Falls Church City Public Schools Superintendent Peter Noonan presented a $53.6 million Fiscal Year 2022 operating budget to the Falls Church School Board on Jan. 12. The proposed budget is balanced, falls within Falls Church City Council Budget Guidance, provides a wage increase for school employees and additional supports for students.
“With the recent announcement of vaccine distributions beginning, I think we can all hope we are at the beginning of the end of what has indeed been a challenging year for everyone,” Dr. Noonan said. “This budget reflects the ‘next steps’ toward shoring up any COVID-related slide – a salary increase for our exceptional staff, and additional instructional and emotional support for our students and families.”
The proposed budget includes a Step increase for eligible employees and a half percent (0.5%) Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for all staff members. Other proposed expenditures include a projected increase in health insurance and investments to address COVID impacts on FCCPS. These include the addition of a school counselor bringing the number to two counselors at each of our elementary schools, an additional social worker to assist with our families’ mental health coming out of the COVID pandemic, and a PreK-12 English/Language Arts coordinator to support teachers and students. The budget also includes three additional custodial staff for our newly opened high school.
“These increases will allow us to address some of our most pressing needs,” Dr. Noonan said. “But in any budget process, there are more requests than there is money available. Consequently, we weigh competing interests against the priorities and values of the school division and made hard decisions.”
The proposed FY22 budget is an overall 2.7 percent increase in the current FY2021 funding. It requests a City transfer increase of $1.1 million, and for the third consecutive year, falls within the City Council Budget Guidance of 2.5 percent. The Governor’s Proposed Budget includes a slight increase in state aid, up 0.4% or $20,907, primarily due to enrollment loss funding. Our local Sales Tax funding remains strong, with a nearly 12% increase projected or $307 thousand.
There will be multiple opportunities for the community to weigh in before the School Board adopts its Advertised Budget on February 23 and presents it to the City Council on Monday, March 8.