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Loudoun County superintendent presents $1.2B school budget

Superintendent Eric Williams
Loudoun County Public Schools Superintendent Eric Williams presented a $1.2 billion budget proposal for fiscal 2019 to the School Board Tuesday night.

The spending plan equals an 8 percent increase over last year’s budget.

Aside from keeping up with student enrollment growth, the budget also prioritizes increasing teacher salaries, increasing compensation for classified and administrative staff, expanding full-day kindergarten and expanding mental health services in the middle school level.

Loudoun County Public Schools has projected a 1,483-student increase in the next fiscal year, a 1.8-percent increase that brings the student body total to 83,105 in the 92 schools. A top priority in the budget is to maintain class sizes and services.

“So the growth in Loudoun County continues,” Williams said. “Another trend that continues that won’t surprise board members is the fact that the growth in special needs populations outpaces the overall growth rate.”

If fully funded, the proposed operating budget would result in an average cost per pupil of $14,253 as opposed to the current $13,688.

Williams said once adjusted for inflation, the fiscal 2019 cost per pupil would be 5.6 percent, or $720 lower, than the 2008-2009 school year. In comparison with neighboring school divisions, LCPS will remain near the bottom in per-pupil expenditures. Eighty percent of this goes directly to instruction, he said.

The proposed operating budget also funds 11,430 employees, which is an increase of 499.7 employees, a 4.6 percent increase from this year.

The School Board will examine Williams' proposal and take public input before voting for a final spending plan next month.

Three-hundred thirty-nine full-time positions are budgeted to keep up with enrollment growth at a cost of $34 million. The positions include existing jobs as well as new teachers for Goshen Post Elementary School, Willard Intermediate School and Academies of Loudoun, which will open in the next year. This money also extends to ES31 and Independence High School pre-staff.

In addition to general growth, the projected rate of enrollment growth for special education – 4.3 percent – and English learner students – 7.5 percent – is higher than the overall enrollment growth rate.

Williams also proposed $29.8 million be allocated to salaries and benefits. Loudoun has been near the top compared to surrounding jurisdictions in starting salaries, but the school system has come under criticism for how it compensates mid-career teachers and classified staff. The proposed budget seeks to alleviate some of these concerns.

According to Williams’ presentation, a teacher with a masters degree that works for LCPS for 30 years will make $164,000 less than a teacher in the same situation at Fairfax County Public Schools. Though a gap is still present, that gap has reduced from $317,000 last year.

“We still have work to do in terms of our teacher salary scale,” Williams said. “On the bright side, that gap is substantially reduced from last year as a result of the work of this School Board.”

The proposed budget sets aside $15.8 million for step increases across all scales at an average of 2.2 percent. LCPS staff has focused on school nurse, safety and security specialist, system engineers, elementary and middle school assistant principal salaries and recommends steps such as a 1.3 percent across-the-board scale increase for classified, administrative and auxiliary scales.

Building on last year’s budget, $3.2 million would go toward expanding mental health services for middle school students through unified support teams made up of 17 additional school counselors, seven additional social workers and seven additional psychologists.

Williams said $2 million would go to expanding full-day kindergarten to serve 93 percent of kindergarten students through increasing the number of full-day classrooms from 205 to 235 and keeping universal full-day kindergarten in all elementary schools that have it now. Arcola, Buffalo Trail, Cedar Lane, Dominion Trail, Hutchison Farm, Legacy, Liberty, Moorefield Station and Pinebrook Elementary Schools would have full-day kindergarten funded through the proposed budget. Those schools don’t have full-day kindergarten this year.

The proposed budget also includes a restoration of $2 million for textbooks and digital resources.

Another initiative highlighted by Williams’ presentation are security measures in order to provide a safer and more efficient learning environment, he said. The proposed budget includes hiring four security patrols to report to schools on an as-needed basis and funding the maintenance, repair and replacement of security components, such as intrusion alert, access security and radios for $200,000.

Williams proposed the $88.9 million increase in the fiscal 2019 budget come from a $3.5 million carry over/beginning balance, $64.5 million county transfer (up 8.6 percent from last year's transfer) and $20.9 million in state funding.

The next budget work session is 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the LCPS Administration Building. The School Board will continue to work on the budget for the next month before potentially amending and approving the budget at a Feb. 1 meeting.

Comments


Bogus numbers!
Using their own numbers 19020 special ed and English as second language students eat up 475.5 million or 39.6% of the budget on 22% of the kids! That means a average student really receives 11,305.29 in resources. Must be that common core math they use.


@pragmatist

Loudoun County is the wealthiest county in the nation based on household median income and has been for years…


Fairfax schools like Lake Braddock and Robinson?  4,000 students, six grades in one contained environment, middle school students exposed to high school issues, complete lack of identity among classmates?  Community and school go hand in hand in Loudoun by design in most cases, especially at the elementary and middle levels, which encourages positive (in most cases) parent and business partnerships. 

Pragmatist, read Forbes.  They break it down pretty well.


To put the excessive raises in context:

1. A Step 9 teacher in FY17 would receive a 16.8% raise over a 2-year period through FY19.

2. A Step 9 teacher in FY18 would receive a 9.5% raise, equal to $5500, in JUST ONE YEAR!

3. Over a 44-year career (age 22-65), a teacher with a bachelors in LCPS earns $8K MORE than a teacher in Fairfax! When you add in retirement pensions to age 80, the LCPS teachers earns $60 more. (Fairfax tops out at $87K whereas LCPS pays $94K for Step 30)


The sky is falling again on LCPS. Williams asking for $1.2 billion, really only needs about $800 mill but will get about $1 billion from BOS.
I like how we’re always compared to Fairfax… Just think if our schools were the size of Fairfax schools, we’d have 10-12 less schools… Tax payers money wasted on overhead.


BOS needs to put a stop these increases, since Loudoun already has some of the highest property tax rates in the region.  LCPS needs to sharpen their pencils, do their homework, and pass the test of providing competitive salaries and resources on the already existing high budget.  The mantra of “I want more, I want more” is not being a good example to the kids and community.  BOS please do your job and tell LCPS no and to figure it out.


Once upon a time, a coach recruited the most talented players to join his team. The coach himself was awful and just let the players do what they wanted. But the team still won games because the players were the fastest, tallest, strongest. The coach claimed he was great. But it was obvious the players would have advanced so much more elsewhere. Was the coach great or did he just have the most talent? Should the coach be paid a fortune?

In LCPS, we know:

1. In the intl PISA exam measuring applied skills, LCPS performed below every other OECD country when discounting for socioeconomic factors. Thus, we have the most talented kids who are also underperforming.

2. In a recent NY Times piece, LCPS ranked in the 41st percentile (from the bottom) in terms of student growth between grades 4 & 8.

So just because we have talented students from the doctor, engineer, and lawyer parents in Loudoun, should we give exorbitant raises to the lucky few teachers who were able to get an interview in LCPS?


Loudoun1965, please provide you definition of “wealthiest” as it pertains to Loudoun County and its citizens.


If this is Loudoun county’s biggest issue, we should count our blessings.  Just read that one of the two middle schools in ACPS has been closed indefinitely due to crumbling structural issues.  No school for those kids until at least next Tuesday.  Loudoun is the wealthiest county in the nation; we have great schools and a predominately supportive community.  This perennial complaint is interesting to watch and often a reminder of how far we’ve come since the good old days of four high schools, four middle schools, and eight elementary schools.  Growth brings in more students and more funding, and funding has to support that growth.  Maintaining all components of our schools should be the top priority to ensure our county’s prosperity.  Missing school for snow is inevitable; missing school for lack of building funding is inexcusable.


Oncerural, I have spoken at LCSB and BOS meetings. Speaking at LCSB meetings, other than to call them out, is useless. The board members and top admin officials collude behind closed doors to devise a “Supt’s” budget. The board is supposed to scrutinize that budget but since they planned it together, it becomes a charade to justify the “high quality” work (filled with errors btw) and sell it to the public.

The BOS is where the real action occurs. They were scared of being accused of gutting the school budget previously. But many of us have dug into the budget to provide justification for slashing it. The worst part is county employees go without because the school board has no guilt about trying to grab every last dime of new revenue. This is true even though sheriff deputies put themselves in harm’s way and are out working all hours during snowstorms while teachers are drinking hot chocolate at home.

But this year, we will see how many RINOs are on the BOS. If they cave to the greedy school board members, I will use some of that Ryan/Trump stock market bump to run social media ads against them from now until the 2019 election.


Golden, here is the deal.

1. A new LCPS teacher makes a couple thousand MORE than a new Fairfax teacher.

2. A step 10 LCPS teacher earns more than a step 10 FFX teacher.

3. A step 30 LCPS teacher earns more than a step 30 FFX teacher. The LCPS teacher continues to earn more for the rest of their career (e.g. age 52 - 65).

4. An LCPS retiree makes more than a FFX retiree (retirement age thru 80 or 90).

There is a period where FFX teachers earn more (say steps 15-25 mainly). This is because it costs more to live in FFX. LCPS cherrypicked the years from about age 35 until 52 to calculate differences in salary but not after a teacher reaches the top step (it’s also unadjusted for inflation or net present value). But over a full career including retirement, there is no difference 8n total pay despite it costing more to live in FFX.

LCPS school board, primarily because they have spouses who want those salaries, made it a “strategic goal” to pay their LCPS spouses more than FFX teachers. That is not possible since FFX has to pay more to keep its teachers. Thus, it’s really just a ruse to jack up salaries for their spouses. You don’t give out 7.5% raises unless you have trouble finding/keeping employees. LCPS can’t even interview all its qualified candidates. It’s simply corruption by board members with personal conflicts of interest.


“average cost per pupil of $14,253 as opposed to the current $13,688. “

A 4.12% increase is peanuts.


Virginia SGP,since you seem to know all this.why don’t you go work for the paper-or better yet go to a Board meeting armed with your knowledge. Your comments are good til they lay blame on people(all the Board members are foxes?).Name calling makes you a bully. Just presenting your ideas(or to the best of your knowledge)is more helpful to all.


Can someone explain the figures from this passage. Does this mean if a Fairfax teacher is making $400k the loudoun teacher is making $236k?

According to Williams’ presentation, a teacher with a masters degree that works for LCPS for 30 years will make $164,000 less than a teacher in same situation at Fairfax County Public Schools. Though a gap is still present, that gap has reduced from $317,000 last year.


Can someone explain the figures from this passage. Does this mean if a Fairfax teacher is making $400k the loudoun teacher is making $236k?

According to Williams’ presentation, a teacher with a masters degree that works for LCPS for 30 years will make $164,000 less than a teacher in same situation at Fairfax County Public Schools. Though a gap is still present, that gap has reduced from $317,000 last year.


Any guesses on what they will threaten to cut as a scare tactic this year when they don’t get their bloated budget request?  This is a game I like to play with my wife every year.  Let’s see ... maybe no running water in the school system or every child must walk uphill (both ways) for a mile to the bus stop to save on gas, LOL!

C’mon, let’s all help Eric be more creative this year!


LTM, You really need to have an editor go through this story, correct the glaring errors, and repost it. Typos and figures that make absolutely no sense make this a very difficult article to digest.


(A “news” article is not supposed to just reiterate propaganda from corrupt school officials.  A reporter should verify the claims made by any source and point out the inconsistencies.  This article falls woefully short.)

This budget is dipped in gold (taxpayers’ gold, of course) and used to hand out spoils to LCPS employees.  Ask yourself when was the last time you, as a private sector employee with an actual risk of being laid off or of having to meet performance goals, received a 7.5% annual increase in pay?  Especially at the expense of your neighbors’ taxes?  Well, here it is.  And the presentation is full of lies and misrepresentations.

1. LCPS claims the per pupil cost in FY19 will only be $14,253.  Yet their math doesn’t add up because $1,202M divided by the projected 83,105 students equals $14,468 per pupil.  That’s a massive 6.0% increase in per pupil spending in one year!

2. LCPS is planning on having just 1.8% more students.  But yet it is asking for 4x that much in an 8.0% funding increase?  Where is your taxpayer $ going?  To the school board spouses’ paychecks of course, to the tune of a 7.5% pay increase.

3. The LCPS budget was inflated by $40M in FY17 (they couldn’t even spend $40M of their budget).  Yet they continue to ask for an even more inflated budget in FY19.  There has been money in every budget to open new schools.  Those LCPS personnel are covered by the student enrollment increases after the school opens since they are teaching the new students.  Yet each year, LCPS asks for a bigger slush fund ($4.1M this year), on top of all the new school funding that exists in the carryover funding, to cover “new school” personnel.

4. Last month, LCPS projected massive raises (to the tune of 6%+) for mid-year teachers like the school board spouses.  Yet, in one month and apparently because there was “only” a $40M disconnect between the BOS guidance and the LCPS budget, LCPS threw an additional $3.7M towards teacher raises.  To put that in comparison, the increased cost of FDK in FY19 is a grand total of $2.0M.

Ultimately, we have the foxes (school board members) guarding the henhouse (taxpayer $) here.  They will take, and take and take some more.  The question is whether the BOS will give out your tax $ to such a corrupt school board.  We shall see.


I could pick this apart…but I’m waiting for Brian…

In general, though, an 8% increase in the budget but a 1.8% increase in enrollment is a little hard to swallow. Looking forward to the LCPS protestors at the next few board meetings dusting off their “fully fund the schools” placards.  Trust me—these schools are fully funded, and Dr. Williams has now officially drunk the Ed Hatrick Koolaid of high-balling the budget like it was a labor negotiation, only to magically find all the cash he needs at the last minute.  This would be a fine tactic if it was General Motors and wasn’t our money—but this IS our money they’re playing with.

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