are likely next year.
Councilor David Wylie urged Lannon to make any budget cuts in non-academic areas.
Councilor Saundra Graham said Cambridge spent more per pupil than many area private schools, and added, "This has to end or the taxpayers will get so angry they will end all educational programs."
In other action, the council approved the creation of an Energy Mobilization Board, designed to coordinate the city's attempts at energy conservation.
Proponents of the commission, who won approval of the concept by a 4-1 margin in a referendum ballot last November, told the council that without the board private groups might duplicate efforts.
"We have a national energy crisis, and we can't wait for the people in Washington to do something about it," Clifford Truesdell, who drew up the legislation, said last night.
The commission, which will include business, labor, tenant and landlord representatives, has a year to formulate recommendations for the city council.
A bill to force landlords to weatherize their apartments has already been forwarded to the board by the city council.
"A number of steps have already been taken to increase energy efficiency. It is important that Cambridge residents be made aware of other opportunities to save fuel, and that is what this commission should do," Mayor Francis H. Duehay '55 said.
The council also gave preliminary approval to a bill that would require Health Department inspection of vacant apartment units before they could be leased to new tenants.
The bill, which has the support of both the Cambridge Property Owners Association and the Cambridge Tenants Organization, would make sure that tenants were not rented substandard apartments and that tenants did not damage apartments. its backers said.