Superintendent Proposes Needs-Based Budget Focused on Educational Excellence for All Students and Competitive Compensation

By Office of Communications
February 09, 2024

Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) Superintendent Dr. Michelle C. Reid has proposed a budget for the 2024-25 school year that reflects the school division’s unwavering commitment to success for each and every student, and recognition of employees’ hard work and dedication.

The FY 2025 Proposed Budget was presented during the Fairfax County School Board’s regularly scheduled meeting on Thursday, February 8. The Proposed Budget totals $3.8 billion, an increase of $301.8 million, or 8.6%, over the FY 2024 Approved Budget. The superintendent is requesting an additional $254.0 million, or a 10.5% increase, from the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. Nearly 86% of the budget is focused on instruction. 

The budget is closely aligned with the FCPS 2023-30 Strategic Plan, which aims to deliver a strong academic start for its youngest students and prepare graduates for a thriving future. It proposes funding to maintain existing class size formulas and provide necessary support to all students. It also accounts for increases in both student enrollment and the need for resources to sustainably support students eligible for free and reduced-price meals, special education services, and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) services. 

In addition, the budget seeks to cement FCPS as a top employer in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. It prioritizes competitive compensation for all FCPS employees by providing a 6.0% compensation adjustment for all employees and continues a 2.0% compensation supplement adopted by the General Assembly during FY 2024. These investments are a key component of the FCPS strategic plan which ensures students are surrounded and supported by outstanding staff. 

“This needs-based budget will enable us to preserve our mission of excellence, equity, and opportunity for each and every one of our students,” said Dr. Reid. “As we commit to delivering a world-class education, we must resolutely maintain high expectations for our students. In turn, this requires us to provide sustainable, well-resourced high support. Our focus is on supporting the needs of each and every learner, as we attract and retain a world-class workforce that prepares our young people for jobs — and futures — yet to be imagined.”

The continuation of key multiyear initiatives is also addressed in this budget including expansion of inclusive preschool, environmental initiatives adopted by the Joint Environmental Task Force, and implementation of a modernized human resources system. To improve student wellbeing outside of the classroom, multiyear initiatives also include additional certified athletic trainers, enhanced fine and performing arts stipends, and expanded athletic offerings. The budget also continues to fund 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. 

In reflecting upon this needs-based proposed budget, Dr. Reid addressed the July 2023 Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission's (JLARC) study of Virginia’s K12 funding formulas. The report validated multiple funding concerns FCPS has noted for years, namely that Virginia school divisions receive less funding per student than the 50-state average, the regional average, and many of Virginia’s neighboring states including West Virginia, Maryland, and Kentucky. This equates to approximately $1,900 per student in state underfunding of Virginia’s students, which in FCPS alone equates to $345 million to support students.

“I appreciate the steadfast partnership of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors as we work together to deliver a budget that will position all of our students — and the entire Fairfax community — for success both now and in the future,” added Dr. Reid. 

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 market scale adjustment of 6% 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 market cyclical review of school-based office positions.

Additionally, 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’s (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.

Watch the superintendent's full presentation to the School Board on YouTube or view budget documents on FCPS’ website.