Get the basics on the FCPS budget.
Learn About FY2021 Budget Development
The Commonwealth of Virginia requires state and local governments to operate with a balanced budget. As a result, Fairfax County Public Schools, like the Fairfax County Government, historically ends each fiscal year with a positive balance. This balance can include carryover for outstanding obligations or undelivered orders, including goods or services that have not been received or performed as of June 30. FCPS does allow schools to carry over unspent funding from certain supply and hourly accounts, encouraging schools to use multiyear planning to meet student needs.
FCPS uses multiple strategies to address budget shortfalls, including conserving resources and reducing spending during the fiscal year, where possible. As a result, the net funding available at year-end is presented to the School Board as an available balance. Recently, this funding has been allocated to the beginning balance for the following year instead of being spent for current year needs.
There are many factors unique to school systems that can trigger educational cost increases that outpace inflation. For example, increases in labor costs due to rising student enrollment or changes in staffing standards can drastically impact school budgets because K-12 education is so labor intensive. Understanding these factors will help citizens understand the financial challenges that schools confront today as well as the context in which budgeting decisions are made.