LCPS Budget Proposal FY2021 Williams

Loudoun County Public Schools Superintendent Eric Williams displays a copy of his proposed budget for fiscal 2021 on Jan. 9.

Loudoun County Public Schools Superintendent Eric Williams presented his $1.396 billion Proposed Fiscal Year 2021 Operating Budget to the Loudoun County School Board Thursday night during a special meeting at the LCPS Administrative Offices in Ashburn.

The proposed budget represents a $113.6 million — or 8.9 percent — increase over the current budget of $1.282 million. Its review and adoption is one of the first major tasks to be performed by the 2020-2023 School Board, which took office earlier this week.

Williams said class size maintenance, personalized project-based learning, enhanced security, increased teacher salaries to support recruitment and retention are among the proposed budget's priorities, as well as added support for English-learning, special education, gifted and economically disadvantaged students.

"The proposed FY21 budget will sustain that investment, enabling LCPS to continue providing deeper learning experiences that empower students to make meaningful contributions to the world," he said.

Enrollment Growth

Approximately 85,755 students are projected to attend LCPS across 95 campuses next school year — 1,580 more enrollees than the current school year, marking 1.9 percent growth. Enrollment of English-learner students is expected to grow 9.1 percent.

Increased enrollment will account for $31.9 million in proposed budget increases, according to Williams' presentation. LCPS officials say these funds are necessary for maintaining current class sizes and student services.

The proposed budget would result in an average cost per pupil of $16,213, as compared to the current CPP of $15,241. Given this number, should neighboring schools systems at least maintain their per pupil expenditures, LCPS will remain at or below the median CPP.

Compensation

LCPS expects to pay approximately 12,320 employees during the 2020-2021 school year, reflecting an increase of about 530, or 4.5 percent, compared with the fiscal 2020 adopted budget.

A net increase of $54.3 million related to salaries and benefits is included in the proposed budget. LCPS officials say this will emphasize improved salaries for teachers so the division can continue to acquire and retain top-notch instruction.

Under the proposed budget, all eligible employees would receive salary step increases averaging 2.2 percent, with an additional 1 percent market-based, across-the-board increase given to eligible full-time employees on the administrator, classified and auxiliary scales. Further, a $6.2 million overall decrease in employee health insurance costs has been proposed.

Enhancements and reallocations

The proposed budget allots $25.6 million for overall enhancements and reallocations, including changes related to project-based learning, special education, security and equity.

According to LCPS, the proposed budget would support personalized, project-based learning in disciplines including math, science, social studies, language arts and computer science. Five Gifted Education teachers would be hired to provide instruction to elementary students through their home schools, for example.

With the number of students with disabilities expected to grow by 1.5 percent, the proposed budget spends more than $9.3 million in special education-related enhancements. It allows for the hiring of 47 additional special education teachers and 28 teacher assistants, as well as the creation of Special Education Deans for select elementary and middle schools.

More than $6 million in enhancements related to equity are included in the budget. It provides 12.8 added teachers for schools with high proportions of English learning students, the hiring of a supervisor and three instructional facilitators focused on equity and culturally responsive instruction, and two additional teachers to conduct STEM-focused programs for students from groups that are underrepresented in gifted education.

Revenue

Based on Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam's introduced budget, Williams' proposed budget assumes a $19 million increase in state funding, further recommending a $94.1 million increase in the county transfer to the schools — a 10.8% increase over the fiscal 20 recommendation.

LCPS officials say a gap of $16.2 to $28.6 million exists between the superintendent's proposed county transfer increase and the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors' proposed increase based on fiscal guidance the Board of Supervisors gave the county administrator earlier this week.

The School Board will hold several budget work sessions, with the first one scheduled for Jan. 14 at 4 p.m. Public comment on the proposed budget will be welcomed at the regularly scheduled board meetings at 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 14 and 28, and a public hearing regarding the budget will take place during the latter meeting.

"Students only get one shot at K-12 education, so it's important that we do this work right," Williams said after finishing Thursday's presentation.

The School Board is expected to adopt the revised budget on Feb. 4. More information on the proposed fiscal 2021 budget is available at lcps.org/Page/167905.

(34) comments

jke

Ask Atoosa she is the one who said spend it so we can ask for more in the new budget. Yes it is on her web page do your own homework.

RandomName2019

I don't see anything on her Facebook page, so if you'd like to make a compelling argument then providing information would be a great first step.

amerigirl

Maybe you should stop being nasty long enough to be more specific. Like give the site and where it is on it?

RandomName2019

What was the fund balance left over from the last budget cycle? Is it explicitly identified within this budget proposal?

Virginia SGP

Great question and no it is not. Here is why.

LCPS creates a budget for FY21 (July 2020 - June 2021) BEFORE the FY20 budget has ended (July 2019 - June 2020). So the only information that could be used for that purpose is .... the FY19 audit. In that audit, there was $40M left over. Yet, LCPS never corrects the new FY21 budget with the "bias" (error) from prior years. That is why the surplus keeps building and building.

It is completely crooked. Any financial reps for a private sector company would be fired if they did this. They are literally wasting $M's through just having $40M sit in a bank account earning no returns! Not to mention how it keeps taxes high. When you keep excess taxes, then you feel free to spend the "slush fund" leftover. Thus, the $1.9M in extra questionable "diversity" books. Supervisor Letourneau is the worst as he programs in a $100M slush fund to give out goodies at the end of the year.

ace10

Call 9-1-1. Taxpayers are about to be robbed. Instead of a pistol and a hoodie, the crook is wearing a nice suit and a big smile while holding a pork-filled budget binder.

chrisnich

Alright, so what's the real number the school board is seeking? (Hint: It's not $1.4 billion.) Every year the school board comes in with an exaggerated budget. And every year the BOS shaves it down while the superintendent acts like he's being asked to sacrifice an internal organ. This dance is getting old.

Sittingon15

Just imagine what the budget would need to be if Loudoun County schools didn’t cancel school for half of every winter.

RandomName2019

Imagine what a conversation would look like without inane hyperbole.

During the 2017 school year, not a single day of the 15 were used.

amerigirl

True, I have never seen Loudoun have to extend their year for too many weather days, even when they were used for hurricanes.

Loudooun independent

How much is the invoice we are sending to the federal government to cover the 9 percent increase in English learning?

The localities are required to accept anyone regardless of legal status. If a family is not in the US legally, we should bill the Fed for this added cost in not enforcing immigration laws. When it gets to SCOTUS, I would bet we have a good case for reimbursement.

amerigirl

Many immigrants that come here legally don't speak English. Why would you want their children to be disadvantaged? If you were working abroad wouldn't your kids to have the same advantage? I don't know where you are getting your info but to go to school in Loudoun you need documentation. An original birth certificate or a certified copy, Child's Social Security Number:Proof of legal guardianship or legal custody if not the parent of the student and Proof of Residency. So what added cost are you talking about? Sounds like you just don't like immigrants and assume that they are all illegal.

Virginia SGP

Not true. Not true at all. A very tiny percentage of legal immigrants do not speak English.

Chris McHale

Amerigirl- I would hope if he was working abroad it would be legal. You seem to keep forgetting that critical factor.

amerigirl

SGP, do you think they came to this country speaking English? After Vietnam do you think that influx of immigrants and their children knew English? The reason that they know it now is because it was taught to them.

Chris McHale

Would you rather LCPS not accept these kids. Would it be better for you if (a) they were on the street rather than in school, (b) they did not learn English but only remained Spanish speaking or (c) were skilled with regard to some of the skills tought by LCPS

Virginia SGP

Chris, immigrants have attended public schools for decades without having ESL classes. We have kids who speak Mandarin or Russian but there are no ESL classes for them. They learn the language in English-only classes. Why do we spend $$$$ on a group that consists mainly of illegal immigrants? Shouldn't we spend as much or more on disadvantaged kids who are born here legally? How is that moral to spend more on illegal immigrant kids than our own needy kids?

amerigirl

Chris, why would I assume that an American working abroad would be illegal? There are many US companies that have sites overseas.

amerigirl

VA SGP, how are we spending money on illegals? They have to have documentation to get into Loudoun schools

Virginia SGP

amerigirl, are you serious? All students, even illegal immigrants, are provided an education in LCPS schools. In fact, whereas a poor student simply gets assigned to a 25-student class, an illegal gets that same teacher for the 25-student class and then gets EXTRA ELL teachers assigned. Except for serious SpEd students, we spend the MOST on illegal immigrants of all students in LCPS. You are good with that?

JoeSchmoe

Let's see, an enrollment increase of 1,580 students requires 530 new employees. Hopefully they are all math teachers because the ratio of new employees to the enrollment increase does not compute.

amerigirl

Must be that new math.

Virginia SGP

This is scandalous and immoral. Here are the facts:

1. LCPS continues to fleece the hard-working public. Single mothers earning $40K must pay $100s more in taxes to cover 10%+ raises for teachers and admins. That is immoral.

2. LCPS is giving out $8000+ raises to teachers who work 190 days per year. Can anyone be more greedy?

3. LCPS has the lowest vacancy rate and highest retention rate in NOVA and likely the state. 1000s of applicants are banging down the doors to get these lottery-tick jobs so there is no justification whatsoever to give exorbitant raises.

4. Students are being turned away by the 100s for the votech courses they need to begin their career while LCPS is throwing $65M+ at admins, teachers, and bureaucrats.

5. Enrollment growth has plummetted yet LCPS' insatiable funding appetite continues to growh. Why in the world does LCPS need 9% more funding for 2% more students?

Greedy. Immoral. Corrupt. That is LCPS.

EvilHomer

Good! Keep those raises coming. No other profession has to do more with less than teachers. And no other profession has the constant second-guessing of everyone who thinks they know/can do better because they once went to school themselves.

Virginia SGP

And yet 1000s were banging down the door to get one of those cushy, exorbitantly paid LCPS teaching positions at a much lower salary. There is no other justification for increasing teachers salaries in LCPS other than the bare-faced GREED of LCPS employees.

EvilHomer

LOL OK boomer

DavisB

what is your beef with teachers? Do you think students are not being educated fully and properly or is simply a call to lower taxes - if the latter, by how much would you want to lower taxes before you are satisfied? If the former, have you talked with your building principal?

Virginia SGP

No student should be told votech courses in high school are full and we spent all the money ($75M in FY20 and $65M in FY21) on teacher raises who already earn well above the median. Students are being turned away by the 100s.

Yes, when a company is privately owned and he wants to pay 20% above the market wage, it is his money to give away needlessly. When it is taxpayer money, including single parents earning only $40-50K/year, LCPS should base compensation on supply & demand. It should be sufficient to ensure we receive a solid pool of qualified applicants. By every possible metric (applicants, vacancy rate, retention, offer decline rate/reason), we are already paying above market rates. Thus, it is borderline criminal to give 8-12% raises to highly paid teachers using taxpayer money when many of those taxpayers are not earning anything close and received small (2-3%) raises.

If/when raises are given, they should be based on effectiveness and demand for that specialty. SpEd & STEM are harder to find so they should have more. Art, PE, and languages are easier to find and thus supply doesn't dictate such premiums.

Every decision should be based on student interests. That is why schools exist. Supt Williams literally justifies exorbitant 8-10% raises because he wanted teachers to be able to spend more money or buy homes right out of college. That is not a justification based on student interests. That is putting adults (including admins who they want to pay 5% more than any district) above all else.

DavisB

so, SGP, your issue is that you would like to expand the vocational offerings available at the Academies? Why does this require calling teachers lazy, stupid and greedy?

ace10

Unintentionally hilarious post. Likely composed by a proud member of the Gimme-dat club.

More Cowbell

I still don't understand how Williams is still here?

amerigirl

agreed!

BobOhneiserEsq

Given the stated political positions of most of the current BOS members I doubt this budget will be challenged but for me what is more important is elected officials follow the law and truly honor ALL students who attend our schools! VA statute 22.1-79 REQUIRES school boards to manage the Superintendent to the "utmost efficiency" in operating the school system and via its' budget approval and taxing authority extends to the BOS. So instead of just saying "Its all about the kids" how about putting the Superintendent on a 2 year contract instead of 4 so there is at least one chance per term to modify behavior contractually? How about requiring all schools have similar experience levels of teachers so mentoring can actually happen instead of just being a talking point? How about requiring all buses to have at lease 50% student occupancy if one believes in control of fossil fuel waste? How about suggesting teachers who can retire do so and teach part time if they wish so the state pays the pension instead of Loudoun allowing these teachers to actually earn more after tax by only working 3 days a week instead of 5? How about publishing the ratio of qualified applicants for jobs to jobs available before claiming you need a big raise to hold onto employees? (It was 8 to 1 when I was on the school board). Finally, to all elected school board members try to remember that most of Loudoun registered voters did not vote for you because they didn't show up to vote but if real problems like bullying, lack of transparency, waste/lack of efficiency and continued refusal to allow parents to provide input into teacher reviews (which should be yearly not every 3 years) it may not be a fun four years before another crop of promising politicians show up. :-)

applicant45554

3.2% Compensation increase seems on the high end but reasonable.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.