When the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors begins discussions on a budget for fiscal year 2015, one of the most critical issues is how much the board will transfer to Fairfax County Public Schools.
Educators, parents, and others who support a high-quality education have organized a “Fund Our Schools” rally at 9 a.m., Feb. 25, in front of the Fairfax County Government Center, 12000 Government Parkway.
The Fairfax County Council of PTAs is encouraging members of the public to show up wearing blue and bring “Fund Our Schools” signs. Following the rally, the group hopes to fill the board auditorium with a sea of blue shirts and signs as Fairfax County Executive Edward Long presents his proposed budget to the supervisors.
That increase is critical to fund uncontrollable costs, including enrollment increases, changing student demographics, and retirement rates. The proposed FCPS budget also would eliminate about 731 positions, mostly through attrition, and raise fees. If the BoS fails to provide adequate funding, FCPS would have to make deeper cuts affecting educational quality, possibly by increasing class sizes and eliminating programs.
About 72 percent of the FCPS budget comes from the county. The school system doesn’t have many other options for funding. It doesn’t have taxing authority, and it gets a limited amount of state aid. The state formula is skewed toward rural school systems. Northern Virginia education advocates are working to convince the legislatures to change it, but even if they succeed, it won’t offset the need for the county to increase its transfer of funds to the school system.