Understanding the Superintendent’s Proposed Budget for FY 2017

Superintendent Alvin L. Crawley proposed an Operating Budget for FY 2017 on Thursday night that focuses on increasing the number of teachers and classroom supports needed to ensure a high-performing school division. It also directs funds toward meeting the goals of the ACPS 2020 Strategic Plan.

  • The Operating Budget totals $256.9 million, which is a $10.5 million increase plus $6.1 million for proposed creative leased facilities options.
  • It includes a City appropriation request of $210.6 million or an increase of $11.8 million for next year.

However, in order to meet this level of funding, the City appropriation per student would need to increase for the first time in five years.

The key driver for the budget is growing student enrollment. Enrollment is projected to increase by 3.7 percent in FY 2017 taking ACPS to a total of 15,270 students. ACPS is projected to have just under 19,000 students by FY 2026. This impacts costs directly.

Superintendent's Message Final 1.8.16 6PM 01.12.15
The budget includes:

  • $5.8 million for new instructional staff needed to accommodate growing student enrollment
  • $3.5 million to boost the ACPS 2020 Strategic Plan goals of academic achievement, family engagement, business partnerships and effective operations
  • A full step increase for all eligible staff, focused market rate adjustments and adoption of the City of Alexandria’s living wage as a new minimum rate, to ensure Alexandria City Public Schools remains competitive with neighboring school divisions
  • Additional nursing and mental health professionals
  • Communications initiatives, such as parent liaisons and translators to improve outreach and increase engagement within the ACPS community
  • Funds for new text books, new teacher mentoring and security monitoring

“We are firm in our belief that a primary key to student success is having a high quality teacher, who is fully prepared to deliver high performance. We need more teachers in our elementary schools, middle and high schools to ensure manageable class sizes, as well as more teachers for students with disabilities and limited English proficiency. These additions directly support our goal of achieving academic excellence and educational equity for all students,” said Dr. Crawley.

The budget increases are offset by reductions including:

  • The elimination of vacant positions
  • A revision of the structure of community partnerships
  • A reduction of spending on teacher substitutes and transportation services

Although the cost of buildings and facilities is usually included in the Capital Improvement Program (CIP) Budget, the funds to lease buildings are included in the Operating Budget. A total of $6.1 million is allocated for leasing facilities for a new elementary school in the West End and to centralize the ACPS pre-kindergarten program. This will resolve growing enrollment and capacity constraints. Both buildings will be open and ready in time for the 2017-18 school year.

“Every child deserves to be educated in an optimal learning environment and, even though funding for new facilities beyond FY 2016 has not been approved by City Council, this budget takes a first step towards finding creative solutions to the capacity issues we face,” said Dr. Crawley.

In addition to the Operating Budget, ACPS receives funds for grants, special projects and the school nutrition program that take the total FY 2017 Combined Funds Budget to $278.9 million.

“The budget reflects input from community members, advisory committee meetings and councils, parents, students and staff. It addresses the priorities established by the Alexandria City School Board, and it places the required resources in the classroom. I firmly believe that it gives our students the best opportunity to succeed,” said Dr. Crawley.

The School Board will hold a series of budget work sessions on the FY 2017 Proposed Budget beginning on January 21, and a public hearing January 28. Details on the budget, including the full schedule of work sessions and public hearings, may be found on the ACPS Budgets web page. In addition, the public may submit comments and questions.

Watch video from Thursday’s School Board meeting.

Here’s a quick set of definitions of the key funds in the ACPS budget.

ACPS has two separate budgets requiring School Board approval:

1.  The Capital Improvement Program (CIP) Budget details planned expenditures for capital projects over the next 10 years. Capital projects primarily consist of the costs for the acquisition, construction or renovation of school sites, and replacement and repair of major building systems.

2.  The Combined Funds Budget details the day-to-day spending plan for the fiscal year. This budget is a consolidation of three major funds: the Operating Budget, the Grants and Special Projects Fund, and the School Nutrition Fund:

  • The Operating Budget is ACPS’ primary operating fund and accounts for all financial resources except those that are accounted for in another fund.
  • The Grants and Special Projects Fund is a special revenue fund used to account for proceeds of specific revenue sources in which expenditures are restricted for a specified purpose. All federal, state and local grants are accounted for in this fund, including entitlement funds.
  • The School Nutrition Fund is a special revenue fund used to account for the procurement, preparation and serving of student meals.
ACPS, Budget, News Release