2016-17 Next Steps Responses

Staff responses to Work Session Next Steps

DATE   Response
6/12/17 Pathways to Graduation  

Have Michael Molloy prepare summary on recent activity of General Assembly initiative to allow flexibility of coding in lieu of world language and provide the Board with recommended next steps for upcoming GA session, include this issue in legislative agenda and strategy

A summary is being drafted and will be shared with the Board when completed

Provide additional information to power point regarding academic planning tools for students and families


Accept staff recommendation to delay science and social studies graduation requirement changes for one year


Staff to relook at world language requirements to determine if we can increase flexibility and access to 7th grade HS credit bearing course


Staff to provide recommendations for granting graduation credits with flexibility in PE

ISD will organize a steering committee during the first semester of the 2017-18 school year with representation from across the division to review the local graduation requirements for science and social studies. Staff will make recommendations to the School Board by the end of February 2018. Additionally, ISD is currently exploring options and next steps to increase flexibility and access to 7th graders for world language courses for high school credit, and ISD is researching options for flexibility in the physical education requirements.

1/23/17 Strategic Plan Goal 1, Strategies 1 & 2 - Student Success  

Focus on ensuring that there is equity of opportunity in science curriculum at each elementary school to include, among other things, science fairs, STEM labs, etc.

Provide the school level reports of metrics being prepared for the RAS when they are available.

Bring a recommendation to the Board on an equity/closing gaps dashboard for FCPS, with recommended measures of student and system progress.

Bring recommendation to Board on alternative measures of school quality that take into account level of challenges and growth.

Provide 5 year analysis of number of students entering ELL programs by level and school and school size.

Provide disaggragated data for students with disabilities.

Provide more data regarding reasons for overall decline for all students and English language learners passing both course and SOL for Algebra 1 by the end of Grade 8

Provide additional data in reading and math scores at division level comparing students who defer to those students who attend local level 4 and level 4 centers.

Consider developing metric that will capture parent/student input on the educational experience as it relates to student success.

12/5/16  ERFC  

Clerk to provide links to next step responses from 9/19/16 ERFC work session in one document.

Provide disaggregated data regarding retirement age of 60 for the first two columns on page 7


This next step was answered during the January 19th Work Session.

  Compensation Study  

Provide distribution of current employees along the pay scale.

Show detail of $1.8 M implementation cot for classroom instructional support scale.

  Facilities - Membership Analysis and Trends  
  Provide more data about reasons transfer of students in HS including data on transfers by pyramid on page 9 Attachment 1.01 Transfers by Assigned Reason is a table that includes transfer of students by each school, by grade, by pyramid.  There are a variety of reasons that HS students transfer out of their residing school into another FCPS school.  Overall, the largest number of HS students transfer in order to access Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (1,784).  The second largest number of transfers is for special education services (1,101).  The third largest reason is through the student transfer regulation for curriculum reasons (1,006).  This regulation allows for students who require AP or IB curriculum or who wish to access a specific curricular program such as a specific world language.  
  Include trend analysis on program, reason and grade in transfer data on pages 9 and 10 The chart, FCPS Historical Student Transfer by Assigned REason as a Percent of Total Membership, illustrates the top reason for transfer over the last five years has been AAP, followed by the Student Tansfer Regulation.  The AAP trend is increasing overall, where the Student Transfer Regulation transfers has started to decline.
  Identify migration trends expected in schools in development zones based on the type of multi-unit dwellings being built (such as Tysons Corner and Route 1). The Office of Facilities Planning receives the latest IPLS housing information each December.  A full analysis and report will be provided to the Board by April 2017 in order to respond with the most recent information available.
  What is considered "turnover rate" for households/existing neighborhoods where students are maturing out of school (i.e. how long will they stay in home once children have moved out) on page 14 The Office of Facilities Planning receives the latest IPLS housing information each December.  A full analysis and report will be provided to the Board by April 2017 in order to respond with the most recent information available.
  Provide additional data on reasons for net migration loss by grade level, just grade 12 on page 4

Net migration is a term used to compare one school year to the previous year and identifies the difference of new students (excluding kindergarten students) to the number of students who did not return.  The chart on page 4 noted that SY 2016-17 saw a net decrease of (-806) twelfth graders, which would be 11th graders who did not return from the previous school year.  In SY 2015-16, 1,220 eleventh graders did not return for SY 2016-17 and 414 new students migrated into FCPS as twelfth graders.  There were 14, 549 11th graders in SY 2015-16 and 13,647 12th graders in SY 2016-17.  The difference is -902.  The migration reports do not account for students who may repeat either grade.


  Provide detailed information on the Lee Pyramid Middle School level transfers data on page 21 Key Middle School is located in the Lee HS pyramid.  It experienced (110) transfers out due to the following reasons: AAP (-80); Student Transfer Regulation (-13); Special Education (-12); Immersion (-3); Alternative Programs (-2).  Key Middle School experienced (13) transfers in due to: Special Education (+12); and "Other (+1), which includes the following: ESOL, Foster Care, School Choice, Non-Fairfax Resident, and Temporary Housing.  The net transfers as of September 30, 2016 were (-98). Key Middle School's total enrollment was 801 students.
  Include data by cohort for each grade level for enrollment by pyramid on page 223 Attachment 3.04 Total Membership Residing by School by Grade is a table that includes student cohorts by eah school, by grade, by pyramid.
10/24/16 CIP - Impact of New Development across Fairfax County  
  How many students will be coming into the County and where as a result of these development plans? This response is included in the  CIP Presentation
  Consider a joint meeting with BOS on socioeconomic disparities and impact on schools, after pc schools committee. Joint meetings are established through the School Board governance committee liaison and the BOS counterpart.
  Provide more information to School Board on Proffers.  This response is included in the CIP Presentation
  Provide information on how many teachers take advantage of programs to encourage them to live in County.  The Workforce Dwelling Unit (WDU) Rental Program is a magnet housing designed to help working households afford to live in Fairfax. It is administered through Fairfax County. Historically, FCPS has allotted 7 slots.

Under the new Memorandum Of Understanding effective November 16, 2016, FCPS will have 15 slots allotted in this program. In comparison, Fairfax County Fire, Police, and Rescue have 14 slots. INOVA has 14 slots.

Currently there are 17 teachers and 6 bus drivers from FCPS using the magnet housing program.

There is a waiting list of FCPS employees seeking to use the magnet housing program. The wait list is maintained by the Department of Housing, which contains 20 and 63 bus drivers.

9/19/16 ERFC  
  Provide short-term and long-term cost implications on FCPS as the employer if ERFC were eliminated

The ERFC termination analysis was completed and the esults were presented on November 7.  The analysis showed that the first year cost of ERFC termination under the method recommended by the ERFC actuary was quite high ($69 million) and the time period before savings were realized was long (the termination had a higher cot than the open plan until the 12th year following closure).



 Expand chart on page 4 to include savings for both new hires and non-vested employees and vested but not yet eligible for full service retirement, including deferred vested members:

  • lower interest crediting rate on member accounts to 3%, 3.5%
  • increasing minimum retirement age to 60, 62, maybe higher or lower
  • all bullets on page 3

The analysis to expand the potential ERFC modifications to include non-vested employees was presented on November 7.  The potential modifications were the same as those presented on 9/19, i.e., reducing the interest crediting rate to 4%, establishing a minimum retirement age of 55 in ERFC 2001, increasing the final average salary calculation period from three years to five years and modifying the cot-of-living calculation from a fixed 3% to a CPI-based COLA with a cap of 4%.

Given the time constraints, the actuary only modeled a low inflation environment of 1.5%; the 9/19 analysis looked at low inflation and moderate inflation environments.

The savings impact of lowering the interest crediting rate also was presented on November 7 (page 11): each 1 % decrease in the rate from the current 5% rate represented $275,000 in annual savings.  For example, the national average money market rate is currently 0.11%.  To change from the 5% to 11% represented a savings of $1.3M annually (5% - 0.11% times $275,000).  The School Board did not request that any further analyses be conducted with a rate lower than 4% given that the FCERS rate is 5%, the VRS rate is 4% and the national average crediting rate for public pension plans is 3.86%.

  Show monetary impact on page 4 for different employees using same COLA that VRS uses It was determined that the VRS COLA method would result in the same COLA as the original analysis using the low inflation environment of 1.5%. (The VRS COLA equals 100% of the CPI up to 2% plus 50% above 2 %, up to a maximum of 3%).  In the moderate inflation environment of 2.3%, the VRS method results in a slightly lower COLA of 2.15%.  Given that the difference was minimal, incurring additional actuarial fees to perform this analysis was not warranted at this time.
  Provide NEA data on teacher retirement programs nationally

The link to the NEA data was provided in the November 7 presentation.  The NEA Retirement Study, Characteristics of Large Public Education Pension Plans, January 2016, may be found here.

Highlights of the study included:

  • Final Average Salary Period: The study found that the most common salary-averaging period is three years.  Of the 187 plans included in the study, 45% used a three-year period or lower, 5% used a four-year period, 33% used a five-year period and only 3% used a period greater than 5 years (pages 75 and 76)
  • Cost of Living Adjustment: 57% of the plans in the NEA survey either automatically provide for a fixed rate of adjustment (typically 3%) or a floating rate tied to changes in the CPI, usually with a 3% ceiling (page 6).
  • Minimum Retirement Age: Most public pension plans require a comination of years of service and age to qualify for a full service retirement.  Normal full retirement was available at age 60 or age 62 in the majority of the plans studied.

Other studies of interest include the National Institute on Retirement Security study, Preserving Retirement Income Security for Public Sector Employees, July 2016, which may be found here

  • Interest Crediting Rate: The average crediting rate on public pension systems of 3.86% that was quoted at the 9/19 work session may be found on page 16 of this study; the median rate is 4%.  The study pointed out that the interest crediting feature provides portability to members in order to preserve income for retirement.

The National Association of State Retirement Administrators study, Significant Reforms to State Retirement Systems, June 2016, may be found here.

The study concluded that "in most cases, changes to plan design were purely prospective, i.e., establishing new plan designs for newly hired workers only." (page 5).



Compare total benefit packages of FCPS vs. other school systems in region, including for context the impact of social security.


The WABE guide was used for this comparison, and the dta was provided in the response to Budget Question #8
  Update information on County benefits programs as needed

At its October 4 meeting, the Personnel committee of the Board of Supervisors received a Retirement System Review presentation.  In addition to updating the Board on the Fairfax County Retirement system provisions, the presentation included next steps for consideration if a review is undertaken.  The next steps included:

  • Review current hiring demographic and retirement trends
  • Confirm the Board's goal regarding the level of income replacement
  • Review the VRS mandate and its impact on defined contribution and hybrid plan options
  • Validate that potential benefit changes will impact new hires versus existing employees
  • Review County plan design compared to other jurisdictions
  • Evaluate the degree of Social Security integration

The Board agreed that any potential benefit changes would impact new hires only.  The Board also agreed that no changes would be implemented in time to impact the FY 2018 budget.

  Resend answer to budget question: Can FCPS withdraw from VRS and expand ERFC into a replacement?

Participation in VRS is mandatory for school divisions.  Per VRS, "Membership in VRS is mandatory for all full-time, salaried employees of the following entities:

  • Commonwealth of virginia (classified, part-time salaried employees of the Commonwealth are also eligible for membership in VRS)
  • Instructional, clerical and administrative employees of local Virginia school divisions and
    • Any participating Virginia city, county, town with a population of 5,000 or more if a local plan does not provide a retirement plan for its employees that equals or exceeds two thirds of the service retirement benefit which a VRS retiree would receive at age 65 or older."
  Financial implications of a transition from ERFC to 403B plan for new hires The financial implications included the first year cost of $69 M for the ERFC termination discussed in bullet 1.  The costs of a match to a 403 (b) plan would be in addition to the termination cost so this transition was not viewed as a viable option.  The Prince William and Arlington matches were included in the Aon Study.
  Provide chart comparing contributions by employer and by employee to retirement plans for other counties using hypothetical salaries The Aon Study included this information and it was reviewed at the November 7 work session.
  Engage BOS on their plan and where it is comparable to FCPS Chair Work item.
  Talk with 3 largest employee associations prior to October work session School Board Work item.