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F.C. School Board Unanimous OK’ing New Budget

The Falls Church School Board unanimously voted Tuesday to approve the Fiscal Year 2024 budget, complying again this year with the F.C.City Council’s  guidance of 5.3 percent revenue growth.

The approved budget shows an increase of $2,476,749 in local funding, representing 80.4 percent of the total budget. With the addition of expected state and federal revenue, the total budget for Fiscal Year 2024 is a 6 percent increase from the current year’s budget.

In a statement from the Falls Church City Public Schools, it was noted that “This is the fifth consecutive year the School Board has met City Council guidance, showcasing the district’s financial responsibility and commitment to providing quality education.”

 School Board chair Laura Downs noted, “The School Board is pleased with the new budget as it aligns with our strategic plan. It also includes pay scales that reflect data from our recently conducted salary study and standardization of our extra pay for extra duty pay rates. We remain committed to competitive benefits, salaries, and hourly wages to recruit and retain the best talent and experience in the Northern Virginia region.”

One of the significant actions taken in the FCCPS Strategic Plan, ‘Investing in Our People,’ is designed to ensure the district offers market-competitive compensation and the best working conditions in the Commonwealth of Virginia, the schools’ statement noted.

In April, the School Board received the results of a compensation study conducted with the Segal consulting group. The study indicated that the cost to bring all employees to the new salary structures is approximately $2.1 million — or 6 percent of payroll — and can be completed in the coming fiscal year.

Moreover, the approved budget includes benefits that will significantly impact staff. These include: six weeks of paid parental leave for employees with a new child, an increased payout of sick leave upon separation from FCCPS from under $3 an hour to under $16 an hour, providing the same employer-paid health benefits that full-time employees receive for permanent employees who work less than full-time, continuing significant investments to support teaching and learning through one-time and pandemic funding, and instructional materials for the Meridian High School Sustainability Academy.

“I would like to thank Superintendent Dr. Peter Noonan, our Chief Operating Officer, Kristen Michael, and our Director of Finance, Mechelle Coppock, for their countless hours dedicated to this thoughtful budget,” Ms. Downs said.  “I would also like to acknowledge the City Council, the Falls Church City General Government staff, and City Manager Wyatt Shields and thank them for their support of our schools and commitment to our revenue-sharing agreement.”

The School Board conducted three budget work sessions and three public hearings before the final vote on the budget. The Approved FY 2024 Budget exemplifies the School Board’s dedication to investing in its staff and supporting student learning.

At Tuesday’s meeting, in addition to approving the budget, the School Board recognized numerous City-based businesses for their role in supporting the schools. The recipients of the Virginia School Boards Association’s “Business Honor Roll” included 30 North Studio, Moore Architects, and the Biscuit Factory.

Honored as partners of the Business In Education (BIE) Partnership were Balanced Female Fitness, Integrity Tire and Auto Repair, the Pimmit Hills Pollinator Company and Ryan and Wetmore PC, and as “Rookie of the Year,” Harvey’s Restaurant.