News Release 1/8/2021: ACPS Superintendent Proposes an Efficient Combined-Funds Operating Budget Aimed at Recovery, Retention and Reigniting
Alexandria City Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Gregory C. Hutchings, Jr. has proposed a combined-funds operating budget for FY 22 that aims to focus on recovering strongly from the dual impact on education of the COVID-19 pandemic and the reemergence of issues surrounding racial inequity.
The combined funds budget of $320.59 million will support an instructional program focused on recovering from learning losses, recruiting and retaining quality staff, and reigniting a love of teaching, learning and leadership. In addition, the comprehensive financial blueprint provides for the resources and support necessary to continue the division’s efforts to keep racial equity at the heart of all work.
This figure represents a modest increase from FY 21 final budget of 0.8% which acknowledges both the economic impact of the pandemic as well as an emphasis on efficiencies. Prior year increases have ranged in the region of 2-4%.
“Our FY 22 budget represents many months of planning, critical thinking, efficiencies and our best approach to tackling the challenges we have faced over the past year during this dual pandemic and in preparing to forge ahead to maintain our excellent instructional program, recruit and retain the best of the best staff and reignite the confidence and love of teaching, learning and leadership,” said Dr. Hutchings.
“It also creates the opportunity to look forward and highlights the additional resources and supports to reignite our community and reimagine what school can look like in the future.”
The superintendent is proposing significant funds be directed to the recovery of learning loss, which, despite the best efforts of teachers who diligently delivered the robust Virtual PLUS+ program, has unquestionably impacted our students. Additional funding is proposed for regional Special Education programs to provide additional support for our students with greatest needs, while additional reserve positions have been added to the proposed budget to support Students With Disabilities and English Learners.
The effects of the dual pandemic have made us look closely at the social and emotional toll on our students and with that in mind we propose to bolster the Social, Emotional and Academic Learning supports across the division. A further $500,000 has been allocated for programming to support student social, emotional and academic learning needs.
Additional family support, including Amharic and Arabic parent liaisons and a customer relationship management (CRM) specialist will also be funded to support some of our most at-risk families.
To continue in the drive to boost our Hispanic male graduation rates, resources will be redeployed to add additional support in this area.
Another priority is the retention of staff by ensuring ACPS is an attractive place to work. Therefore, a step increase, totaling $5.7 million, is planned for all eligible staff along with a 1% one-time payment for those employees at the top of their scale. Eighty six percent of the total combined-funds budget is spent on personnel.
With an eye on the reopening of our buildings, additional funds must be allocated to the increased need for cleaning and building management due to new protocols necessitated by the pandemic.
As ACPS continues to implement the 2025 Strategic Plan: Equity for All, a focus remains on racial equity in our schools.
Both T.C. Williams High School and Matthew Maury Elementary School will be renamed and continuing costs associated with this process are allocated for in the new budget, which begins on July 1, 2021.
The School Board will conduct two work sessions on the Combined Funds Budget in January. There will be a Public Hearing on the proposed budget on Jan. 21. The Board is expected to adopt the budget on Feb. 18, after which it will go to City Council for their review and approval in April.
View the superintendent's presentation (PDF) from the Board meeting.