On Thursday, the School Board passed the FY 2019 Combined Funds Budget and FY 2019–2028 Capital Improvement Program Budget (PDF). The budget for next school year is focused on ensuring all classrooms have the teachers and materials they need to match growing enrollment, while attracting and retaining good teaching staff for the future.
The $299.7 million FY 2019 Combined Funds Budget and $474.7 million Capital Improvement Program Budget were approved in a process that has been viewed as an indication of increasing alignment between Alexandria City Council and the School Board. In May, the City Council approved 99.5 percent of the original School Board approved budget and accepted the Capital Improvement Program Budget with minimal changes. This year the City operating appropriation will be $14,053 per student, 1.9 percent more than last year.
Read the news release issued on Friday.
What does the budget mean for your child’s educational experience next school year?
New Classroom Reading Materials for K-5
This coming school year’s Operating Funds Budget supports the purchase of a new K-5 literacy program. The current program has not been updated since 2004. The new textbooks and materials will be aligned with current Virginia Standards of Learning. While the School Board originally approved $1.2 million for the purchase of a new K-5 literacy program, including textbooks and materials in February 2018, the City Council appropriation on May 3 left a gap in the Operating Budget. Schools and Central Office departments rallied to pull together additional funding needed from this year’s budget on top of the funds approved in the FY 2019 budget to ensure the reading program can be updated this coming school year.
Funding for Additional Safety Training
The School Board has approved an additional $37,000 to support Violent Intruder Training and the rollout of ALICE.
New Staff Positions to Keep Pace with Growing Enrollment
The budget includes the creation of 67 new teaching and support positions, the majority of which are tied directly to enrollment increases. One new position was created following the recommendations of the recent talented and gifted evaluation. Two positions have been added to Operations, following a reorganization of the department that oversees facilities, safety, transportation and nutrition. These positions will help ACPS be more efficient with energy usage and have better oversight of facilities, particularly as we move into high school planning in the fall.
Stipends to Support Sports Coaching
The School Board has approved stipends for the head coach and assistant coach of the girls and boys rugby teams at T.C. Williams High School.
High School Planning
The City Council approved $5.2 million for high school planning. ACPS is looking to begin the consultation, design and planning around resolving high school capacity issues in the fall. The City Council also approved $30 million to be held in reserve for property acquisition. This may or may not be connected to the high school capacity project.
The School Board approved a study around high school capacity to take place next school year, as well as $8.7 million for the design and project management for Douglas MacArthur Elementary School in 2022 and $44.6 million for the construction in FY2023. The City Council approved an additional $30 million to be held in reserve for property or land acquisition. Modernization for George Mason Elementary School and Cora Kelly School for Math, Science and Technology are also in the ten-year Capital Improvement Program (CIP) Budget. A gym for the new Ferdinand T. Day Elementary School is scheduled to be ready for 2021.
Retention of Good Teachers and Staff
We know that attracting and retaining good teachers and staff is essential. Eligible employees will receive the equivalent of a step raise, which on average is a 2.6 percent increase. Those on a “hold step” will receive a one percent bonus instead of the step adjustment. Moreover, the salary scales are all shifting up one step, so that the current bottom step will be removed and an additional step added to the top of the scale. This will encourage experienced staff to stay longer and ensure that our salaries are attractive to new external candidates.
Watch the FY2019-2028 Capital Improvement Program Budget and FY 2019 Combined Funds Budget discussions from the June 8 School Board Meeting.