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

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

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