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Loudoun School Board adopts $1.2B budget; full-day kindergarten funded

The Loudoun County School Board approved the superintendent’s proposed budget after amending it and reducing the budget total by $138,000.

The budget came out to $1.202 billion and was approved by a 7-2 vote, with Eric DeKenipp (Catoctin) and Jill Turgeon (Blue Ridge) opposed. The spending plan represents an 8 percent increase from last year’s $1.1 billion budget.

DeKenipp said he was not supporting the budget because while student enrollment has increased by 30 percent in the past 10 years, the budget has more than doubled, which he said is not efficient.

Turgeon said she was not approving of the amended budget because she feels Loudoun County Public Schools staff adequately identified the school system’s largest needs, and some of the amended items should have gone through the committee process.

Through amendments to the proposed budget, the School Board has funded universal full day kindergarten, increased co-curricular stipends for teachers and classified staff, partially restored school instructional allotments and added an elementary technology assistant position while eliminating an unneeded assistant principal and secretary position and delaying a handful of one-time projects.

“This budget really moves us forward in this county if it’s supported by the Board of Supervisors,” Joy Maloney (Broad Run) said.

The delayed one-time projects include a middle school camera parody, card reader, storage locker project, fire door holders and tower site infrastructure project, which Eric Hornberger (Ashburn) proposed be funded through the year end fund balance instead of through the budget in order to save $525,000.

Budget priorities included fully staffing new schools and the Academies of Loudoun, increasing teacher salaries, security upgrades and mental health support. The approved budget funds mental health teams made up of counselors, school psychologists and social workers at every middle school. Last year’s budget put these teams in place at every high school.

“The biggest risk to our children right now is mental health security,” Chairman Jeff Morse (Dulles) said.

Morse said it’s difficult to get students to seek professional help outside of school, so by bringing the professionals in, they’re catching students who need help earlier and students who want to seek help have a more accessible avenue they can take advantage of on a daily basis.

“If we don’t support them, who’s going to? And I think they do directly affect our student’s ability to learn,” Hornberger said.

Tom Marshall (Leesburg) brought up research-backed links between teen depression and increased cellphone use. He suggested banning cellphones in schools.

The budget was approved after barely an hour of discussion. Morse credited the low amount of changes to staff’s work on providing a needs-based budget, and Vice Chairwoman Brenda Sheridan (Sterling) said the School Board heard a record low of six speakers at the budget public hearing.

“The lack of changes and questions really reflects the quality of document that came forward and the quality of the research,” Morse said.

The Loudoun Board of Supervisors will finalize the county's budget over the next couple months and determine how much money to allocate to the school system. If the county allocation doesn't fully fund the School Board's budget, the School Board will re-work the spending plan and make cuts.

Comments


Interesting turn of a phrase: “funded through the year end fund balance instead of through the budget in order to save $525,000.” Is there really anything saved? Is the year end balance found money? In my experience the year end balance is usually contrived by under estimating how many $95,000 teachers will retire and be replaced by $50,000 teachers. Another good reason why multi-year budgeting should be considered. Then tie it to a 2 year Superintendent contract instead of a 4 year deal which only gives each board one shot at modifying behavior and getting desired results instead of feel good effort. This budget is now $6.7 million per school day. Remember that the next time LCPS closes on a Friday and a Monday when there is no snow! Anyone want to guess why during all the budget discussions nobody ever mentioned what the hourly cost of employees is during a 180 day school year after reducing it by snow days, sick days etc?
Bob Ohneiser Esq.


Nothing demonstrates that Loudoun has its own swamp more than the LCPS budget.

“DeKenipp said he was not supporting the budget because while student enrollment has increased by 30 percent in the past 10 years, the budget has more than doubled… “

The school board and the BoS should all be put in jail for such gross mismanagement of public funds.

We could have had significant property tax decreases (or funded every other need in the county) if we didn’t keep feeding that fat cow that is LCPS.


“The biggest risk to our children right now is mental health security,” Chairman Jeff Morse (Dulles) said.”

Why?


Why sign up to speak if you all never listen(or make any common sense changes), same goes for BOS. Most in Loudoun feel Full day Kindergarten is a joke. Most felt smart boards weren’t needed in every classroom.


The LCPS school board approved an FY19 budget request tonight that includes a scandalous $88M increase from FY18.

That is:

1. An 8% budget 8ncrease for only 1.8% enrollment growth

2. An $88M increase, over and above prior inflated budgets, when LCPS couldn’t even spend $40M from last year’s funding.

3. Includes raises up to 9% for teachers when LCPS has the lowest vacancy rate of any district they can find despite hiring the most new teachers every year (many qualified candidates don’t even get an interview. This is not unlike the unionized car makers of the 70’s where the workers were so overpaid, getting a union job was like winning the lottery)

This budget increase is not about FDK (just $2M or 2% of the increase) or even about mental health (questionable expansion still only cost $3.7M or 4% of the increase). It was about giving $40M in massive salary raises (some at 9%+) to some of the highest-paid teachers in the state. How many of you received 9% increases last year? Over the winter break, the school board added another $3.5M to its raise pool solely because it thought it could roll Supervisor Matt Letourneau, Ralph Buona and the rest of the BOS.

This just continues the profligate ways started under Bill Fox and fellow RINOs Jeff Morse and Debbie Rose. The only school board member acting like a responsible steward and voting against it was Eric DeKenipp.

Households in Loudoun are paying an extra 10 cents in real estate taxes, ~$500/yr, because of this excessive spending. What will the BOS do? Will you represent the taxpayers of Loudoun and halve this request of the LCPS union or give your constituents’ money to the school board’s friends.

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