ACPS Interim Superintendent Proposes Combined Funds Budget that Focuses on Staff Compensation, Student Supports and Facility Opening and Maintenance
Increased Funding Proposed for English Learner Positions, Grades K-4 Literacy, High School Math, School Security Services, and Athletic Program Planning and Supports
Jan. 5, 2023—At last night’s School Board meeting, Interim Superintendent Dr. Melanie Kay-Wyatt proposed the Fiscal Year 2024 (FY24) Combined Funds Budget for Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) with a focus on staff compensation, the opening of a new facility, renovation of a new building and preventive maintenance at other sites, as well as increased funding for grades K-4 literacy, high school math, English learner positions, student social-emotional support, school security services and expansion plans for middle school athletics and student athlete supports. The Proposed Combined Funds Budget for 2023-24, which includes the operating budget, provides additional school nutrition funds as well as grants and special projects, totaling $359.9 million. The ACPS Operating Budget of $329.4 million for the 2023-24 school year is an increase of 4.2% from last year’s budget.
The proposed budget includes measures to improve employee salary and benefits so that ACPS can remain competitive in the Northern Virginia region for recruiting and retaining high quality staff. These measures include funding for an average 2.63% step increase for eligible employees, an additional 2.5% increased market rate adjustment (MRA) for eligible employees, continued funding of increases within a range of 1.25% to 4.4% for phased MRAs for select employee groups, a 2% bonus for eligible employees on “Hold-Step” status and a moderate health care benefits increase for medical, vision and dental coverage costs. Funding was also included in this budget for attorney and labor negotiation costs for upcoming collective bargaining with employee groups.
“This budget aligns with School Board priorities for the 2023-24 school year by targeting resources to advance our students’ academic success and well-being and ensure we can retain and recruit highly qualified staff,” said Interim Superintendent Dr. Melanie Kay-Wyatt. “Our students and staff have experienced numerous changes that have impacted their daily lives, and the education industry has been forever changed. We have been able to make many lasting adjustments to improve our school division for the better, while also recognizing there is still work to be done to ensure our students are receiving the social and emotional supports needed for positive development and academic rigor to experience growth year after year.”
The proposed budget adds instructional supports by including new English learner positions within the school division and increased funding for literacy for Grades K-4 and math instruction at Alexandria City High School. Also, these funds will add more Student Support Team positions (school counselors, psychologists, substance abuse counselor) to help with students’ social-emotional needs. Additional funding for ACPS athletics programs will go towards planning for expansion of middle school athletics and supports for student athletes.
In terms of facilities, the interim superintendent proposes new funding for school security services, preventive maintenance in schools and repairs to heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems (HVAC). With proposed funding for opening a new school in the 2023-24 school year and renovating another building, ACPS will increase the square footage of school facilities serving students. This budget provides resources for the new Douglas MacArthur Elementary School (MacArthur) to open in August 2023 and to have a building engineer and additional Virginia Preschool Initiative (VPI) classrooms, as well as for renovations to begin for using the newly-purchased 1703 N. Beauregard St. building as swing space during upcoming school modernization projects.
ACPS Chief Financial Officer Dominic Turner highlighted the efficiencies built into this proposed budget, saying “Our budget team worked to ensure the strategic use of ACPS resources so all of our students can succeed. In addition to meeting division needs for the 2023-24 school year, this budget incorporates efficiencies by reducing vacant positions, accounting for attrition savings and eliminating one-time funding from the FY 2023 Final Budget.” Turner encouraged the ACPS community to get involved in the budget process.
The School Board will hold a work session on the combined funds budget–including the operating budget–on Jan. 12, 2023, and a Public Hearing on the proposed budget on Jan. 19, 2023. The Board is expected to adopt the budget on Feb. 16, 2023 after which it will go to the City Council for its review and approval.
The full budget timeline and a summary of the budget process can be found on the ACPS Budget web page. Information about the FY 2024 budget process shared with the School Board is also available online. Watch the presentation from the Jan. 5, 2023 Board meeting.
Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) serves more than 15,700 students who hail from more than 119 countries and speak 124 languages. ACPS has 18 schools, including two middle schools, two K-8 schools, one pre-K school and the internationally recognized Alexandria City High School. ACPS is committed to putting racial equity at the heart of all decisions and ensuring that each and every student succeeds.