FCPS Will Study Bus Routes, Put Savings Toward Later HS School Start Times

FCPS Superintendent Karen GarzaFairfax County Public Schools is planning to put aside money to help high schools start later in Fiscal Year 2015.

When FCPS adopted its $2.5 billion FY 2015 Advertised Budget on Friday — a record amount that includes a net increase of 2.4 percent, or $59.4 million, from the FY 2014 Approved Budget — the school board also passed a motion for Superintendent Karen Garza to identify savings from the annual bus route review.

The money saved, possibly from condensing some transportation routes, would be earmarked to offset costs of implementing a later start time, FCPS said in a news release.

Parents have been advocating for later start times for Fairfax County high schools for several years. Fairfax County high schools begin at 7:20 a.m. — which means some students are on the bus as early as 5:45 a.m. The local advocacy group Start Later for Excellence in Education Proposal (SLEEP) has been very vocal, saying that 72 out of 95 Virginia counties now start at high school 8 a.m. or later.

The FCPS School Board, after hearing commissioned study results from Children’s National Medical Center, said last month that more time was needed to study the sleep issue and that it won’t likely be implemented in 2014-15.

As for the rest of the budget, it will now go before the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and the public for discussion and changes before being approved in May.

“This is a responsible, needs-based budget that addresses rising enrollment while protecting programs for our students,” said Fairfax County School Board Chair Ilryong Moon. “We are faced with an increase in health insurance rates and we are required to fund an increase in the required contributions to the Virginia Retirement System. Superintendent Garza and members of the Board spent many hours working with stakeholders to develop this budget, which uses a shared approach of reducing expenditures along with requesting additional revenue.”

The budget includes reductions of $96.5 million. Garza said last month that she hoped most of the staff reductions would come through attrition, but she could not rule out layoffs.

The school system will also request an additional $98.1 million from Fairfax County to to offset the growing expenses.

Since FY 2010, student enrollment has grown by 15,603 students and is projected to reach 187,994 students for FY 2015. The projected enrollment growth for next year, and the changing demographics associated with it, will require an additional $25.8 million in school-based resources, FCPS said.

Increases in retirement rate costs are estimated to be $38.9 million and increases in health insurance rates are estimated to be $23.9 million. The FY 2015 Advertised Budget also includes a step increase for eligible employees.

“Retention of our outstanding employees must be a top priority. Employees have only received one step increase in the past five years and FCPS is losing ground competitively with our neighboring jurisdictions. Therefore, we must give our employees a step increase,” says Garza.

FCPS is encouraging county residents to participate in the budget process by attending an upcoming public hearing, work session, or school board meeting. Complete information is available on FCPS’ website.

Recent Stories

An electric vehicle charger at the Sully Community Center (staff photo by Jay Westcott) Reston Association is charging up to potentially take part in Fairfax County pilot to get more…

Fairfax County is no longer considering a proposal to allow more housing in Wolf Trap’s Crowells Corner neighborhood. The Site-Specific Plan Amendment (SSPA) submission has been withdrawn by its nominator, county…

The Reston location appears to have closed (staff photo by Angela Woolsey) Flippin’ Pizza, a pizza chain that serves New York-style pizza, appears to have closed its Reston location. The…

Police blocked off southbound Route 29 at Centrewood Drive after a fatal pedestrian crash in November (via VDOT Northern Virginia/Twitter) The Fairfax County Police Department is doubling down on traffic…

The Ravel Dance Studio will re-open for fall classes 2020. The school will offer in person and virtual online instruction. With over 5000 sq. ft. to social distance the school has added air ionization filtration systems, ballet barres, acrylic dividers, hands free bathrooms, strict monitoring and more.

The Ravel Dance Studio will produce a Nutcracker Ballet Hollywood style video through the Reston Community CenterStage. REGISTRATION online begins August 17.

Submit your own Community Post here for just $99.

Chris Green is one of the DMV’s finest fitness instructors. A Lululemon and South Block ambassador, he is a coach and mentor to so many. He embodies grace, positivity and motivation in ways that no one else can. If we could all learn a thing or two from him, the world would be a much better place. He does so much for others, and does so with a smile on his face 99% of the time.

He recently ruptured his Achilles and has an incredibly long and tough journey ahead. As if COVID hadn’t impacted fitness professionals enough, throw this in the mix and it’s a double, even triple whammy. CG is no longer able to work and do what he loves for the time being because of this and we’d love your support.

Read More

Submit your own Community Post here for just $99.


Subscribe to our mailing list