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School Board gets ‘gut punch’ after first reconciliation work session

When Loudoun County Public Schools Superintendent Edgar Hatrick and Assistant Superintendent for Business and Financial Services Leigh Burden forecast a dark and difficult budget cycle last November, nobody expected it to be this painful.

School Board members left their first reconciliation work session and public hearing April 1 at Farmwell Station Middle School with a “gut-wrenching” feeling in the pit of their stomachs after assembling a possible cut list for their budget.

In an effort to prepare for the reconciliation process that will begin after the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors set the tax rate Wednesday night, the School Board wanted to get started with a preliminary list of possible cuts to make up for the close to $38 million shortfall between the two sides.

It is apparent that should the Board of Supervisors handcuff the School Board with funding as expected, there's going to be a large amount of back lash from the public.

At this point, nothing is certain for the chopping block, but the School Board assembled a list of possible programs to cut or reduce costs for the county.

On the School Board's list as possible cuts is just about every new initiative they had put into its budget. The 1-to-1 initiative pilot program and Technology Reimbursement Plan are both on the chopping block.

A big item that will surely cause some heartache as a possible cut is the closing of four small western Loudoun schools of Hillsboro, Aldie, Hamilton and Lincoln elementary schools. Closing those four schools would save $2 million.

Other difficult cuts will be freshman sports, eliminating summer school, removing middle school deans, the elimination of 14 assistant athletic directors and several more.

The School Board also took a straw vote and advised staff to halt all plans for the Music Theater Academy Magnet at Heritage High School.

In all, 35 items are currently on the list with more likely to be added. The 35 items or programs total $41,560,996 and the removal of 250 jobs.

At the end of the work session, School Board members were visibly angry and distraught at what they had just had to do.

They told everyone they had 24 hours to do something about it, urging all to contact their respective supervisors and attend the Board of Supervisors meeting Wednesday night, where supervisors will approve the county tax rate. The Loudoun Education Association will be having a rally outside the Loudoun County Government Center before the Board of Supervisors meeting starts at 4 p.m.

The School Board will also meet Wednesday for a work session at 6:30 p.m. at the School Administration Building. There will be no public comment period.

This is a developing story.


Get credentials, then ask - “Where do I sign up?”

Yes, cowbell mine went up as well. Supposedly, the lower rate was supposed to make the actual dollar amount of taxes paid the SAME for the AVERAGE homeowner to offset the higher assessments.

What a load of you know what. Mine went up $195 for the year. Although that comes out to $16 a month I just hate being lied to. I can afford the increase no problem, but the lies are unnecessary.

@LoCo Lifer, You sound like a LCPS employee. I’m all for anyone that wants to pay more to LCPS to do so. Everyone talks about willing to pay more but they won’t. My property taxes went up again this year. 20th straight year. And if you think it’s bad for 2015 budget, wait until 2016.

Vote out the supervisors- simple as that.

Maybe just maybe if the BOS stop approving all these new residential developments we can get a handle on the school funding.

What benefits is there to approving all this new residential housing ? More cars, traffic, overcrowded schools. If someone can tell me a benefit I would be curious to know. And the phrase “everyone deserves to buy/own a house” is BS!! Buying/owning a house is a privilege not a right.

The focus should be attracting high end employers to our community which has failed tremendously.

Fairfax and Montgomery County get all the high paying employers. We get Walmarts, Starbucks, and a bunch of sandwich places.

The tension will continue becasue LoCo already hs the highest real property tax rates in the Commonwealth and too much residential development. Higher taxes will result in less business growth making the funding problem worse. (Sorry Liberals! Higher taxes does equal slower growth - just ask Obama ) The BOS doesn’t have a lot of room to raise taxes. Plese stop approving rezonings from commerical to residential!!

The School Board has also done their fair share screwing up as well - consistently asking for more more than they realy need and spending too much. ($100 mm plus for the smallest LoCo high School at Lansdowne - really?)

The School Board will offer up a plan that cuts math, english and heat becasue of the “draconian” INCREASE (not decrease) in their budget.  In the end, all is well.  And while you’re at it, cry me a river for   LCPS employees who are getting small raises. Where do I sign up for 7.5 hour contractual workdays, 13 weeks of vacation, full health care, full defined benefit retirement plan, early retirement, generous defined contribution plans, etc? When you all quit becasue of the terrible pay and benefits, give me a ring.

Almost 28 years ago when I graduated from Park View High School, we didn’t worry about freshmen sports being cut, deans being eliminated, afterschool transportation not being provided, and summer school no longer being offered.  As the wealthiest county in the nation, I’m appalled about these cuts.  If I’m reading this correctly, though, the LCPS Board is truly making “emotional” cuts which will generate the most concern and public outcry.  There HAS to be other ways to make our school budget more EFFICIENT.  I am more than happy to pay more taxes to go towards better funding of our school system.  This is coming from a single, working mother of two who receives no child support/no government assistance.  I will pay more - because - my children and their education ARE WORTH IT.

LCPS will still be great. The sky is not falling like some would want you to believe. The school board spent more time on Middleburg charter school and boundary issues then the budget. Perhaps in the future they’ll build bigger HS?

A major draw for people moving to Loudoun County is the school system. Loudoun County is, after all, a bedroom community, our primary business. To remove and discourage innovation in our schools will result in slower growth. Perhaps this is what the leaders of Loudoun County want; they are getting tired of figuring out how to pay for all those new schools and school programs each year.

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