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Friday, February 08, 2013

Fairfax County School Board Approves Advertised FY 2014 Budget

The Fairfax County School Board has adopted the FY 2014 Advertised Budget of $2.5 billion, a net increase of 2.7 percent, or $65.7 million, from the FY 2013 Approved Budget. The FY 2014 budget includes 292.5 additional positions to address membership growth—projected to be 184,393 in FY 2014—and student demographic changes. 

In its passage of the Advertised Budget, the School Board incorporated Superintendent Jack Dale’s Proposed Budget and approved several additions:

·         Adding 19 field custodian positions at a cost of $1 million.
·         Providing a placeholder for additional half-time advanced academic programs (AAP) resource teachers in elementary schools with high risk indices at a cost of $2 million.
·         Adding a placeholder of $3 million to fund the expansion of the Family and Early Childhood Education Program (FECEP), beginning in fall 2013, and reducing the funding for extended time for teachers by $3 million.

The majority of the FY 2014 budget is for employee compensation; the budget also contains funds to cover the costs of increases in health insurance rates, local retirement rates, and the Virginia Retirement System (VRS) employer-employee cost shift.

With the influx of students come increases in special needs populations. The school district estimates that, in FY 2014, 16 percent of students will be enrolled in English for speakers of other languages (ESOL), 13.8 percent will be eligible for special education services, and 27.3 percent will be eligible for free and reduced-price meals, an indicator of poverty.

“As the region continues to experience economic challenges, we have attempted to design this budget with specific priorities that focus on our students,” said School Board Chair Ilryong Moon. “With the ongoing, rapid growth in our student enrollment, we have to designate funds to provide instructional personnel and support to these students as the priority for the budget. That means that many items we would have liked to include in the budget, such as step increases for employees and hiring additional social workers and psychologists to provide more support for students, are not in the FY 2014 budget.  

“This budget does include $48 million in reductions and savings, and we are continuing to search for potential savings by participating in the State Efficiency Review Program,” continued Moon. “We hope to have that report delivered in late spring.”

County residents are encouraged to participate in the budget process by attending an upcoming public hearing, work session, or School Board meeting. Complete information is available online.

Note: For more information, contact Kristen Michael at 571-423-3600.