The Fairfax County School Board is bracing for the most dramatic reduction in services in more than 20 years as it attempts to bridge a projected $176 million budget shortfall with cuts that could extend to closing schools, increasing class size, ending summer school, discontinuing most full-day kindergarten classes and eliminating foreign language instruction in elementary schools.
Superintendent Jack D. Dale will not present a formal budget proposal until January, but school officials are releasing a list of potential cuts because they want to give the public the earliest possible look at the severity of this year’s deficit. “What we are trying to get people to understand is, you are all at risk this time,” said board member Jane K. Strauss (Dranesville), the budget chairwoman.
Board members say that classrooms are already strained from adjustments made over the past two years, including consecutive increases in class sizes.
The current budget is $18 million less than last year’s, and the school system has grown by about 5,000 students. Federal stimulus money helped offset even deeper cuts, but the school board still eliminated nearly 800 positions and reduced many program budgets.
This year, programs will probably be discontinued, said school board chairman Kathy L. Smith (Sully). “There is no trimming around the edges anymore,” she said.
In Fairfax, the projected $176 million shortfall assumes 2,000 new students, no increase in county funding and no pay increase for teachers or other staff. If approved, it would mean a second year of salary freezes.
- Fairfax County Public Schools Budget Documents.
- 9/25/2009: Madison School District & Madison Teachers Union Reach Tentative Agreement: 3.93% Increase Year 1, 3.99% Year 2; Base Rate $33,242 Year 1, $33,575 Year 2: Requires 50% MTI 4K Members and will “Review the content and frequency of report cards”
- Fairfax County Schools Approved 2009-2010 Approved Budget [8.9MB PDF]
It will be interesting to see the Madison School District’s “final” 2009/2010 budget, which will be reviewed and voted on by the local school board soon. The budget has, in the past, increased as the year progresses. The 2007/8 budget was $339,685,844; 2008/9 was $368,012,286, and the 2009/10 preliminary budget was 367,912,077, according to the MMSD “Financials” PDF Document).