Fully Fund Fairfax County Public Schools!
Our schools are facing a historic budget crisis. Mandated costs have increased and enrollment has grown drastically for years, with no sign of stopping. FCPS has been streamlining, trimming the budget, freezing staff salary increases, and raising class sizes for years now in response to County funding that has not kept pace with increasing costs and demands on the system. Again we are facing the possibility of an inadequate transfer of funds from County Supervisors, to deal with this year’s “perfect storm” of financial pressures. This latest budget crisis is the result.
On January 9, FCPS Superintendent Dr. Karen Garza proposed a school budget, for School Year 2016-17, which for the first time in nine years includes no cuts. However, the amount of funding the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors is planning to allocate for the school budget will leave a shortfall ranging from $50-75 million.
FCPS sought community input and convened a Budget Task Force in 2015 to begin planning for the expected shortfall. If there is a budget shortfall, the FCPS School Board would then need to decide what to cut, as outlined in the Budget Task Force report.
The recommended cuts will negatively impact many important areas of our children’s education and the community as a whole – the very hallmarks of the robust education system for which FCPS has historically been known. And while county funding is critical and provides 72% of ours schools’ funding, state funding is also needed in the short and long term.
Policymakers at various levels have a role in the final outcome including the school board, County Board of Supervisors, and our representatives in Richmond. Although the County Board of Supervisors will decide on March 1 how much funding will be available through the advertised tax rate, and then the School Board will make its final decision on the proposed budget when it votes at its May 26, 2016 business meeting, the time is now to influence how much money is available for that budget!