School Board State and Federal Legislative Program
Focusing on the future of education
The School Board annually adopts a legislative program to inform public officials and others of its positions on legislative policy issues of importance to Fairfax County Public Schools. The program contains the School Board's positions on state and federal issues of major and current significance. To help bring some focus to the most critical issues facing FCPS, the Board has identified a subset of these program positions as "priorities".
Fairfax County School Board 2021 State Priority Positions
The Fairfax County School Board (FCSB) believes that public education should be based on a strong partnership between the Commonwealth and its local school divisions, with the state supporting the provision of locally based public education. Adequate and appropriate state funding for public pre-K, elementary, and secondary education—with the state fairly sharing in the true costs of implementing Virginia’s Standards of Quality, Standards of Accreditation, Standards of Learning, and other state mandated education related programs – is critical to ensuring high quality instructional and support programs for all students in the Commonwealth. While we understand the state’s role in setting and measuring standards, the supervision of schools and flexibility in the implementation of educational policies should remain with local school boards as specified in the Virginia Constitution. This is particularly true considering the changes and challenges faced by local school boards due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
NEAR TERM FUNDING AND POLICY PRIORITIES
Pandemic Related Funding Resources
- The Fairfax County School Board (FCSB) supports state funding to address potential shortfalls in education funding due to reductions in state revenue, in student population counts used in Basic Aid and other state funding formulas, and in food and nutrition service budgets, resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic (V.2) as well as increased state resources to address school division needs related to addressing public health emergencies, including resources to provide school-based COVID-19 testing capabilities (V.3).
Pandemic Related Policy Flexibilities
The FCSB supports permanent continuation of temporary flexibilities granted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including:
- Attendance reporting which allow for additional measures of attendance based on student engagement, including participation in virtual and remote learning activities (B.3).
- Expanded authority to conduct electronic communication meetings, including removal of limitations on the remote participation of members (J.6).
- Providing local school divisions flexibility in counting virtual, and remote learning when calculating instructional time as well as expanded local flexibility to determine the appropriate allocation of instructional time at the elementary level based on student needs across subject areas (T.2).
- Continued graduation and testing requirement flexibility for students affected by school closures and subsequent virtual and hybrid instruction school reopening in response to the COVID19 pandemic (T.3).
Technology and Cybersecurity
- The FCSB supports increased state contributions for local educational technology infrastructure improvements and modernization, to address the cyber and data security needs of school divisions, and to improve home and remote connectivity through expanded broadband access. (F.1, F.6).
College and Workforce Readiness
- The FCSB supports ensuring students have multiple pathways to earn a diploma and the flexibility to explore career clusters of interest in preparation for postsecondary and workforce opportunities (D.4).
Open Meeting Laws
- The FCSB supports adjusting the threshold for open meeting requirements such that an open meeting is identified based on a percentage of a governing Board’s size meeting rather than the current standard of more than two members meeting, regardless of a Board’s size (J.8).
Changes in State Funding Formulas
- The FCSB supports full restoration of the Cost of Competing adjustment for support positions (V.19) as well as funding support targeted to individual schools and divisions with high concentrations of and significant numbers of students in poverty, English learners, and students receiving special education services (V.8).
CONTINUED LONG-TERM FUNDING AND POLICY PRIORITIES
Early Childhood Education
- The FCSB supports increased state per-pupil funding for pre-K programming and related facilities costs (E.2), flexibility in the use of VPI funds to allow accounting for local at-risk criteria to determine eligibility (E.3), use of VPI funds in programs serving three-year-olds (E.4), and additional options to confirm VPI eligibility for families enrolling after the initial Fall membership verification date (E.5).
English Learners and Accountability
- The FCSB supports additional funding resources for the provision of appropriate academic and English language instructional programs for English learners, particularly for English learner students new to the United States who enter Virginia schools with limited or interrupted formal education (SLIFE) (H.1, H.4), and state accreditation standards which recognize the unique circumstances of SLIFE students when incorporating these students into state measures of non-academic student performance (T.11).
Environmental Sustainability/Renewable Energy
- The FCSB supports continued efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and operational demand for energy through efficiency, conservation, renewable energy, and education; state incentives, opportunities, and targeted goals for the expansion of renewable energy and energy efficiency; and removing existing barriers to such efforts (I.1), including state resources to support the deployment of electric school buses in local school divisions as well as state capital funding dedicated to sustainability-related building construction, renovation and infrastructure (I.2).
- The FCSB supports policies which provide students and employees with an equitable, safe, and supportive school and workplace environment (L.1) as well as policies that protect students and employees, on the basis of age, race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, national origin, marital status, or disability, from discrimination under any educational program, activity, or employment (L.2).
- The FCSB supports reductions in the number and impact of mandated, standardized assessments on students, teachers, and schools, shifting toward a more balanced assessment system, including performance-based assessments which inform instruction (T.5)
School Quality Indicator – Chronic Absenteeism
- The FCSB encourages the Virginia Board of Education to consider a different indicator of school quality or student success than chronic absenteeism under the Standards of Accreditation (T.15).
State Funding Formula Changes
- The FCSB supports eliminating the state’s arbitrary cap on support position funding (U.6), use of true weighted averages rather than linear weighted estimators when calculating the state’s share of average teacher salaries and other education costs (V.7), and a comprehensive analytical update to the now 18-year-old 2002 JLARC Review of Elementary and Secondary School Funding to determine the adequacy of existing Standards of Quality (U.2).
Student Discipline Alternatives
- The FCSB supports continued local school board authority and discretion for offering alternative education programs to students, including those who have been disciplined; as well as increased availability of state funding resources for local school boards to implement alternatives to suspension and/or expulsion, such as restorative justice initiatives (X.3).
Student Mental and Behavioral Health Supports
- The FCSB supports significantly increased and flexibly provided state resources to allow school divisions to address the specific mental and behavioral health needs of their students (Y.1, Y.2)
Fairfax County Board School Board 2021 Federal Priority Positions
The Fairfax County School Board (FCSB) supports full and adequate funding to implement federal mandates, such as those found in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), as well as broad flexibility to empower states and localities to fulfill mandated program requirements.
Pandemic Funding Resources
- The FCSB supports additional federal funding to help school divisions address the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and return to school activities, including funding dedicated to remediation and learning recovery, special education services, technology and broadband provision, food and nutrition service revenue losses, social-emotional supports, and services for English learners. (FED.20)
Pandemic Related Policy Flexibility
- The FCSB supports continued federal testing requirement flexibility for students affected by school closures and subsequent virtual and hybrid instruction school reopening in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. (FED.13)
Technology and Broadband Connectivity
- The FCSB supports continued and adequate funding for educational technology and internet connectivity (E-Rate), including additional flexibility to use E-Rate funds for mobile internet infrastructure, devices, and connectivity for remote or at-home use. In addition, the FCSB supports federal resources dedicated to cyber and data security for school and school division technology infrastructure. (FED.24)
- The FCSB supports repealing the U.S. Department of Education’s Final Rule under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (released May 2020), which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs or activities receiving federal financial assistance and in the interim returning to the pre-May Rule. (FED.21)
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
- The FCSB supports mandatory funding for special education to fully meet the federal commitment to fund 40 percent of the “excess costs” of special education as promised since the 1975 adoption of federal special education laws (currently known as IDEA). (FED.1)
- The FCSB supports full funding for the federal Impact Aid program, which is intended to offset the local impact of Fairfax’s over 19,000 federally-connected students as well as those associated with federal military base relocation decisions. (FED.8)
View the 2021 School Board State and Federal Legislative Program
The School Board annually adopts a legislative program to inform public officials and others of its positions on legislative policy issues of importance to the Fairfax County Public Schools.