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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Fairfax County supervisors call for slight increase in school funds

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors agreed to raise the amount of county funds transferred to the public schools by another 1 percent in the marked-up budget voted on March 22, for a total increase of 3.

The advertised budget for 2015 called for increasing the funds transferred to Fairfax County Public Schools by 2 percent over the amount in the 2104 budget. The school board had called for a 5.7 percent increase to accommodate soaring enrollment and uncontrollable costs.

A 3 percent increase translates to $51.5 million for a total of $1.7 billion for FCPS. Superintendent Karen Garza has warned that staff reductions, program cuts, and increased class sizes are likely next year without a significant increase in county funds.

The BoS will approve a final budget for 2015, which starts July 1, on April 29. The school board is scheduled to adopt a 2015 budget on May 22.

The marked-up county budget calls for a half-cent increase in the real estate tax, from $1.085 to $1.090 per $100 of assessed value. That translates to an average increase of $357 per taxpayer, which would generate an additional $10.9 million in county revenue. The BoS could have raised property taxes by as much as two cents, the amount included in the advertised budget approved in March.

Real estate assessments have risen this year by an average of 6.5 percent countywide. The average increase for Annandale homeowners is 8.2 percent.

More than 100 people took part in an Invest in Fairfax rally during a BoS budget hearing earlier this month to urge the board to provide more funding for schools, libraries, and other services.

Also on April 22, BoS Chair Sharon Bulova appointed a task force to explore a potential meals tax referendum.

The $3.7 billion county budget includes a 2.29 percent raise for non-uniformed county employees and a 1.29 percent increase plus step and longevity increases for uniformed employees. It also would raise fees for sewer service and pet adoptions.

1 comment:

  1. Increased class sizes are a result of lack of enforcement of immigration laws, not a lack of funds.