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F.C. School Board Closing in on Budget Request With 5% Hike

SOME MEMBERS OF the Falls Church School Board are shown here at Tuesday night's work session. (Photo: News-Press)
SOME MEMBERS OF the Falls Church School Board are shown here at Tuesday night’s work session. (Photo: News-Press)

At its work session Tuesday night, the Falls Church School Board appeared to narrow its options for its budget request of transfer from the City to near a five percent increase, setting up what could be another major clash with the City Council, which has the final say on the budget numbers and has called for a zero growth school board budget in order to avoid having to impose a real estate tax rate increase.

School Board member Susan Kearney summed it up when she said, “It appears to be the School Board philosophy for this budget to ask for what we need…The City Council wants a flat budget (from us), but salaries are below our neighbors for so many of our teachers that we have to address that.” She noted the study showing that City general government employees are being paid comparably to their Fairfax and Arlington County counterparts, “but our teachers are not.”

She said if the School Board decides to narrow its requested increase to competitiveness on teacher salaries “there’s sympathy for this,” she said.

The School Board will vote on its budget next week which will be forwarded to City Manager Wyatt Shields, who will fold it into his budget recommendations to the City Council in early March, and the City Council will determine the final numbers for the new fiscal year beginning July 1 at the end of April.