The extra funding followed a recommendation of the budget committee but fell about $250,000 short of the school board's request. Schools Director Wayne Honeycutt said he thought the additional funding would be adequate.
"I think we can survive," Honeycutt said.
Honeycutt said the school board will take up the budget on Thursday to discuss how to allocate the available funds. There should be enough money to give teachers a 1 percent raise, he said.
Although the building fund and the operating budget are separate, funding the operating shortfall required moving money from the school building fund. The current budget should still leave about $14 million available for starting the program.
Commissioner Don Miller argued against the funding option and presented a plan that he said would have given the schools an additional $600,000 and left enough money in the building program to borrow about $16 million. He also said he was concerned about the total operating budget.
"I feel we've shortchanged the building program," Miller said.
Commissioner Austin Shaver argued against additional funding for the operating expenses based on both the economy and the need to keep the building program funded.
Professional educators on the commission, including Nancy Marcus and Harold Duff, stressed the importance of funding the operating budget and suggested that the building program be dealt with separately.
In the final vote, Commissioners Shaver, Miller, Bob Franke and Earlena Maples voted against the budget committee recommendation.