After the Fairfax County Public Schools Board last week approved a smaller-than-anticipated Fiscal Year 2016 budget, schools Superintendent Karen Garza and County Supervisor Chair Sharon Bulova issued a joint statement vowing to work together for the betterment of the community.
The county transfer to the schools for 2016 is about $2 billion. 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 later called the supervisors “unconcerned” about FCPS’ 187,000 students.
The two county leader said on Tuesday “we acknowledge that all involved care very deeply about our community, our young people, and our schools.”
They also both acknowledged the consistent increase from the supervisors to the schools — as well as FCPS’ growing needs.
Here is the rest of the joint statement:
Over the past five years, the Board of Supervisors has consistently increased funding to our schools. We both acknowledge, however, the financial strain on FCPS as the system is faced with significant cost drivers such as enrollment growth, required increases to the state retirement system, and inequitable state funding formulas for education.
We discussed the unprecedented fiscal challenges facing both the County and FCPS in Fiscal Year 2017 (school year 2016-17). Both of our organizations are projecting significant budget shortfalls that must be addressed in the coming months.
We recognize that it is critical for FCPS and the County Board of Supervisors to continue to work together to find viable financial solutions that are in the best interest of our children and the community as a whole.
We have agreed that we need to move forward as a team to find solutions to these funding challenges. We welcome the opportunity to work together to protect Fairfax County’s quality of life and enable Fairfax County Public Schools to maintain the high quality educational programs that educate and nurture future Fairfax County citizens and employees.
Sharon Bulova (left) and Karen Garza (right)/file photos