Fairfax County School Board Passes $3 Billion 2020 Budget

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The Fairfax County School Board said Friday it has adopted the Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) FY 2020 Approved Budget of $3.0 billion. The new budget includes a $55.2 million investment in teacher salary scale increases—including a 1.0 percent market scale adjustment–and $46.8 million for a step increase for eligible employees and a 1.0 percent market scale adjustment for non-teacher salary scale employees.

“This is a good news budget that reflects the School Board’s commitment to ensuring equity of opportunity and excellent classroom experiences for all of our students,” said Fairfax County School Board Chair Karen Corbett Sanders.  “For the second consecutive year, our budget request was fully funded by the Board of Supervisors (BOS) and we thank our county partners for their continuing support of our school division.”

The FY 2020 budget includes an additional $16.1 million for instructional programs, which includes funding to distribute a laptop to every high school student next school year. This 1-to-1 computing initiative will better prepare students for college and careers, FCPS said.

The budget also includes funding to expand AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) program to three additional schools, and an increase in substitute pay for retirees.  It also provides $2.9 million for student mental health, student safety, and substance abuse prevention programs.

The Board also adopted several budget amendments including:

–    Funding to support the first year of a three-year plan to bring instructional assistant (IA) salaries to 50 percent of the BA salaries for teachers.

–    Adding eight behavior intervention teachers – including one for each region in the division.

–    Adding positions to staff an additional 33 Title I elementary schools with a full-time Advanced Academic resource teacher to support Young Scholars and opportunities for students in the neediest schools.

–    Increasing the living wage for FCPS employees to $15.50 an hour.

–    Adding positions to Chantilly, Edison, Falls Church, Marshall, and West Potomac Academies to staff two language programs (American Sign Language, Arabic, Chinese, Korean, or Vietnamese) at each site and adding one position at Fairfax Academy to provide enhanced student access to American Sign Language.

“I’m especially pleased that the Board has agreed to begin to address the need for fair compensation for our classroom instructional assistants,” added Corbett Sanders.  “IAs play a key role in supporting our classroom teachers to ensure that students receive the maximum benefit from learning activities which often includes one-on-one support.”

State, feds shortchange Fairfax

The FCPS budget relies on the Fairfax County general fund transfer to provide the majority of the revenue needed; this year, FCPS is asking the County to provide 71.4 percent of the total revenue. This reliance on county funding is due to FCPS only receiving approximately half of the average state funding other Virginia jurisdictions receive.

FCPS expects to receive 23.7 percent of its FY 2020 budget from the state in the form of state aid and sales tax revenue. Federal funding provides less than 2 percent of FCPS’ annual operating revenue. The FY 2020 budget is an increase of 4.0 percent ($114.7 million) over the FY 2019 Approved Budget.

Details and additional information about the FY 2020 budget are available online.

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Truman Lewis
A former reporter and bureau chief, Truman Lewis has covered presidential campaigns, state politics and stories ranging from organized crime to environmental and consumer protection.