Superintendent Brabrand Presents FCPS Budget for FY 2021
Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) Superintendent Scott S. Brabrand presented a $3.2 billion Fiscal Year 2021 (FY 21) school operating fund Proposed Budget, with a focus on employee compensation, to the Fairfax County School Board at its business meeting on January 9. The FY 21 Proposed Budget represents an increase of $172.2 million, or 5.8 percent, over the FY 20 Approved Budget.
“In FY 20, we completed a multi-year plan to bring teacher salary scales to the market average,” said Brabrand. “The proposed FY 21 budget continues to prioritize market competitive compensation for our teachers and staff. My goal is to have FCPS leading the way in teacher compensation in our region. We recognize that teachers have the power to change lives and deserve salaries commensurate with the critical work they do each day in our classrooms. Our focus is achieving success for each of our more than 189,000 students and that can only be accomplished by ensuring that we have the ability to recruit and retain the very best teachers.”
The proposed budget includes $50.1 million for a step increase for eligible employees, $15.4 million for additional salary scale enhancements, and $25.3 million for a 1 percent market scale adjustment. The FY 21 budget also includes $2.7 million for the second year of a three-year plan to bring the salaries of instructional assistants and public health training assistants to 50 percent of teacher salaries in the salary scale for teachers with a bachelor’s degree. Other proposed expenditures include $28.8 million for enrollment and student demographic adjustments, $13.3 million for projected health insurance increases, and $15.6 million for employer contribution rate increases for the Virginia Retirement System.
The proposed budget requests a County transfer increase of 4.2 percent or $89.7 million, primarily to fund compensation and benefit increases and to cover the costs associated with enrollment increases and student demographic changes.
“I have prioritized collaboration with the School Board and our county funding partners and the result has been two consecutive years of fully-funded budget requests for our school division,” said Brabrand. “We are grateful for the support demonstrated by the County Executive and the Board of Supervisors. The budget I am proposing for FY 21 is transparent and deserving of full funding. It continues to ensure that every student receives an equitable education in an inclusive environment where access, opportunity, and achievement are afforded to all. I am committed to continuing the productive collaboration established with the county as we move through this year’s budget process.”
The FY 21 Proposed Budget allocates $601.6 million for special education services—an increase of 7.5 percent over the FY 20 Approved Budget—to support nearly 1,000 additional special education students by funding teachers, assistants and attendants. The funding also recognizes a shift toward greater levels of resource-intensive services provided to special education students. A total of $3.5 million is also set aside for special education chair positions at elementary schools with large special education populations. The new positions will support special education compliance and procedures (local screening committees, IEP meetings), instruction, and behavior-crisis management.
Other proposed funding initiatives include $4.0 million to expand FCPSOn—FCPS’s one-to-one computer initiative—to middle schools and maintain ongoing laptop lease obligations at high schools; $3.5 million to support needs-based staffing for schools with increased free or reduced-price meals eligibility to ensure low class sizes; $0.3 million for substance abuse prevention specialists to support the equity plan for discipline policies and practices; and $0.3 million which would include a recruitment specialist to launch Call Me MISTER, a nationally-recognized program designed to increase the pool of available male teachers from broader and more diverse backgrounds.
The superintendent is also recommending that the School Board consider funding $1.5 million for dropout prevention, including on-time graduation coordinators for nine high schools; $1.4 million for additional school counselors; and $0.8 million for high school per-pupil allocations based on the number of students eligible for free and reduced-price meals (threshold to be determined) to address student activity fund equity.
The proposed operating budget continues to align with FCPS’s strategic plan goals: 54 percent of the entire budget allocated for programs that support Student Success; 29 percent for Premier Workforce; 12.7 percent for Resource Stewardship; and 4.2 percent for Caring Culture.
The presentation of the FY 2021 Proposed Budget is the starting point of the budget process, which ends in May with the School Board’s adoption of the Approved Budget. FCPS’s FY 21 begins July 1, 2020.
The Fairfax County School Board will hold a work session on Monday, January 13, and a public hearing on the FY 21 budget on Monday, January 27 (and January 28 and 29, if needed). An additional budget work session is scheduled for Thursday, January 30.
The School Board will adopt its Advertised Budget on February 6 and present it to the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, April 14.
Note: For more information, contact the FCPS Office of Budget Services at 571-423-3600.