Fairfax County School Board Adopts FY 2025 Advertised Budget Focused on Most Pressing Needs — Competitive Compensation and Excellence in Education

By Office of Communications
February 23, 2024

Last night, the Fairfax County School Board adopted Fairfax County Public Schools’ Fiscal Year (FY) 2025 Advertised Budget. The budget prioritizes the school division’s most urgent needs which include providing employees with competitive compensation so that each and every student has access to the world class education they deserve. 

The Advertised Budget totals $3.8 billion, an increase of $301.8 million, or 8.6%, over the FY 2024 Approved Budget. The Fairfax County School Board and Superintendent Dr. Michelle Reid are requesting an additional $254.0 million, or a 10.5% increase, from the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. 

“This is a needs-based budget that represents the funding necessary to support our schools,” said Dr. Reid. “We remain resolute in our focus on continuing to ensure excellence for each and every one of our students, and that begins with investing in our staff.”

The State of Virginia has historically underfunded FCPS by continuing to use outdated staffing formulas that leave school districts around the Commonwealth lacking the meaningful support needed for excellence in public education. Virginia provides less funding per student than many neighboring states including Maryland, Kentucky, and West Virginia.

Additionally, the County transfer to FCPS over the five year period (FY 2019-23) has averaged 52.6% of the County’s disbursements. The County’s FY 2025 budget proposal provides FCPS 51.4%, a difference of $63 million. The school division’s local transfer request for a 10.5% increase is less than requests from Loudoun County Public Schools’ (11.3%) and Prince William County Public Schools’ (10.6%). There are no new initiatives included in the FCPS Advertised Budget request. 

Fairfax County Public Schools is the largest school division in Virginia. When compared to neighboring school districts, FCPS ranks near the bottom in pay for teachers. The budget addresses this by designating a 6.0% compensation adjustment for all employees. 

“We cannot retain a world class school system without making sure we retain and recruit world class staff. We must be competitive locally and nationally,” said Fairfax County School Board Chair and Providence District Representative Karl Frisch. “This bare bones budget is a start.” 

FCPS’ FY 2025 Advertised Budget also addresses additional resources and appropriate staffing to support a growing and increasingly diverse student population. Overall FCPS enrollment is expected to have increased 2.3% since FY 2023. There is even more growth in the number of students receiving additional services. This includes free and reduced-priced meals (FRM) student enrollment expected to be up 19.4%, English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) 12.9%, and special education 10.7%. The increase in preschool students receiving special education services is expected to be up 47.2%.

The budget acknowledges the growing demands on public education including expansion of preschool, intensive family engagement, updated technology, green school initiatives, increased mental health services as well as additional support for athletics and fine arts. Still, FCPS remains in the middle of all school districts in the Washington area for cost per pupil spending.

“We appreciate our longstanding and collaborative partnership with the Board of Supervisors,” said Dr. Reid. They are strong supporters of our schools and our students. We have the greatest confidence in their efforts to help us bring our 2023-30 strategic plan to life. A thriving public education system fuels community prosperity.” 

A joint meeting between the School Board and the Board of Supervisors is scheduled for Tuesday, February 27, to discuss FY 2025 Advertised Budgets.

Watch the February 22 budget presentationVisit FCPS’ Budget webpage.

Investing in Excellence: Proposed Budget at a Glance

Prioritizing Competitive Compensation

As with the FY 2024 budget, the FY 2025 Proposed Budget remains committed to making FCPS the employer of choice for outstanding educators and staff. To support that goal, the budget includes:  

  • $170.7 million to provide a 6% market scale adjustment for all employees.  
  • $55.3 million for the recurring cost of a 2.0% compensation supplement adopted by the General Assembly during FY 2024. 
  • $0.3 million for a cyclical market review of school-based office positions.

To address retention and succession planning, FCPS is recommending an ERFC Legacy Deferred Retirement Option Program (DROP). This program allows eligible employees to continue working beyond their retirement eligibility while continuing to accumulate retirement benefits.

Additional Support for All Students

  • The budget includes $46.6 million to maintain existing class size formulas and provides necessary support to students.  
  • Of the $46.6 million investment, $7.8 million is needed to cover an increase of 1,749 students compared to the FY 2024 projection.  
  • The balance of funding, $38.8 million, will provide additional support to students as indicated by free or reduced-price meal eligibility, special education services, or English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) services. 

Continuation of Multiyear Initiatives 

  • Inclusive Preschool Expansion: $2.1 million toward expanding inclusive preschool programs, where children under 5 years old with and without disabilities can learn and grow together.   
  • Joint Environmental Task Force (JET): $1.9 million for final Year 3 recommendations which support carbon neutrality, Get2Green, and electric buses.  
  • Fine and Performing Arts Stipends: $1.1 million to extra duty supplements for theater production roles, drumline, and color guard. 
  • Expanding Athletics: $0.8 million to offer high school boys volleyball and girls wrestling. This will broaden opportunities for students to find or nurture their passion and enhance their wellbeing.  
  • HR Technology Infrastructure Project Year 3: $0.7 million to update and fully automate the workflow system to support core operations for the school division. 
  • Certified Athletic Trainers Year 2: $0.6 million to address the second year of a five-year plan to provide one additional certified athletic trainer at each high school.

The budget also continues to fund the assistant director of student activities positions previously funded with ESSER III.

Special education daily contract extensions, funding for the safety and security screening program, and late buses to support academics and activities at middle schools are several of the priorities to be addressed at year end.