School Board Budget Focuses on Finding Creative Solutions to Support Growing Student Population

The Alexandria City School Board adopted the FY 2017 Approved Combined Funds Budget for Alexandria City Public Schools at a total of $275.8 million on Thursday night. The budget focuses on retaining skilled teachers and adding classroom supports to address growing enrollment and ensure high academic standards.

The budget includes an appropriation request of $207.5 million, which is $8.7 million more than FY 2016 and can be attributed to the increased costs of growing enrollment.

This budget continues to support a strong foundation for academics, facilities solutions and staff development, which are all essential qualities of a high-performing school division. At the same time we want to increase our ability to reach out to the business community and encourage partnerships for future academic and facilities projects,” said School Board Chair Karen Graf.

The Approved Budget includes additional funds to lease and retrofit office space to house a new elementary school in the West End, adding 700 seats for students. It also allocates funds to centralize preschool programs and work with city-wide partners to explore options to expand access. Together, these initiatives will go some way towards resolving ACPS capacity issues. Advancing the preschool model across the city will also mean better academic results later on for students by helping to lay the foundation for academic success during the early years. This effort unites early education goals from the ACPS 2020 Strategic Plan and the Children and Youth Master Plan.

This school year marks the first year that the ACPS student population has exceeded the seats available according to the Long Range Plan specifications for optimal learning environments. This year, ACPS has 14,729 students enrolled, which is within 99.9 percent accuracy of projections. Division-wide capacity is approximately 435 seats less than the optimal number under the Long Range Plan. Enrollment is projected to increase by 3.7 percent in FY 2017, taking ACPS to a total of 15,270 students. By FY 2026, ACPS is projected to have just under 19,000 students.

The budget includes an increase in funding for additional instructional staff, and nursing and mental health professionals to meet the needs of the growing student population. It allocates funds for the expansion of translation services and communication initiatives in multiple languages to improve outreach and engagement within the ACPS community, as well as funds for program evaluations and professional development to ensure ACPS attracts and retains good teachers.

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. These additions directly support our goal of achieving academic excellence and educational equity for all students,” said Superintendent Alvin L. Crawley.

“We need to be mindful in the use of our resources, while also exploring other funding sources. This budget advances both. We look forward to working closely with our educational and business community to achieve our ACPS 2020 strategic goals,” said School Board Vice Chair Chris Lewis.

ACPS, ACPS 2020, Announcements, Budget