Superintendent Unveils FY 2014 Proposed Budget
Proposed Combined Funds Budget Includes 3.3 Percent Increase over FY 2013
Guiding Budget Principles Provides Investment in Student Achievement and Elementary Enrollment Growth
Alexandria, Va. — Last night, Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) Superintendent Morton Sherman released the school division's Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 Proposed Operating Budget of $228,499,576, an increase of 4.8 percent, or $10,545,143 from FY 2013 Approved Operating Budget. Additionally, Dr. Sherman presented the FY 2014 Proposed Combined Funds Budget of $247,000,721, a 3.3 percent increase from the FY 2013 Approved Combined Funds Budget, which includes $11,373,998 in grants and $7,127,148 in school nutrition funds. The proposal includes a request for a City of Alexandria appropriation of $188,690,370, an increase of 5.1 percent from FY 2013.
"Developing a budget for students growing up in our global society is a wonderful challenge, as we all want to do so much for our students," Dr. Sherman stated to the School Board and viewing audience. "With increasing enrollments in ACPS and with ever-increasing expectations for all students, the focus of this budget is how best to address the needs of our students as we come out of an economic recession that held down expenditures in areas such as textbooks, reading materials and other essential learning resources including personnel."
Enrollment for 2014 is expected to reach 13,707, which is an increase of 593 students over the current enrollment. Per pupil cost in 2014 is proposed at $17,336, down from $17,693 from 2013. ACPS has the most diverse student population and the highest number of students who are eligible for free and reduced-price meals (56 percent) in Northern Virginia.
The proposed budget continues support for transformation efforts and provides stronger investments in student achievement and professional learning for staff. The return on investment from the previous budget cycles has been strong in many areas, perhaps most notably at T.C. Williams High School and Cora Kelly School for Math, Science and Technology.
Highlights of the FY 2014 proposed budget include:
- Net increase of more than 50 FTEs, all funding sources combined; the operating budget includes a net increase of more than 70 FTEs offset by reductions in grant-funded positions
- Flexibility for elementary schools in staffing for their most pressing needs
- Authentic texts for elementary reading
- New science and social studies textbooks for secondary schools
- Appropriate school administration staff for all buildings, with additional assistant principals for elementary schools
- Increased number of elementary counselors to catch up with growing enrollment and maintained secondary counselor ratios
- Support for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), Satellite Campus and Dual-Language programs
- A revised and more rigorous professional learning model
- Continued investment in extended learning
- Continued investment in special education staffing above state requirements
- Additional support for English Language Learners (ELL) students and the International Academy
- Increased commitment to Prekindergarten education
- Introduction of a financial literacy program
"Although the budget itself does not assure success or high achievement, there can be no doubt that the financial and human resources needed to address our students' needs, challenges and strengths require significant community investment," said Dr. Sherman. "I am proud to report that this is the first year of our new teacher evaluation system, which requires that 20-40 percent of an annual evaluation be based on achievement indicators."
To assure long-term compensation support for staff, the proposed budget recommends a:
- 2 percent increase in the salary schedule even as the division studies other models of compensation
- Continuation of a recent reduction in employee contribution to the supplemental retirement plan
- Reduction in the percentage of medical benefits paid by the professional employee group to be more in line with City employees and surrounding school divisions
"In the weeks to come this proposed budget, with input from our students and stakeholders, will be molded into a community commitment, a promise and a guarantee of our dedication to an equitable, excellent education for our students," Dr. Sherman said.
View FY 2014 Proposed Budget information and submit budget questions and comments at http://www.acps.k12.va.us/budgets/. To arrange an interview, contact Kelly L. Alexander at 703-824-6703.