The Fairfax County School Board on Thursday adopted the FY 2016 Advertised Budget of $2.6 billion.
That amount is a net increase of 2.6 percent, or $64 million, from the FY 2015 Approved Budget.
Additional money is needed to cover such expenses such as the new full-day Mondays in the elementary schools; the implementation of later high school start times (beginning in 2015-16); and a step increase for eligible employees and a 1 percent market scale adjustment for all employees, the school board says.
“The Board is committed to increasing employee compensation this year, as we realize that Fairfax County is losing ground to neighboring jurisdictions in providing competitive teacher salaries,” School Board Chairman Tammy Derenak Kaufax said in a statement.
“This budget does not address all of our needs. Since 2008, we have cut more than 2,100 positions and made reductions of $435 million. Again this year we are proposing reductions of $55.4 million. This manner of budgeting is not sustainable and, eventually, will affect the quality of education for our students.”
FCPS Superintendent Karen Garza previously said total school system reductions since 2008 are now approaching $500 million.
The school board will ask the Board of Supervisors for an additional $70.6 million, or 3.99 percent, over the amount from FY 2015. The transfer request amount from the county is $14 million, or 0.79 percent, above the guidance provided by the Board of Supervisors, which included a 3 percent transfer increase plus the cost associated with full-day Mondays.
The school district said it anticipates receiving state aid of approximately $400 million, state sales tax of $182.3 million, federal aid of $42.2 million, and tuition payments from the City of Fairfax and other revenue of $62.9 million. The FY 2016 budget was prepared with a projected beginning balance of $27.8 million, FCPS said.
Nearly 72 percent of FCPS’ projected revenue is provided by the county, which supports programs such as Head Start, school health professionals, school resource officers, school crossing guards and after-school programming. The state provides nearly 23 percent in additional revenue, which is significantly less than the 45 percent received on average by other Virginia school divisions.
Part of the reason for rhe mounting costs of running the school district is the growing enrollment. Since 2011, FCPS enrollment has grown by 13,171 students and is projected to be 188,104 for FY 2016, FCPS says.
Garza said this enrollment growth, along with associated changing demographics such as English as a Second Language Classes associated with it, will require an additional $18.6 million in school-based resources in FY 2016.
Now comes the time for budget cutting and public input to get to the actual FY 2016 budget this spring.
The school board will hold a budget work session on Monday, March 16, and a joint meeting with the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, March 17. The School Board will present its budget to the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, April 7.