Fairfax County School Board Passes FY 2019 Budget
The Fairfax County School Board has adopted the Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) FY 2019 Approved Budget of $2.9 billion that includes an additional $53.1 million as part of a multi-year plan to enhance teacher salaries, and $43.9 million for a step increase for all eligible employees.
“This budget was made possible because of cooperation between the School Board and the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors,” said Janie Strauss, Fairfax County School Board chair. “Our commitment to provide competitive salaries for teachers was at the forefront of our budget request this year. Both Boards understood the critical need to make teacher pay more competitive. This year’s budget will enable us to offer more competitive salaries for our teachers while making it possible for us to retain and recruit the best possible teachers for our students.”
“Every budget cycle is challenging as we try to balance the needs of the school district with available funds,” said Superintendent Scott S. Brabrand. “We appreciate the willingness of the Board of Supervisors to listen and work with us, providing the funding necessary to increase salaries for teachers and align salaries for support staff members with the market average. We were also able to add a step, retroactive to the FY 2018 budget, for teachers in the bachelor of arts (BA) lanes. This will go a long way to ensuring we have the best people in the classroom, preparing our students for success in school, postsecondary education, and the workplace.”
The FY 2019 Approved Budget includes an increase of $97.1 million, or 4.9 percent, in the county transfer. The State budget process has not yet concluded. FCPS state revenue projections have been updated since the Advertised Budget by increasing state aid $8.7 million and an increase of $5.0 million in sales tax.
The FY 2019 Approved Budget includes $1.3 million for teachers whose salaries have capped out under newly adopted teacher salary scales. The budget also includes an increase of $13.4 million for employees’ health insurance, assuming a 5.5 percent rate increase. Contributions to the Virginia Retirement System (VRS) are $9.8 million lower than in FY 2018, due to a lower rate being adopted by VRS trustees, and there is no change in the rate of contributions to the Educational Employees’ Supplementary Retirement System of Fairfax County (ERFC). Contributions to the Fairfax County Employees’ Retirement System (FCERS) will increase by $3.5 million.
The projected enrollment for FY 2019 is 190,168. FCPS anticipates an increase of 4,320 students, or 8.3 percent, to be eligible for free and reduced-price meals. The district’s cost per pupil is projected to be $15,318 for FY 2019, fifth out of the 10 area school districts.
The Board also directed the Superintendent to analyze the rates of suspension and rates of referral to the Hearings Office by school, as well as any discrepancy in rates by ethnic group, special education status, or other factors that may indicate disproportionality in discipline. Based on this analysis, the Superintendent will present his recommendations at a fall School Board work session regarding professional development and best practices to improve the school climate and the use of tiered interventions provided by school, regional, and centrally based resources, and possible staffing.
The Board further amended the main motion directing the Superintendent to work with the Office of Research and Strategic Improvement and the Chief Academic and Equity Officer to present a plan by January 2019 outlining steps to conduct an internal and external review of race and income disproportionality in discipline outcomes in FCPS. This plan will include a report to be submitted to the board by June 2019 and include recommended strategies and measurable outcome goals.
The Board also amended the main motion by adjusting the steps below the hourly living wage minimum of $14.50 for the Classroom Instructional Support (CIS) scale and the Food Services pay scale to the hourly living wage minimum of $14.50, thus bringing all FCPS contracted employees at or above the hourly living wage. The financial cost of the living wage for food service workers will be absorbed within the Food and Nutrition Services Fund.
The Board also passed the following follow-on motions:
• The School Board directed the Superintendent to provide, at a September work session, potential future BA lane salary scale options, including but not limited to options to grandfather the BA lane teachers starting from Step 14, from Step 16, and from Step 18, for consideration, discussion, and adoption by the School Board. The Superintendent is expected to present not only the costs of implementation of those options but also the detailed analyses. The Superintendent is further directed to engage the teacher associations while developing the options and provide the School Board with periodic progress reports prior to the work session. It is the expectation of the School Board to make decisions by the end of October so that that the funds for any adopted option could be included in the FY 2020 Proposed Budget.
• The Board directed the Superintendent as part of the FY 2020 Budget process to include the funding required, not to exceed $0.4 million, to provide full benefits (e.g., health insurance and retirement) to those parent liaisons working an average of 20 to 24 hours per week as well as to the five region representatives in Family and School Partnerships who oversee and support parent liaisons.
• The Board directed the Superintendent to collaborate with the County Executive as part of the FY 2020 budget development process to incorporate a minimum living wage for FCPS employees that is comparable to the minimum living wage set for county employees.
• The Board directed the Superintendent as part of the FY 2018 final budget review to prioritize setting aside funding to provide a one-time bonus for employees who will not receive a salary increase as a result of the compensation adjustments included in the FY 2019 Approved Budget. A placeholder should be included in the Superintendent’s recommendations for the FY 2018 final budget review.
• The Board directed the Superintendent to provide a one-year step increase for CIS employees grandfathered at their FY 2017 salary as a result of the new FY 2018 classroom instructional assistant salary scales totaling $0.1 million utilizing available placeholder funding that was set aside as part of the FY 2018 midyear budget review.
• The Board directed the Superintendent to provide a one-year step increase for teachers on the BA lanes whose salaries are above the market and the top of the scale with the implementation of the new teacher salary scale totaling $1.0 million utilizing available placeholder funding that was set aside as part of the FY 2018 midyear budget review.
The FY 2019 Approved Budget takes effect July 1. Additional details are available online.
Note: For more information, contact the FCPS Office of Budget Services at 571-423-3600.