FY2017 Budget Invests in Excellent Schools, Quality of Life
Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Increases School Funding by Over 5%
April 19, 2016 – Today, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted to increase funding for schools by $104 million and made strategic investments that protect the quality of life in Fairfax County. In amending County Executive Ed Long’s FY2017 Advertised Budget at “Budget Mark-Up,” the Board voted 7-3 in favor of a $1.13 tax rate for FY2017, an increase from the FY2016 rate of $1.09 per $100 of assessed value. The 4-cent increase will generate approximately $93 million in additional County revenue that will invest in valued County services such as education, public safety and human services.
“This Budget provides a needed booster shot to support our excellent School System and to ensure the quality services our residents expect and rely upon,” Chairman Sharon Bulova said. “Throughout these past months, our Board heard from thousands of residents advocating for an increase in taxes to address our community’s needs.”
Chairman Bulova expressed appreciation to the Virginia General Assembly for increasing State funding for FCPS by an additional $16.8 million. In addition to education, she pointed out that this budget strongly supports public safety in Fairfax County and allocates funding for Diversion First, which provides persons with mental illness treatment rather than incarceration in the case of minor offenses.
“This is a clear indication that we’re committed to investing in what makes our County great: its schools, its employees, and its services,” said Supervisor Jeffrey C. McKay, the Board’s Budget Committee Chairman. “Education is absolutely a top priority -- and this budget reflects that. I’m also pleased to be able to make crucial steps forward in the areas of public safety, human services, parks, libraries, and many of our other vital County services. I have no doubt that our Board’s investment today will have a major positive impact on Fairfax County.”
The major change the Board made to the County Executive’s Advertised Budget was to provide an additional $33.6 million to Schools. This was done by allocating an entire penny of the tax rate and using reallocated funds from Third Quarter Review. With FCPS receiving 52.7% of the County’s General Fund budget, the School Board will have enough funds to address teacher compensation, preserve existing programs, and begin working to decrease class sizes. It is up to the elected officials on the School Board to determine the pay plan for teachers and how to prioritize funding for specific school programs such as language immersion and fourth grade strings.
“I would like to thank Chairman Bulova and Supervisor McKay for their leadership in advancing additional financial support for Fairfax County Public Schools. The increase in funding provides our schools the opportunity to make significant and critical investments in teacher compensation, reduce class sizes, and retain vital student programming,” said Pat Hynes, Chairman Fairfax County Public Schools. “I look forward to continuing to work with our community, and with the Board of Supervisors, to solve future budget challenges in the best interest of all residents of Fairfax County.”
Some Details on the Adopted Budget:
In this budget package, the School Operating Transfer increased by $88.4 million, or 4.84% over FY2016. Including School Debt Service and School Capital Needs, total support for schools increased by over $104 million, or 5.18%. By comparison, the non-school side of the County’s General Fund Budget increased by 4.35% (or 4.91% including allocations to County reserves).
Another area of the budget to receive funding includes $7.5 million for recommendations made by the Ad Hoc Police Practices Review Commission, including $3.89 million and additional staff positions for Diversion First. “These investments show the commitment our Board has made to review and implement the recommendations of the Ad Hoc Commission. I look forward to continuing to work with the community to make our Police Department a national model as we examine our options for implementing a civilian review board,” Chairman Bulova said.
County-wide reductions for FY2017 total $13.63 million and 17 fewer positions. The Board has spent many hours on the Lines of Business (LOBs) Review and will continue to provide direction to County staff to address more opportunities for future budget efficiencies.
"It was no doubt a tough budget year," McKay said. "We know that many of our citizens are struggling in this sluggish economy and continued increases in the real estate tax alone cannot fully fund our services. Collaboration between our Board and the School Board, revenue diversification from Richmond, and potential efficiencies in County programming are very important moving forward."
The FY2017 Budget will be formally adopted on April 26, 2016.
Office of Chairman Sharon Bulova