May 11, 2012
State and Local Funding Picture Now Clear
Spring has brought some interesting developments to the FCPS budget at the local and state levels.
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved a 4.5 percent increase over the 2011-12 school year (FY 2012) transfer to FCPS, which is $63.3 million less than the amount requested in the School Board’s Advertised Budget. Because the state provides FCPS with approximately 22 percent of our funding, FCPS has a greater reliance on local funding. Fairfax County Public Schools receives nearly 70 percent of its budget from the County.
On the state level, the General Assembly has passed a budget that provides $44 million more in state aid and sales tax than what was projected in the School Board’s Advertised Budget. However, the state budget also contains a significant change to the Virginia Retirement System (VRS) that will impact the FCPS budget. Beginning July 1, 2012, new employees must fully pay the 5 percent employee contribution to the Virginia Retirement System and, for existing employees, Virginia school systems and localities may either shift the full 5 percent employee contribution to employees beginning July 1, 2012, or may phase in the mandated shift over five years.
To offset the impact to employees, the state is requiring that FCPS and all other school divisions increase salaries to cover the implemented increase in employees’ contributions. In addition to the mandate, the VRS has also made changes to the benefit structure, depending on when employees were hired. For more information on those changes, visit http://www.varetire.org/.
Now that the local and state revenue projections for the 2012-13 school year (FY 2013) have solidified, the School Board will determine what priorities to fund from their Advertised Budget, including employee compensation. Superintendent Jack Dale has proposed that FCPS implement the mandate to shift the 5 percent VRS employee retirement contribution to employees in FY 2013. Offsetting this cost, the salary scales will increase for all employees by 5 percent. Completing the mandate in one year will also avoid deferring implementation costs to future years.
Superintendent Dale also recommends shifting 2 percent of the employee contribution to the Educational Employees’ Supplementary Retirement System of Fairfax County (ERFC) to FCPS. The ERFC shift provides an increase in take-home pay for employees, maintains funding for ERFC at the same combined level of employee and employer contributions, and does not reduce employees’ ERFC retirement benefits.
Some of the required budget expenditures for FY 2013 include accommodating an additional estimated 4,000 students and addressing educational impacts resulting from student demographic changes estimated at $48 million, and increasing rates for employee benefits. Recommended funding for instructional programs includes providing extended learning time for students estimated at $5 million, adding to the staffing reserve to mitigate large class sizes estimated at $2 million, expanding elementary World Languages estimated at $0.9 million, and eliminating athletic fees estimated at $1.7 million. The School Board will make funding decisions when they approve the final budget on May 24 (see below for more budget-related dates).
For more information on the budget, visit http://www.fcps.edu/news/fy2013.shtml.
Upcoming Important Dates
|May 14||School Board Budget Work Session (Gatehouse Administration Center)|
|May 15, 16||School Board Public Hearings (Jackson Middle School)|
|May 17||School Board Budget Work Session (Jackson Middle School)|
|May 24||School Board Adopts FY 2013 Approved Budget|
|July 1||FY 2013 Begins|
Want to Get Involved?
- Learn more at the FCPS budget website at http://www.fcps.edu/news/fy2013.shtml.
- Attend School Board meetings or watch them live on Red Apple 21.
- Speak at a School Board public hearing (http://www.fcps.edu/schlbd/meetings/meetings.shtml).
- Speak at a Board of Supervisors public hearing (www.fairfaxcounty.gov/bosclerk/speaker_bos.htm).