The superintendent of Fairfax County schools unveiled a $2.6 billion school budget for 2016, 2.6 percent higher than last year's budget.
The good news for employees: those who qualify for step-increases will get an average pay hike of about 3.5 percent, said Dr. Karen Garza in an announcement Thursday.
Others will get increases that average about one percent.
Garza said a major concern is losing good teachers to neighboring jurisdictions where they can earn more money. "We are losing some of our best teachers and school administrators to neighboring school divisions because our salaries continue to lag behind," Garza said.
Also included in the budget plan is money to lower classroom sizes at targeted schools.
Garza believes her budget successfully addresses two major cost drivers: growing enrollment and changing student demographics.
The budget includes a request for an additional $70.6 million dollars from the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.
Public hearings on the budget are scheduled for late January.