By a vote of 6-1, the Falls Church City School Board has approved a $37.6 million operating budget for the coming school year. The FY13 budget plan is 5.3% larger than the current fiscal year, and includes the first full-year, ‘full step’ increase for staff in nearly three years.
Board member Kieran Sharpe was the only member to oppose the budget plan saying he doesn’t believe “it goes far enough to correct the inequalities” in compensation and program funding with neighboring school systems.
The approved budget, due to take effect on July 1st, calls for a 7.4% increase in the transfer from the Falls Church City Council. This is the first increase in local funding sought since 2008 and amounts to $165,000 less than was requested that year. During those same four years the FCCPS student population has increased 15% with nearly a third of that increase coming in the last year alone.
The school board’s approved budget includes:
· hiring of five new teachers K-8 and 2 high school special education teachers;
· full step salary increase for all eligible employees beginning July 2012;
· plans for “hybrid learning” – blending high-quality teachers with digital content and tools;
· replacement/update of 11 year old math and science textbooks for elementary and middle schools;
· complete wireless network for George Mason High and enhancement to Mary Ellen Henderson’s network;
With the approval, the budget is now forwarded to the City Manager for inclusion in his proposed fiscal budget that will be debated in the coming weeks.
The board said its budget reflects priorities outlined in its “Five Pillars of Excellence” – small schools, small classes, 21st Century teaching and learning, outstanding staff and readiness for learning.