Fairfax County School Board Adopts Legislative Priorities for 2017

News Release
December 14, 2016

The Fairfax County School Board has adopted legislative priorities in two broad areas for 2017: providing adequate state support for public education and preserving local school board decision making authority and flexibility.  The Board hosted its annual Legislative Briefing on December 12 for federal, state, and local policymakers from Fairfax County to discuss its priorities as well as the outlook for the upcoming Virginia General Assembly and U.S. Congressional sessions. 

The School Board annually adopts a legislative program to inform public officials and others of its positions on state and federal legislative policy issues of importance to Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS), and identifies its policy priorities for the upcoming year.  The Board adopted its 2017 program at the December 1 business meeting.

Some of the specifics in these priority areas that were discussed with the Fairfax County delegation include:

  • Bringing Virginia Retirement System (VRS) contribution rates to 100 percent of the state’s recommended rate in FY 2019 as originally planned (not in FY 2018);
  • Restoring state teacher salary funding lost due to General Assembly budget actions to address state revenue shortfalls earlier this year;
  • Ensuring that students have multiple pathways to graduation and the flexibility to explore their career interests in preparation for postsecondary education; and
  • Continuing to work to reduce the number and impact of federally- and state-mandated assessments, ensuring a balanced assessment system that helps to inform instruction.

“Simply restoring the original timeline for VRS contribution rate increases would save Fairfax County Public Schools as much as $21 million in FY 2018, while leaving in place the Commonwealth’s promise to ensure the state retirement system’s long-term solvency,” said Ryan McElveen, the Board’s state legislative liaison.  “Reinstating state funding for teacher salary increases would bring an additional $12 million over the biennium in state funds back to Fairfax.”

The Board’s federal legislative liaison, Karen Corbett Sanders, also highlighted the importance of the federal government’s contributions to K-12 education. “Finally living up to the promises that the federal government has made to support students with disabilities, students in poverty, and federally-connected students would go a long way to addressing our local budget pressures,” said Corbett Sanders.

Interim Superintendent Steve Lockard shared the FCPS budget outlook with the assembled lawmakers, adding that “we (in FCPS) appreciate our partnership and your support.  We certainly have our challenges, but we can solve many of them by working together as we have in the past.” The full text of the Board’s 2017 State and Federal Legislative Program and Priority Positions is available online.

The 2017 Virginia General Assembly convenes for a 45-day session on January 11, 2017.  The 115th Congress is scheduled to convene on January 3, 2017, and the Presidential inauguration is scheduled for January 20, 2017.

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For more information, contact the FCPS Office of Government Relations at 571-423-1240