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FCPS Lowers Its Budget Deficit Forecast — Again

by Karen Goff October 6, 2015 at 11:00 am 13 Comments

fcps logoFairfax County Public Schools now predicts a $72 million budget deficit for Fiscal Year 2017, about 25 percent less than the gap it forecasted last April.

FCPS Superintendent Karen Garza said last spring that the school system — which has more than 180,000 students — could face a deficit of $100 million in the upcoming fiscal year. At a community meeting at South Lakes High School in September, she said the gap would be more like $80 million.

Garza said much of the cost drivers are out of the system’s control. Among them: Increasing enrollment; increasing need for special programs such as English as a Second Language; increased employee health care costs; raises for staff; and contributions to the state retirement fund.

The county has created a Budget Task Force, introduced a citizen online budget tool and has asked citizens for feedback on potential places to make cuts. Among the suggestions: cutting back on sports and activities, larger class sizes, cutting custodial positions, cutting Central Support positions and eliminating all-day Kindergarten, among others.

FCPS gets about 70 percent of its $2.6 billion (2016) budget from the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, which has said to expect about a 3-percent increase for 2017, said Garza.

The county budget staff says the reason for the updated forecast of $72 million still takes into account a 3-percent increase in the county transfer, but also takes into considers:

State Aid — Reflects a lower projected LCI (Local Composite Index) loss based on the Governor’s budget comments combined with the loss of one-time compensation funding included in FY2016 offset by projected enrollment increases

Health Insurance —  FCPS is finalizing the plan offerings for calendar year 2016, and rates are projected to increase.

Virginia Retirement System — The rate projection was updated based on the decrease in the rate for FY2016

Utilities — Assumes increases primarily in electricity, offset by cost avoidances from our contract with the energy conservation company, Cenegistic.

See the updated forecast in this document on the FCPS school board site.

  • Free Stuff is Running out

    it sounds like ESL and other special needs parents need to pay extra if they are the burden to the school budget. Next time you pop out a kid teach them the correct language of the country you reside in otherwise you need to pay for the extra classes for you kid.

    • ImSpecial

      Actually, most of the special programs funding requirements are for children with special needs, s.a. physical and learning disabilities. Are you suggesting to transfer the cost in all cases?

      • Free Stuff is Running out

        you should pay the cost difference based on the average student to teacher ratio. If special needs require 4 more teachers per class then pay up. Spending more tax money based on language, disability, or race is not fair. A true socialist model means everyone gets the same portion.

        • JamesTaggart

          I want to know why we allocate so many resources on people that will have a career in mowing lawns and bagging groceries and divert that from those that actually produce and contribute to society.

        • ImSpecial2

          It seems as if a true socialist model would allocate the same portion of education to each student, that portion costs a different amount based on the needs of the student, but the total amount of learning would be equivalent: we are going to stuff 26 letters of the alphabet into your brain regardless of the cost, just like everyone else gets.

          Are you suggesting instead that the state not pay for education at all and to each his own? The privileged class gets educated while the rest of the gentry does not get to participate in the betterment of society except as servant to the former?

      • JamesTaggart

        I think an argument can be made in regards to allocation of resources. It may not be the fault of the child; nevertheless it appears that the bottom 10% is focused on to bring scores up (for funding) instead of pushing that top 20% to see if they can do even more

    • Chuck Morningwood

      Nobody plans to be “Special Needs”. it just happens. Immigration of all stripes, on the other hand, is a choice. Therefore, FSiRO, you are a ….

      • Tom

        Children immigrate by choice?

        • Chuck Morningwood

          Yes, they do. What about that flood of kids that hit the borders last year. No parents, just kids.

  • JamesTaggart

    “Increasing enrollment; increasing need for special programs such as English as a Second Language”

    So what you’re saying is illegal immigration and free loaders are causing a drain on the system?

  • Ming the Merciless

    Garza said much of the cost drivers are out of the system’s control.

    The Marquise de Garza simply kept repeating, “It’s beyond my control… it’s beyond my control…”

  • Troll troller

    Me love Reston Now comments section.

  • Richard

    It is to the benefit of all of us in Fairfax County that our children are well-educated. An excellent education system makes Fairfax County a more attractive location for high-paying jobs, improves the employability of the students, helps to keep crime low, and improves the standard of living for everyone. It’s incumbent upon the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors to find a way to bridge the gap between the budget deficit and revenue. Have the political courage to raise the necessary revenue.

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