School Board Approves FY12 Budget, Looks Forward
POSTED: 10:00 p.m. ET, February 15, 2011
UPDATED: 5:59 a.m. ET, February 17, 2011
By: John Brett, FCCPS Communications
At a special called meeting in the Chambers at City Hall Tuesday night, the Falls Church City School Board passed a $38.4 million budget plan that begins to heal the damage of drastic cutbacks and layoffs of the last two years. The school board’s new budget asks for no increase in the amount of funding received last year from the Falls Church City Council despite projections of growing enrollment.
The requested City appropriation of $27.8 million is $1.7 million less than the schools’ budget two years ago.
“Our FY2012 budget is fiscally responsible, asking for no increase in City dollars for our schools while advocating school improvement and recognizing and rewarding our staff,” said School Board Chairman Joan Wodiska.
The vote ends a difficult and shortened budget development season for the Falls Church City School Board. Three public hearings, and two day-long and three evening work sessions were held to consider Superintendent Lois Berlin's proposed no-growth budget proposal. The school board listened to specific requestsfrom various FCCPS employee groups, as well as from parents and community members.
Ultimately, the school board approved a budget that:
- preserves all jobs with no staff member losing employment;
- provides a full step for all eligible employees mid-year in FY2012;
- provides a one-time retention/appreciation bonus of $600 for full-time employees and $300 for part-time employees;
- reinstates four para-professional days that were eliminated in the FY2011 budget;
- continues to pay 75% of health insurance premiums for all eligible employees noting that the cost of health insurance will increase for both the schoolboard and employees; and
- continues to pay for all IB and AP testing.
“Recognizing the City’s overall financial situation, the School Board is, in essence, requesting less this year than it did last year for our schools,” said chairman Wodiska. “The School Board absorbed approximately $1.0 million in mandated costs increases and two years of growing student populations.”
The budget also calls for the creation of a public/private partnership to fund e-Learning programs to serve as a revenue generator for schools.
The school board’s FY12 budget plan now goes to the city manager for inclusion in his proposed FY12 budget.
During the City’s budget development, the school board will be urging council members to retain funding for crossing guards and school resource officers at the public schools. In addition, Chairman Wodiska hopes the school board and city council can forge new agreements to accomplish the following initiatives:
- conduct a compensation study to ensure competitive salaries and benefits;
- develop a revenue sharing agreement to stabilize school funding and aid the city in its planning; and
- continue work on a long-term facilities plan to address issues regarding overcrowding and aging school infrastructure.
Chairman Wodiska will present the FCCPS approved budget proposal to the city council on Monday, March 14th at 7:30 p.m. in the Chambers at City Hall. The presentation is open to the public and will be televised live on FCC-TV (Cox 12, Verizon 35, RCN 2) and streamed live on the Web at www.fccps.org/live.