Superintendent Peter Noonan presenting budget forcast.

In a joint presentation to the City Council and School Board, officials unveiled the fiscal forecast for Falls Church City and its public schools for the upcoming FY 2025, projecting robust growth amid financial challenges.

Presentation Slides

Falls Church City Public Schools (FCCPS) forecast a rise in student enrollment, necessitating the hiring of additional teachers and staff. The school system, grappling with national and state-level teacher shortages, is planning significant investments in employee compensation, including steps and Cost-of-Living Adjustments, alongside a 10% increase in health insurance rates.

FCCPS's expenditure needs amount to $4.3 million, covering costs related to enrollment growth, salary steps, COLA, health insurance, and other unavoidable increases such as utilities.

The City's revenue is expected to grow by 8.0%, fueled by a 5.9% increase in real estate taxes and a significant 12.7% rise in other taxes. This surge, amounting to $7.5 million in new tax revenue, is partly attributed to new construction, contributing $2.1 million alone. The real property values in the City are also on an upward trajectory, with residential and commercial apartments seeing increases.

However, the City faces a projected budget gap of $3.1 million, considering the new revenues and expenditures. These expenditures include $4.8 million in new costs related to general government operations, compensation, benefits, and WMATA-related expenses, which might increase the City's operating subsidy by $1 million to $2 million.

While facing these financial challenges, both the City and FCCPS emphasized their commitment to maintaining the high quality of services and education. The City is also considering strategic uses for the West Falls Project's real estate tax revenue, which is not included in the current projections but could provide additional funds for various needs in FY25.

Key dates for the budget process include
* Council Budget Guidance Statement (Dec 11)
* Superintendent’s Budget Proposal (Jan 9)
* School Board Advertised Budget Adoption (Feb 21)
* City Manager & School Board Budget Proposals (Apr/May)
* FY2025 Budget Ordinance (May 13)
* School Board Budget Adoption (May 14)