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FCPS Staff Will Get Small Increase in Pay

by Karen Goff — May 22, 2015 at 9:10 am 61 Comments

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Updated 11 a.m. Friday to clarify raise information.

The Fairfax County Public School Board adopted a $2.6 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2016 on Thursday, which will allow for small pay increases for all employees.

The raises — though very small at 0.62 percent — are still bigger than FCPS has been able to give in recent years. Schools spokesman John Torre said all eligible employees will get a step salary increase along with the 0.62 market scale scale adjustment. Combined, it will be about a 3.1 percent increase.

Superintendent Karen Garza said earlier FCPS needed additional money to give a market scale increase of 1 percent. The FY 2016 budget is an increase of $53.9 million, or 2.2 percent, over the FY 2015 Approved Budget.

The budget includes an increase in the Fairfax County transfer to the School Operating Fund of 3.2 percent, or $56.7 million, above the FY 2015 Approved Budget, which is $14.0 million less than requested in FCPS’ Advertised Budget, FCPS said.

The shortfall will be partially offset by an increase in state aid and a reduction in the employer contribution to the Virginia Retirement System, FCPS says.

The board still needed to slash an additional $7.6 million, which they say was achieved by reducing the planned 1.0 percent market scale adjustment for employees.

“This year’s revenue shortfall did not allow us to provide the full 1.0 percent market scale adjustment for employees that we had hoped we could fund, however, we remain resolved and dedicated to have employee compensation competitive with our neighboring school districts,” School Board Chair Tammy Derenak Kaufax said in a statement. “It is critical that we attract and retain the talented and skilled workforce necessary to support the increasing educational needs of our growing student population.”

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors passed its budget three weeks ago. In it, they approved a $2 billion transfer for Fairfax County Public Schools. That amount was a $66.7 million increase over 2015 but still about $14 million short of what FCPS says it needs for programs and teacher raises.

Garza said then that the supervisors were “unconcerned” about FCPS.

“Supervisors are sending a clear message that they are unconcerned about the increasing challenges of our students, our teachers, and our schools,” said Garza.  “The supervisors refused to fully fund our budget for the 2015-16 school year (FY 2016), when faced with a nominal $7.6 million deficit. We have grave concerns as to what will happen in the 2016-17 (FY 2017) school year when we face a devastating shortfall of more than $100 million.”

“The entire Fairfax County community has a critical decision to make: either we invest the necessary funds in our students and schools, or we will have to work together to decide what to cut – and we cannot cut our way to excellence.”

With a growing school population and stagnant employee salaries that are lower than nearby those in nearby Loudoun and Arlington counties, Garza predicts the issue will only get worse by 2016-17. She has forecasted a $100 million budget shortfall for the schools in 2017 and the cutting of programs.

“These cuts will likely affect all current academic programming, including limiting elective choices, reducing career and technical programs, impacting advanced offerings, and again raising class sizes at all levels,” she said, adding that those decisions will come as soon as December 2015.

In recent weeks, a Facebook page called #SAVEFCPS, started by a community member, has gained strength to advocate for an increase for school employees.

Board member Megan McLaughlin (Braddock) made a late amendment to the 2016 budget in the hopes of finding the money for employee raises. Her plan included saving $5 million by having students pay for Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate test fees. It did not pass in the final vote.

The Board did approve two follow-on motions: to direct the Superintendent “to develop an FY 2017 Proposed Budget that includes compensation increases for employees; and  to direct the Superintendent, in the preparation of the FY 2017 budget, to thoroughly analyze all Division operating expenditure budgets to identify any potential cost savings and/or reductions using a methodology commensurate to that of zero-based budgeting.”

The FY 2016 Approved Budget, which takes effect July 1, provides for an additional $22.1 million to cover the cost of enrollment increases and demographic changes, $4.9 million to implement the new start time schedule for students this fall, and $3.9 million to address large class sizes in targeted elementary schools.

The Approved Budget contains reductions totaling $61.4 million.  Since 2008, FCPS has reduced its operating budget by nearly half a billion dollars and eliminated more than 2,175 positions, FCPS says.

  • meh

    and yet the Fairfax county board of supervisors decided their part time job needed a 20K per year increase from 75K to 95K because they do such an awesome job.

    • susie

      Yeah, that is disgusting. But they’ve been getting away with so much for so long – why not reward themselves? Who’s going to stop them?

      • meh

        ken plum will stop them!

        • WhoIsJohnGalt

          He will come to the rescue with a tale of long ago about some 3rd grade teacher that made him the man he is today

  • susie

    And how much did the illegal aliens get paid?

  • Ming the Merciless

    You gave us $2,600 million instead of $2,614 million! You don’t caaaaare about us!

  • Chuck Morningwood

    Just out of curiosity, do FCPS teachers get “step” raises for time-in-grade, like Federal employees?

    • gullyterrier .

      Not automatically. They have to be approved in the budgets.

  • WhoIsJohnGalt

    Teachers, there was room for more ESL spending or raises. The money went to ESL & Standardized testing. Now remember to pay your union dues

    • FULL TIME BOJANGLER

      I think Garza is making close to 350K, Board of Supervisors just gave themselves huge raises ( i can;t recall the percentage but at least 25%)

      • gullyterrier .

        Garza agreed to a four-year contract through June 30, 2017, and will earn $265,000 in her first year.
        The FFX CNTY Board raised their salary from$75k to $95k per year.

  • Media Fact Checker

    This story is not correct. Employees will get “step” increases in addition to the .62 percent cost of living increase. Combined the increase is about 3.5 to 4 percent. Still not great, but better than .62 percent.

    • WhoIsJohnGalt

      Still not great? What other industry do you know where you get an automatic 4% raise every year? Teachers are overpaid as it is. Most of them are women that had to switch majors in college when facing real academic tasking.

      • susie

        Huh? The reason a lot of women are attracted to this profession is the schedule that allows them more time with their children. Teaching is an exhausting profession where you have little, if any downtime. You must be “on” for 7 hours a day, 5 days a week. I’ve worked in both the corporate world and education. Corporate is by far the less stressful.

        While there are some flunkies that found their way into education, there are also many intelligent ones as well.

        • CE

          9 months a year.

          • susie

            You forgot to mention Spring break, Christmas break and all federal holidays + snow days. Still prefer the corporate world

        • Greg

          We all live by the choices we make. Stop complaining about yours.

          • susie

            Huh? I just compared two experiences

      • Mike M

        Incredibly numb assessment Dr. Galt! Splendid!
        Perhaps if you were not the completely self-taught heap of brilliance piled so high and deep, you might place a slightly higher value on the teaching profession.

        • Cluster Tycoon

          You are not winning the argument by attacking the person, you win the argument by coming up with a better idea. Mike M, you have been suspended for bullying!

          • Mike M

            Let’s see . . . the guy insults all teachers as lacking in intellect. I say open season. As for you, detention!

        • Cluster Tycoon

          school -> prison = pipeline

      • Media Fact Checker

        Who said it was automatic? Over the past seven years, most years salaries barely kept pace with inflation, if any increase was given at all. See for yourself at http://www.fcps.edu/news/fy2016/faq.shtml#salary. As a result, FCPS teacher salaries have fallen way behind those of other school districts. And if you think it’s easy, I challenge you to spend a day in a classroom by yourself. Let me know how it goes. And no, teachers are not overpaid, that is a ridiculous comment. And, no, I’m not a teacher. The quality of schools affects everyone in the county, from property values, to the crime rate, to attracting businesses that provide jobs.

    • Ming the Merciless

      Not great? In my company, the standard increase was 2% last year. I’d venture to guess that not many people in the private sector got 4%.

    • Karen Goff

      We have been made aware of the error and will clarify within the hour.

    • Greg

      There are very few, if any, of us who got anywhere near that huge a raise. And, of course, the gold-plated pensions for life they get are yet another drain we have to pay for.

      • HealthyAtEverySize

        And when in doubt just raise property taxes to give them more money.

  • JCSuperstar

    The US is ranked poorly in the world ranking when it comes to our education system.

    A good read:

    http://www.ncee.org/ten-myths-about-education-in-the-u-s-and-what-it-will-take-to-fix-our-schools/

    • WhoIsJohnGalt

      Clearly the answer is to throw more money at the problem. Wait, we’ve already tried that and it’s been proven there’s no direct correlation between spending in the classroom and test results.

    • Ming the Merciless

      Maybe if we hadn’t imported tens of millions of Third World peasants in the past decades those numbers would look better.

  • Cluster Tycoon

    a NY teacher told me more than 80% of the funds go to special ed. Special ed includes those kids that are unruly/incorrigible and cannot be taught with other kids. So basically teachers get assigned to go to someone’s home to teach there one on one. I find that number to be high (80%), the situation to be unbelievable, but perhaps someone can shed light on this. I am not interested so much in NY but what happens here, in the richest county of the nation.
    Also, just my opinion, teachers should be rewarded based on how many of their kids pass the grade/graduate, how low their rate of suspensions are, and how well they rank in terms of other schools, including the private sector.
    Also noteworthy, some kids still go to classes held in trailers while other school building boast architectural features which are beyond the grasp of most corporations. Lastly, there seems to be a strong emphasis on physical education and programs like football and other nonsense that requires an infrastructure where costs far outweigh the benefits. Sorry SLHS, but very few of you will make it to the NFL.
    In my mind none of this makes sense. As for raises, teachers should get twice the raises as private industry as children are our future, our only hope that things will get better. Right now it looks like things will get worse, a lot worse.

    • Mike M

      Smells like government, eh?

  • GB

    They are children.

    • Ming the Merciless

      Who should not be fed with tax dollars.

      • Educating the Ignorant

        Another ridiculous comment. First of all, the breakfast/lunch program is paid by the Federal Government. Tax dollars yes, but not dollars that affect the FCPS budget. Overall, the meals program is a self-sustaining enterprise, meaning no tax dollars are used. Second, FCPS must educate all children, regardless of citizenship status. Third, sure, let’s not provide meals to children who need them, making it harder to learn and becoming productive citizens and breaking the cycle of poverty. Great idea (sarcasm font)!

        • Educating the Ignorant

          The above should have stated the free- and reduced-price breakfast/lunch program is paid for the Federal Government, not the FCPS breakfast/lunch program.

          • susie

            Oh it is coming out of the FCPS budget. Why else would they flock to the county like a hoard of cattle? FREE FOOD!!

          • Ming the Merciless

            Obviously, since nobody in Fairfax County pays Federal taxes, we have no cause for complaint when Federal dollars are used to feed people who shouldn’t even be here.

        • susie

          “Overall, the meals program is a self-sustaining enterprise, meaning no tax dollars are used”. Of course, all the unicorns flying overhead are paying for it all.

        • Ming the Merciless

          Who cares what color the tax dollars are. Ultimately, we taxpayers provide them. FCPS should not educate all children, nor feed them, at our expense. If they are here and are productive people, then they should damn well feed their own kids before sending them to school.

      • GB

        Fair enough, but let’s start by not spending tax dollars on distinguishing people based on where they were born and then treating them drastically differently. Deal?

        • susie

          An illegal is illegal. FACT – the majority (98% of them) are from Latin America. Let’s not pretend there is not a concentration of them born in a certain area. Deal?

          • GB

            Deal, most of the people who are in this country illegally are from Latin America. And a child born in Latin American to parents who crossed the border illegally and is now hungry in ffx is still a child.

          • susie

            Then let the child’s parents feed them. And let’s be real, they never come with just 1 child or even 2 or 3 for that matter. If they can have sex they can work to feed their kids.

          • GB

            Wow, your reality really stereotypes. Illegal immigrants have 4+ kids. Idnlove to see the stats to back that up. And we I propose to Ming, yes the parents should feed the children. But first please stop spending my money on deporting their parents and making it h arder form them to get jobs on FFX.

          • Ming the Merciless

            I’ll make you a deal. I’ll stop using your tax dollars to deport them if you stop using my tax dollars to feed, house, educate, and provide health care to them. They can stay here if they get not one dime of government money.

          • susie

            They still need to be deported – and their country should foot the bill. If their entitlements are taken away – they will riot in the streets. They’re already protesting because they want more.

          • Ming the Merciless

            If their entitlements are taken away, they will either become self-sustaining, or they will self-deport. Win-win.

          • Ming the Merciless

            Who should not be fed or educated with our tax dollars.

        • shagga

          GB clearly doesn’t understand the purpose of paying taxes, state and international borders and such. So free lesson… We pay taxes to our state and country (the feds). The money we pay to the state goes to services of our state gives us, the Fed goes into a massive sink of corruption but we do have a nice military that protect us from crazy people who enjoy lopping off heads. So no, the money we pay in taxes doesn’t go across the globe…

          • GB

            Pretty sure I didn’t say that, but thanks for the “lesson”.

          • shagga

            great, you brought teats into this. Wait a few minutes for Wings to chime in.

        • Ming the Merciless

          We can and should treat people differently based on where they were born.

          • GB

            I guess were are allowed to have different options about it hey way things should be. I think we should (sarcasm/) teat people differently based on sex and skin color (sarcasm)

          • Ming the Merciless

            So you’re in favor of Affirmative Action and Title IX? Big deal, lots of people are.

          • Ming the Merciless

            So you want to abolish affirmative action and Title IX then? Great, so do I.

          • GB

            And Ming I am a little disappointed in your response. I thought that you were consistentanly anti-government. I would have respects that. But pro government to the extent that it helps me keep mine, gross.

          • Ming the Merciless

            Among the things sovereign nations have done for centuries is control their borders and control who is a citizen. I am well aware you Lefties hate that. There is nothing inconsistent about wanting to limit government AND wanting to limit government benefits more to non-citizens than to citizens. What the American government does, should be done only for Americans.

    • susie

      How stupid are you?

      • GB

        Great response, really added to the discussion. I haven’t had my IQ tested in a while, but 129 comes to mind. Does that impact the number of hungry kids? Where they come from and how we should treat them? Since you think IQ mighy be relevant, how stupid/smart are you?

        • susie

          So you base intelligence on a number scored on a test? How about the decimation of a premier school district by an invasion of illegal aliens? When a government (corrupt I might add) advertises to the world that they will feed , house and educate all of the worlds’ kids at the expense of their citizens – what do you think will happen to the host country? Can your 129 IQ figure that one out?

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