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ACPS Superintendent Proposes Operating Budget that Focuses on Staff Compensation and Social, Emotional and Academic Learning

Jan. 6, 2022—At last night’s School Board meeting, Superintendent Dr. Gregory C. Hutchings, Jr. proposed a Fiscal Year 2023 (FY 2023) Operating Budget for Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) with a focus on staff compensation, increased quality of remote learning, as well as social, emotional and academic learning supports for students in preschool through grade 12. The Operating Budget of $316.2 million for the 2022-23 school year is an increase of 6.6% from last year’s budget. The proposed Combined Funds Budget for 2022-23, which includes School Nutrition funds as well as Grants and Special Projects and the operating budget, totals $345.8 million.

The operating budget proposes changes designed to provide a competitive salary and benefits program to enable ACPS to continue to recruit and retain high quality staff. This includes an average 2.6% salary step increase and a market rate adjustment of 2.5% for eligible staff. Also, it includes a 2% one-time payment of base salary for those who are not eligible for a step increase due to being on a hold step or at the top of their scale, and market rate adjustments for select staff — including bus drivers, bus monitors, bus mechanics, paraprofessionals and elementary and middle school principals and department chiefs — to make those salaries competitive in the region. ACPS continues to fund its share for the cost of benefit programs such as the Virginia Retirement System and ACPS’ Supplemental Retirement Fund to ensure these funds remain economically viable.

“This budget is aligned with the priorities set by the School Board for the 2022-23 school year. It provides the support our students and staff need to succeed and mirrors our core values that ensure ACPS is empowering, equity-focused, innovative and results-driven,” said Superintendent Dr. Gregory C. Hutchings, Jr.

The superintendent proposes to allocate funds to expand access and improve the quality of out-of-school learning. Virtual learning has allowed staff to reimagine educational opportunities and instructional delivery, and has also posed social and emotional challenges for staff and students. Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds will also aid in the recovery of learning loss and address trauma experienced during the pandemic.

The budget provides increased support for maintaining and improving learning spaces, a commitment to professional learning and growth opportunities, and instructional excellence. Additional priorities in the proposed budget include Grades K-4 literacy, equitable TAG identification of Black and Hispanic students, and high school graduation rates among Hispanic male students. These investments have proven to be effective which resulted in the class of 2021 seeing an all-time ACPS high for graduation rates at 91% and the school division’s lowest dropout rate of 5%—down from 7.7% in 2020.

“Our budget team has worked to refine the process for developing the budget to ensure it addresses all priorities from the School Board through the classroom teacher,” said Chief Financial Officer Dominic Turner. “The aim is to make ACPS more efficient in reaching these goals and increasing our ability to measure outcomes.”

The School Board will conduct two work sessions on the combined funds budget – including the operating budget – in January. There will be a Public Hearing on the proposed budget on Jan. 21, 2022. The Board is expected to adopt the budget on Feb. 18, 2022 after which it will go to City Council for their review and approval.

The full budget calendar and a summary of the budget process can be found on the ACPS Budget web page. Information about the FY 2023 budget process shared with the School Board is also available online. Watch the presentation from the Jan. 6, 2022 Board meeting.

Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) serves more than 15,400 students who hail from more than 143 countries and speak 123 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.