Save the Date: FCPS Community Budget Meeting at SLHS Sept. 9

South Lakes High School South Lakes High School will be the site of the first of two countywide community meetings on Fairfax County Public School’s cost-savings options for the 2016-17 fiscal year.

The meeting is Wednesday, Sept. 9, 7 to 9 p.m. The other meeting is Sept. 12 at Mount Vernon High School. Register to attend on the FCPS website.

FCPS Superintendent Karen Garza says that the school system — which serves more than 180,000 students — may face a $100 million deficit if drastic action is not taken.

The school system often faces a deficit — this year’s was $7 million — and usually meets its budget without making major cuts and by compromising with the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors on funding for the schools.

However, Garza said the upcoming fiscal year is different — with cost drivers that are out of FCPS’ control. Among them: a growing student population with diverse needs;  increased state-required retirement contributions rates; increased health insurance costs; and increased compensation for teachers.

“We have an enormous challenge facing us as a school system,” Garza said in an FCPS interview.

A task force of community stakeholders — including school board members, citizen representatives, employee organizations, and FCPS employees, among others, has been meeting this summer to identify potential savings.

The Task Force will be asked to prioritize items for reduction in scenarios of a $50 million deficit, a $75 million deficit, and a $100 million deficit. Garza says she expects to get the task force’s report in October, and a preliminary budget should be formulated by December.

FCPS has also been asking for online suggestions from citizens on its “What Are Your Ideas” page. Particular hot topics are eliminating some sports and arts activities; cutting down on late buses and transportation to Advanced Academic Programs; and forgoing the recent raise (to $20,000 annually) for school board members.

“The school board recently voted to give itself an 85 percent salary raise in the midst of a major budget crisis,” wrote one commenter. “This is a terrible idea and only makes the problem worse, and makes the school board look out of touch with the needs of the community.”

Said another: “Please continue arts and music programs. While this seems like an easy cut, these programs stimulate the mind and help the students learn important skills such as good listening, patience, focus and diligence.”

Starting Sept. 9, community members will be able to submit specific proposals for how to balance the budget using a “Budget Proposal Tool” available at www.fcps.edu/SaveFCPS.

The proposals submitted via the Budget Proposal Tool will be shared with the Budget Task Force for their review prior to making a recommendation to the Superintendent in October. The information will also be shared with the Superintendent and School Board.

The task force has outlined potential cost savings for consideration. Among them:

  • 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).

Learn more about the 2017-budget on FCPS’ website. See the task force’s 12-page menu of budget-cutting ideas in the document below.

Cost-Savings Ideas from FCPS Task Force by Karen Goldberg Goff

Recent Stories

Morning Notes

Railroad tracks are elevated above Lake Accotink Park (staff photo by Angela Woolsey) Retired Priest Found Not Guilty of Sexual Abuse — “Terry Wayne Specht, 69, of Pennsylvania was found…

This sponsored column is written by the team at Arrowine & Cheese (4508 Cherry Hill Road in Arlington). Sign up for the email newsletter and receive exclusive discounts and offers. Experience Arrowine’s Tastings & Events. Have…

Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chair Jeff McKay (file photo) Fairfax County deserves more local authority, Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay says, calling Virginia’s Dillon Rule “increasingly more intrusive”…

The South Lakes High School PTSA Food Pantry’s annual “Do It Your Way 0.5K” fundraiser returns this month (photo by Alexis Doty) The South Lakes High School PTSA’s annual “Do…

The Ravel Dance Studio will re-open for fall classes 2020. The school will offer in person and virtual online instruction. With over 5000 sq. ft. to social distance the school has added air ionization filtration systems, ballet barres, acrylic dividers, hands free bathrooms, strict monitoring and more.

The Ravel Dance Studio will produce a Nutcracker Ballet Hollywood style video through the Reston Community CenterStage. REGISTRATION online begins August 17.

Submit your own Community Post here for just $99.

Chris Green is one of the DMV’s finest fitness instructors. A Lululemon and South Block ambassador, he is a coach and mentor to so many. He embodies grace, positivity and motivation in ways that no one else can. If we could all learn a thing or two from him, the world would be a much better place. He does so much for others, and does so with a smile on his face 99% of the time.

He recently ruptured his Achilles and has an incredibly long and tough journey ahead. As if COVID hadn’t impacted fitness professionals enough, throw this in the mix and it’s a double, even triple whammy. CG is no longer able to work and do what he loves for the time being because of this and we’d love your support.

Read More

Submit your own Community Post here for just $99.

×

Subscribe to our mailing list