McLean School Board Member Talks about Schools Budget
The McLean Ear asked our school board member Dranesville representative Jane K. Strauss to write about the recently passed Fairfax County school budget.
On May 20, the FY2011 budget was finally resolved. This was the third budget impacted by the recession and the most unusual in everyone’s memory. The good news is that class sizes will not increase. In our nonpoverty schools class sizes are already too large.
Elementary band and strings and elementary foreign language will not be cut. High school freshman sports and track will not be cut and will be funded through athletic fees. We will also return to asking students to pay a $75 fee for AP and IB exams. These fees are not something we relish levying. But neither do we want to narrow the curriculum, raise class size nor diminish the athletic programs.
Unfortunately pay for our hard working educators will be frozen for the second year. 3,400 teachers and assistants will work under a reduced contract and thus experience a pay cut. 200 positions will be eliminated, half of those coming from central offices.
Over the last three years, 1400 positions have been cut, $470 million eliminated from the baseline, while the student population has been growing – 10,000 more children since the 2007-2008 school year.
The School Board is hopeful that the next budget will see things level out a bit and enable us to give some sort of pay increase to our teachers. The most important resource we have are the many excellent people who work with our children every day. We must keep the good folks we have and remain competitive in the market place. Every year we hire 100′s of new teachers, talented young professionals who could locate anywhere in the U.S. We want the best to come here. Even in tough times we need to keep a close eye on quality.