• February 2010

In A Down Economy, What's The impact On Schools?

By Ann Monday, Superintendent
City of Fairfax Schools
amonday@fairfaxva.gov

During these tough economic times, schools are not immune from budget cuts. In FY2011, Fairfax County Public Schools will have to make some very hard decisions in order to balance its budget.

Having already made significant budget reductions in the current year, while having more students enrolled, the choices are getting increasingly difficult — and more likely to have a direct impact on students.

We aren’t the only school district in the nation to be facing cuts, of course, but the sting here — and across the country — comes down to one sobering truth: The more that school budgets are cut, the bigger class sizes will get. We’ll have fewer teachers in our schools, and we’ll be unable to pay for the one-on-one attention we’ve been working so hard to provide to our students.

Nonetheless, we’re all in this together. And although I can’t speak for my fellow educators, I can say that I’m sure we’ll all do our best to keep schools doing everything we can to prepare our students for success in the future.

The Sad Reality: FCPS Superintendent Dr. Jack Dale Proposes Dramatic Cuts

On January 7, the Superintendent of the Fairfax County Public Schools, Dr. Jack Dale released his proposed budget for FY2011 of $2.3 billion — including $104.8 million in cuts and cost avoidances, $3.4 million in new and increased fees, and a projected enrollment growth of 1,760 students.

The proposed budget includes a class size increase of one student, the elimination of the Foreign Language in the Elementary Schools (FLES) program, general education summer school, all high school freshman sports, and 594 positions, including 81 in central office support for schools. The proposed budget also includes no salary increases for employees for a second consecutive year.

Dr. Dale explained: “For the third straight year, I have submitted a budget that includes major cuts due to dismal local and state economic conditions. These cuts will have a long-term and far-reaching impact on maintaining our high student achievement and excellence for which FCPS is widely known and respected. Student achievement remains our main focus, and while we have directed our diminishing resources to support students and staff members working directly with our students, there is no doubt that many programs which parents and students have come to expect will be gone.”

Other fees and budget cuts that could impact the four City of Fairfax Schools include:

  • New fees for athletic participation ($100 per student per Virginia High School League sport); fees of $75 per Advanced Placement (AP) test and the actual cost of the PSAT test; and an increase in community use building revenue.
  • In addition to eliminating all freshman sports, two additional sports—winter cheerleading and indoor track—will be eliminated along with the drill team coaching supplement, and swim and dive team practices will be reduced by 50 percent.
  • Operating fund support for behind-the-wheel driver’s education will be eliminated. Support departments will again undergo significant budget reductions, averaging 20 percent over the past three years.
  • To prevent more damaging cuts, Dr. Dale is requesting a county transfer increase of $57.8 million to preserve full-day kindergarten, elementary band and strings, elementary foreign language immersion, and to avoid further increases in class sizes for general and advanced academic education, including Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology.

*For more details, log on to the City of Fairfax Schools website and view the January issue of it’s monthly newsletter City Schools Close-Up.


About Superintendent Ann Monday

Educational leader and City of Fairfax resident Ann Monday became Superintendent of the City Schools on July 1, 2007. She retired on June 30 as the Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Services for Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS), a district she has worked in since 1973 when she became a teacher at Kilmer Intermediate School in Vienna. She then served as chairperson of the English department at Chantilly High School from 1976-1980, when she became an administrative aide at Marshall High and subsequently a subschool principal at Lake Braddock High School.

In 1984 she was appointed the assistant principal at Fairfax High until 1987, when she became associate principal at Robinson Secondary School. After a stint as the principal at Longfellow Middle School from 1990-1992, she became the principal at Robinson where she was responsible for managing more than 4,000
students and 300 staff members.

In 2003, Monday was tapped to become Cluster VI Superintendent, and was responsible for 24 elementary and secondary schools. The following year she took on a division-wide leadership position as the FCPS Assistant Superintendent of Instruction, responsible for all instructional programs from pre-K through adult education.

FOR MORE INFORMATION visit the City of Fairfax Schools website, www.cityoffairfaxschools.org. Or contact Superintendent Ann Monday by email, amonday@fairfaxva.gov.

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