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Fewer Sports, Larger Class Sizes on the Table for FCPS Savings

by Karen Goff — August 5, 2015 at 9:30 am 25 Comments

Superintendent Karen Garza/FCPSThe task force organized by Fairfax County Public Schools has released its first draft of cost-saving measures in an effort to slash $100 million from the school system budget for 2016-17.

FCPS Superintendent Karen Garza said in June that the school system — which serves more than 180,000 students — may face that large deficit if drastic action is not taken.

The school system often faces a deficit (this year’s was $7 million), but Garza said in June that many of FCPS’ cost drivers for 2016-17 are “items outside of FCPS’ control,” like retirement and enrollment increases, and providing competitive compensation for teachers.

The system has been asking for and receiving citizen feedback on potential cuts for months.

The school system is now outlining the dollars that could be saved if certain cuts are made. The task force is made up of three dozen members, including citizens, teachers, school board appointees, union reps and others.

Some of the suggestions, with savings forecasts in parentheses:

  • Raising class sizes by one student for K-12 ($26.2 million).
  • Reducing late buses by one day per week ($1.3 million)
  • Eliminating some sports (freshman, junior varsity and varsity sports) and cutting high school athletic trainers ($10.9 million).
  • Eliminating school extracurriculars such as yearbook, It’s Academic, newspaper, debate and student council, as well as cutting supplemental funding for music and drama programs ($12.3 million).
  • Reducing number of high school assistant principals ($1.2 million).
  • Reducing number of custodian positions ($2.4 million),
  • Reducing Central Support positions (ie, Human Resources, Instructional Services, IT) ($1.7 million to $8.4 million).
  • Cut extra staffing needed to manage International Baccalaureate programs ($1.2 million).
  • Reducing number of days contracted teachers and other staffers work (various).

The school system has emphasized that this is just the first of many drafts and no decisions have been made.

There will be several public meetings on the subject this fall, including one at South Lakes High School in Reston on Sept. 9 at 7 p.m.

Cost-Savings Ideas from FCPS Task Force

FCPS Superintendent Karen Garza/file photo

  • Henry Rearden

    Looks like line items 106, 107 , 108 , 207 and 213

    Would close the budget and not impact those American born legal citizens one iota. Of course, we must placate to the whims of the illegals that pull down test scores at the expense of others

  • Paul Watson

    I don’t see charging extra for students who require ESL or special needs as options to help cover the shortfall. If you don’t listen to the tax payer’s suggestions, we are not going to listen to your pandering for more tax revenue. Stop hurting the majority of students with your idiotic cut proposals just to help the fringe groups.

    • Chuck Morningwood

      I don’t have a problem with charging for ESL.

      • Henry Rearden

        Either do I, the problem is they probably can’t afford the ESL or the ACLU will come in and throw a fit

    • Reston Crimewatcher

      If the kids who need the ESL are in the country legally, fine. If we simply do not allow ILLEGAL ALIENS into the schools, so many of the problems would be solved. The very fact that they are in the country illegally means they are criminals. Why should those who are here legally be punished?

      • IsSusieFromlaLaLand

        Plyler vs Doe – try educating yourself before spewing troll

  • Rex Kramer

    Were losing the war on education against the rest of the world. We need to double down on the Asian American students, that is really are only hope of winning.

    • susie

      Provocative comment, Rex. Recently worked along side a woman from Shanghai. Very bright, capable consultant. Said her son’s elementary math class was so behind his Chinese cousins. I have also taught Asian students. They truly value education unlike the Latinos who don’t, as a rule, consider it important. Although some of them seem to be catching on. This was often discussed behind closed doors in FCPS meetings. Also – Asians still have a strong family unit which is huge factor in a child’s success at school. HOWEVER, my Shanghai friend said where Americans surpass the Chinese is in independent thought and entreprenereal endeavors. She also discussed how China is a homogenous society that doesn’t have to cater/dumb down to all this diversity BS.
      She also commented on how easy the US caves to anyone who cries “Racism”.

      • Mike M

        I’ll concede that your friend is an astute observer. But I really don’t buy that Americans are all that far behind the rest of thr world in things that matter. Ironically, this is something that is stoked by the Education faction in the US used to get more money. But we spend lots and still rank behind? Maybe, maybe not, and if so, why?

        I had a Korean friend who told me that his highly rated South Korean school was very much into rote and drill. He said he learned first hand the limitations of that when he got here. I’ll risk scorn and also say I think Math is overrated. Do we really need to teach everyone third level calculus? I think that’s a speciality item for those who want to go there. I think a good dose of the Classics might be even more valuable. Remember those? Now kids are fed poetry and leftist literature from obscure minority poets. They study Latin American history and economic developent and know little of the Rennaissance and of World War I.

        Regardless of who agrees with me on any of the above, isn’t it time we start asking why we spend so much and get less than we’d like in return? And what really matters in education? And, OK, why aren’t more students pursuing STEM? In my individual experience STEM teachers were, as a pack, ther worst teachers. I think that’s part of it.

    • Mike M

      We are doubling or tripling down on the Asian-American students and perhaps for the reason you cite -winning the stats game. See Thomas Jefferson High School.

  • susie

    How many years until the decimation of this once great school district? My bet – 8 to 10 years. But that’s a little generous

    • Henry Rearden

      Hopefully by then I can save up enough money to purchase a new home further west and in a better school district. Or possibly go down the route of private education

  • jvb11

    I think any plan that cuts out sports should be strongly opposed. They can afford sports programs in other areas of the country, ones without our resources. Any supervisor or elected official that goes along with this should be voted out.

    • Captn Crunch

      Garza can find funding to support sensitivity classes to teach kids about cross dressers but cant find money to support yearbook or sports? She should be voted out.

      • susie

        Read somewhere that they’re getting pressure from Fed (aka Barry Soetoro) to focus on transgender issues or they will withhold funding.

        • JustSayin

          I read somewhere that people that read somewhere are actually illiterate trolls who only repeat what they heard somebody else say they heard on fox news. The unfortunate news is that they are probably breeding and voting.

  • Lydia

    I’m not sure if this ‘news site’ is for ignorant citizens of Reston but the comments here are surely suggesting that!

    • Road Apples

      I don’t agree with all the ideas presented thus far. That being said; may I ask a curious question? What specific examples of comments of ” ignorant citizens of Reston ” are you referring to?

      • TrollHunter

        Don’t fall for it Lydia, it’s troll bait, we all know what you are referring to.

        • Road Apples

          TH,
          Your response to a “curious question” ; exhibits disconcerting psychological issues: which include deflection and avoidance.

      • Henry Rearden

        I am confused as well

    • Sheik Yerbouti

      what Lydia is saying is she fully supports the proposed cuts and she would rather have school funding be directed to a specific group of children and take away options that all children could participate in such as year book and sports. Some people play the race card or just resort to name calling when they cant defend their position.

      • CE

        “Playing the race card is an idiomatic phrase that refers to exploitation of either racist or anti-racist attitudes by accusing others of racism”.
        Sounds like what you’re doing Sheik. Get your terminology straight.

      • CE

        Sheik, I apologize. You are correct. That is what she is doing.

    • Mike M

      Essentially, your comment says, “Y’all are ignorant!” Have you anything more substantive, or is everyone with whom you disagree simply ignorant? If not, then who might be calling whom ignorant?

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