Despite a growing student population, Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent Karen Garza has recommended a budget that would cut more than 450 teacher positions.
According to the 2015 fiscal year proposal, Garza recommends a budget of $2.5 billion -- an increase of more than 2 percent since 2014.
“The budget uses a shared approach of reducing expenditures and requesting additional revenue while protecting the classroom and programs for students as much as possible,” Garza said. “We are facing a number of increased expenditures that are beyond our control, including annual growth in student enrollment, an increase in health insurance rates, and an increase in the required contributions to the Virginia Retirement System.”
Specifically, the personnel cuts are broken down as follows:
- Eliminating 82 positions from central support, reducing the budget by $13.4 million
- Eliminating 180.5 positions from school support including clerical employees and custodians, reducing the budget by $17.1 million
- Eliminating 468.7 classroom positions by increasing class sizes and reducing needs-based staffing, reducing the budget by $36 million
The budget accounts for pay increases for eligible employees.
“Currently, our starting teacher salaries are competitive with other districts in the region, but salaries for experienced teachers have fallen way behind those jurisdictions," Garza said. "If we hope to retain seasoned educational professionals, then we need to ensure that FCPS salaries remain competitive.”
Also included in the proposed budget are new fees for Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate tests.
Public hearings on the proposed budget will be held Jan. 27 and 28.