|Budget cuts could have a huge impact on Braddock Elementary School and other schools in the Annandale/Mason area.|
One recommendation that would have a big impact on schools in the Mason District area – cutting funding for needs-based staffing in elementary schools with high proportions of poor students – would save the most money, $5.2 million.
The task force, formed by FCPS Superintendent Karen Garza, issued its final report Nov. 9. The group includes representatives appointed by school board members, employee organizations, business and community groups, principals, and FCPS administrators.
“These are recommendations,” Garza said. “No decisions have been made. . . . . It is still up to me and the school board to determine how to develop a budget for next school year that will support all of our operational needs.”
“However,” she noted, “reductions will be unavoidable unless we receive sufficient revenue to meet our expenditure requirements.”
The task force prioritized its recommendations by indicating the percentage of agreement among individual members and also took into account comments submitted by residents on an online budget tool and at community outreach meetings.
In developing their recommendations, the task force considered two scenarios – a $50 million deficit and a $75 million deficit.
The following recommendations under the $50 million deficit scenario are in order with those receiving the most support listed first:
- Increase the community facility use fee by 40 percent.
- Increase the student parking fee from $200 to $300.
- Establish a pupil placement fee of $300.
- Charge an athletic fee of $200 per sport per student.
- Require students to pay the fees for Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate (IB) tests.
- Eliminate the language immersion program.
- Eliminate remedial summer school, excluding special education and Bridges to Kindergarten.
- Students would pay the fees for the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT).
- Class sizes in the elementary school Advanced Academic Programs (AAP) would be increased by one student.
- High school students enrolled in online and academy classes would be excluded from the calculation of base school teacher allocations.
- The elementary school staffing formula would raise the minimum class size from 17 to 19 students per teacher.
- The need-based staffing formula for elementary schools would be revised, so the additional resources allocated to schools based on the number and percentage of students eligible for free and reduced-price meals would be cut by 20 percent.
- Eliminate after-school buses at high schools.
- Reduce the pay for substitute teachers.
- Reduce needs-based staffing for high schools and middle schools by 20 percent.
- Eliminate transportation for students enrolled in AAPs at elementary schools.
- Eliminate high school freshman athletic teams.
- Increase class sizes in middle school AAPs by one student.
- Reduce Red Apple 21 television programming.
- Eliminate fourth-grade band and orchestra.
- Eliminate non-mandated testing.
- Eliminate IB middle school programs.
- Increase elementary school class sizes by 0.25 students per teacher.
- Eliminate the guarantee of two teachers per grade at small elementary schools.
- Reduce staffing for the high school IB program.
- Increase high school and middle school class sizes by 0.25 students per teacher.
- Provide Level IV AAPs at all elementary schools and eliminate transportation to AAP centers.
Students eligible for free and reduced-price meals would be exempt from the fees or would pay a reduced fee.
The budget process will continue over the next few months. Garza will submit a proposed 2017 budget in January. The school board will announce an advertised budget in February and will approve a final budget at its May 26 meeting.