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‘I Am FCPS’ Reps Ask Supervisors to Fully Fund Schools

by Karen Goff December 10, 2015 at 11:30 am 13 Comments

I Am FCPSSeveral parents representing the #I Am FCPS advocacy group spoke to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors at their last meeting of 2015 on Tuesday, asking the board to fully fund Fairfax County Public Schools for Fiscal Year 2017.

The group is comprised mainly of parents and was recently formed in response to the FCPS Budget Task Force report that looks at ways to slash $50 or $75 million from the budget for 2017.

FCPS Superintendent Karen Garza has said the school could be facing a shortfall in that range if the county supervisors give the schools the standard 3-percent increase in funding for next year.

I Am FCPS member Melanie Mehren, a Vienna resident, says the group has mobilized to write 12,000 letters and get 1,200 Facebook likes in the last month.

“We are asking for your leadership to determine how to fully fund the schools for the longterm,” she told the supervisors. “Funding has not kept pace with our growing and changing community. FCPS has grown at the rate of one classroom per day. We are now spending $1,000 less per child when compared with 2009.”

The Virginia General Assembly will determine in its January session how much money to give local school systems. After that, counties can work on what their contributions.

Garza has said a large portion of the school system’s rising costs are due to increases in compensation, rising health care costs and retirement fund contributions. The school system — now with 188,545 students — has a growing enrollment with an increased need for special services.

Garza will present her proposed budget in January. The final budget will be adopted by the school board in May — and it may contain changes such as increased class size, cutbacks in sports and activities and a reduction in staff positions, among others.

Board of Supervisor Chair Sharon Bulova said fully funding schools is the board’s No. 1 priority on their legislative agenda for the 2016 General Assembly. She pointed out that the problem begins at the state level.

“The state has reduced its share [of funding all Virginia schools] by $1 billion,” she said. “Counties have tried to make up the difference. In Fairfax, we have increased about $200 million for schools.”

Springfield Supervisor Pat Herrity pointed out that the board did fund 99 percent of school board requests last year. He also wanted to know how much FCPS is spending on its #SAVEFCPS campaign, which is not affiliated with #IAMFCPS.

FCPS gets about two-thirds of its funding from the county. More than half the county’s $2 billion in spending goes to education.

Rachel Stot, Kilmer Middle School PTA president, said a standard 3 percent transfer from the county “will leave a devastating shortage that will affect the whole community.”

“There are no acceptable cuts left,” she said. “Please fully fund the ask.”

Photo: Supervisor Chair Sharon Bulova

  • sheik yerbouti

    Just accept the fact that parents have started to clone their children so class sizes are larger. The clones don’t speak the same language yet so the schools will need to hire extra teachers and the parents cant really afford now to feed their child and clone so the schools need to pay for that too. Lets talk about the real issues, should we get more money from residents by charging them a “fee” or should we call it a “tax” or possibly a “fine”…

  • Ming the Merciless


  • Mike M

    #IamFCPS: Just give them what they want and don’t ask questions!

  • meh

    Chuck, you’re crazy. Clearly this has nothing to do with “undocumented” children. You’re a cold heartless monster for thinking a large influx of students that require special attention and resources(English lessons, free lunch) and take up additional seats in the classroom have NOTHING to do with the budget problem.

    Clearly we should just open our wallets out of the goodness of our hearts and provide whatever is needed.

    Also, we must now expect class sizes to double for the sake of diversity. You wouldn’t want to segregate students so some can learn, do you? The next thing you’ll say is that you want AP classes……hogwash

    • Lily

      Remeber, FRM/ESOL students receive English lessons, free lunch, and small class sizes since one of FCPS’s goals is to narrow the achievement gap. The FCPS’s needs-based staffing formula is used to create small class sizes for FRM/ESOL students.

  • GB

    Unless your thoughts are race based they probably aren’t racist. But since you think they might be construed that way, I’m going to guess that they are also not compassionate.

  • 2ndBreakfast
    • Ming the Merciless

      Japan and South Korea spend much less per student than the USA, and that is why their economies suck.

      • 2ndBreakfast

        Actually, Japan’s economy does kind of suck…but probably not because of their schools. Plus their taxes are higher than ours…but if you want low taxes there are plenty of countries out there…and Delta’s ready when you are.

        • Ming the Merciless

          Japan’s economy does kind of suck

          You’re not proving anything about the excellence of American education with statements like this.

      • cosmic93

        Ahhh. but Japan has a mandatory nationalized curriculum, which significantly reduces the overhead compared with our heavily balkanized system.

  • Richard

    Sign me up.

  • Suzanne Zurn

    Hello Restonians: the #IamFCPS campaign was started by a group of ten parents attending a PTA meeting at Lake Anne ES. Find us on Facebook and soon at IamFCPS.org.


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