Alexandria City School Board Approves Combined Funds Budget for 2023-24 School Year
Budget Focus is on Staff Compensation, Student Learning Supports, Security and Facilities
The Alexandria City School Board voted at its meeting tonight to approve the Combined Funds Budget for the 2023-24 school year of $359.9 million for Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS). This budget focuses on staff compensation and increased funding for English Learner instruction positions, Grades K-4 literacy, high school math, school security services, and athletic program planning and supports. It also includes funding for the opening of the new Douglas MacArthur Elementary School in August 2023, renovation of the 1703 N. Beauregard St. building to be used as swing space for future modernization projects and preventive maintenance at other ACPS facilities.
“We want to thank the community members, staff and students who shared their input as the School Board considered priorities and needs in this year’s budget,” said Board Chair Meagan L. Alderton. “As we develop a new budget every year, we appreciate how important it is to listen to many voices and collaborate with the interim superintendent, school division staff and our counterparts in the City of Alexandria. We all work together in this budget process to ensure that our students have excellent teachers and the resources they need to thrive in school and graduate ready for college, careers and life.”
Interim Superintendent Dr. Melanie Kay-Wyatt had presented the School Board with a proposed budget on Jan. 5, 2023. The ACPS 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 budget includes measures to improve employee salary and benefits so 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 3.0% 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 3% bonus for eligible employees on “Top of Scale” status, a step increase 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 for attorney and labor negotiation costs for upcoming collective bargaining with employee groups.
The approved 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.
“The FY 2024 Combined Funds Budget prioritizes our staff, facilities and academic and social-emotional resources for students,” said Chief Financial Officer Dominic Turner. “This budget positions our school division to retain top teachers and staff and successfully recruit candidates in a competitive job market, as we raise teacher pay and continue to provide high-quality healthcare benefits. We are excited to open a new school next fall and advance our work for future school modernization projects.”
New funding will be provided for facilities and operations, to include school security services, preventive maintenance in schools and repairs to heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems (HVAC). ACPS will increase the square footage of school facilities serving students with additional funding to open a new school in August 2023–Douglas MacArthur Elementary School, with a building engineer and more Virginia Preschool Initiative (VPI) classrooms– and renovate the newly-purchased 1703 N. Beauregard St. building as swing space during upcoming school modernization projects.
“I want to thank the School Board for approving this FY 2024 Budget that provides the programs and supports our students need to succeed. This truly represents an investment in staff, student resources and facilities that will go far in advancing our mission and vision of an equitable education for all of our students,” said Interim Superintendent Dr. Melanie Kay-Wyatt. “Thank you, too, to Chief Financial Officer Dominic Turner and his team for their diligence in working on this budget, sharing information and updates and answering questions throughout this process.”
In keeping with its commitment to place racial equity at the heart of all its decision-making, the School Board’s Approved Budget supports the continued focus and implementation of the 2025 Strategic Plan: Equity for All. A summary of the budget process and the timeline can be found on the ACPS Budget webpage, as well as the ACPS FY 2024 Proposed Budget Book.
To facilitate community engagement in the budget adoption process, the School Board conducted three work sessions on the Combined Funds Budget in this process and a Public Hearing was held on Jan. 19, 2023. All School Board meetings and work sessions can be viewed online. The City Council is scheduled to adopt its budget for the year ahead, including the appropriation to ACPS, on May 3, 2023.
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. Visit www.acps.k12.va.us.