Proposed Budget Addresses
Growing Student Enrollment
Teacher Retention, Innovative Programming Among Priorities
POSTED: 10:00 a.m. EDT, January 9, 2008
By: FCCPS Communications
At its regular meeting last night, the Falls Church City School Board received Superintendent Lois Berlin’s proposed budget for the 2008 – 2009 school year. The $40.8 million budget reflects initiatives to support priorities in the school board’s strategic plan including teacher retention, data-driven instruction, responsive guidance and counseling programs, and instructional programs to meet the needs of all students.
“When we talk about programs, we are really talking about where the rubber meets the road in student achievement,” Berlin said. “Division and elementary school administrators and staff have spent the past two years exploring the all-inclusive International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program (PYP) and have rendered a verdict that we should pursue it, so I have included funding to support the work needed to become a PYP division.”
The PYP would help establish a consistent, division-wide curriculum framework through the International Baccalaureate Program. To offset the costs associated with PYP exploration and implementation, elementary school administrators have reprogrammed existing resources. As fiscally prudent as these efforts were, Berlin said the proposed FY09 budget is 7.5 percent greater than the current year’s budget. The overall increase can be attributed to a three percent salary adjustment and a step increase for all eligible staff; a $590,000 increase in inflationary and fixed costs; and a $478,000 increase in staffing and materials costs related to an increase in student enrollment.
Berlin said the school division managed to cover the costs associated with an unanticipated increase of 36 students this school year by using the school system’s contingency fund to hire additional teachers.
“While 36 students may not sound like major growth, it is important to remember that the enrollment projection for the current school year was 1873 students, and our current enrollment is 1906 students – 33 more students than we projected.” Berlin said.
Enrollment for the Falls Church City Public Schools is expected to grow by 66 students in the coming school year, primarily at the elementary and middle school levels. Berlin said hiring additional teachers would be necessary to maintain class sizes of 21 to 25 students.
The superintendent’s budget presentation and a summary of the proposed FY09 FCCPS budget can be viewed online. The public is also welcome to attend upcoming budget work sessions and public hearings as the school board reviews the plan and uses it to craft a final budget proposal to submit to the Falls Church City Council for approval.