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Fairfax County School Board Votes to Balance FY 2009 Budget, Approves $39.7 Million in Reductions

posted Jun 2, 2008, 12:23 PM by HSS PTSA Webmaster   [ updated Jun 2, 2008, 12:25 PM ]
The Fairfax County School Board has approved the school system’s $2.2 billion budget for FY 2009. To balance the budget, the Board made budget reductions of $39.7 million in addition to the $33 million in reductions included in the advertised budget. “This was a particularly challenging budget year,” said School Board chair Dan Storck. “We received $23.7 million less than we requested from the county and $16.7 million less than anticipated from the state. As a result, we had to make some difficult decisions.”

The FY 2009 Fairfax County Public Schools approved budget includes a 0.5 student increase in the general education class size formula resulting in savings of $11.0 million; a $10.9 million reduction in central office support to schools; and a redesign of summer school and five other programs for a savings of $8.6 million. In addition, the budget includes the elimination of $8.0 million in funding that had been included to implement new accounting standards requiring governments to report the long-term liability associated with retirement benefits, and a reduction of the market scale adjustment for employees from 3.0 percent to 2.0 percent, resulting in a savings of $17.5 million.

Expenditure increases include $22.4 million to accommodate an additional 3,541 students expected next year; $3.5 million to replace the outdated student information system (SASI); $1.5 million to expand full-day kindergarten to five additional schools (Deer Park, Hayfield, Laurel Ridge, Oakton, and White Oaks Elementary Schools); $1.3 million to continue the FLES program to the next grade level in current schools and to expand the program to four additional schools to be determined; and $1.5 million for bus driver compensation due to effective recruiting and retention initiatives. 

Soaring fuel and rising vehicle labor costs required that the School Board to set aside an additional $5.3 million. According to Dean Tistadt, chief operating officer, “In FY 2002, diesel was around $.70 per gallon. Current prices have increased to nearly $4 per gallon. For FY 2009 we have budgeted $12.3 million for fuel, and even that may not be enough.”

The School Board also directed the Superintendent to design a comprehensive program and operations review that builds on the rigorous academic and fiscal performance accountability system put in place over the last two years. The program and operations review will be undertaken openly and transparently and will be designed to capture community input.
For complete information on the FY 2009 approved budget, visit http://www.fcps.edu/news/fy2009.htm .