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Superintendent Presents Proposed FY21 Budget

 

Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) Superintendent Dr. Eric Williams presented his Proposed Fiscal Year 2021 Operating Budget to the School Board on Thursday, January 9th, during a School Board work session at the LCPS Administrative Offices in Ashburn.


The superintendent-proposed budget of $1,395.8 million represents an increase of $113.6 million (8.9 percent) from the current budget, which is $1,282.2 million. 

 

The review and adoption of the Fiscal Year 2021 budget is among the first major tasks to be undertaken by the newly elected School Board, which was sworn into office on Monday. The public may comment on the proposed budget during the Public Comment period of the regularly scheduled School Board meetings on Tuesday, January 14, and Tuesday, January 28, at 6:30 p.m. A Public Hearing on the proposed budget will also be held during the regularly scheduled School Board meeting on Tuesday, January 28, and during a special meeting of the School Board on Tuesday, February 4, at 6:30 p.m.

 

“Students only get one shot at a K-12 education so adopting a budget that meets our students’ needs is key,” Williams said regarding the proposed budget. 

 

“Loudoun County has served its citizens well in the face of ongoing growth by maintaining class sizes, emphasizing personalized project-based learning, enhancing security, supporting teacher recruitment and retention by raising teacher salaries, and providing essential support services to all students, including English learner, 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,” Williams said.

 

The Superintendent outlined several factors driving the proposed budget:

 

Enrollment Growth

 

Next school year, LCPS anticipates serving approximately 85,755 students on 95 campuses, including Lightridge High School which will open in August 2020. This reflects projected FY21 enrollment growth of 1.9 percent (1,580 students) compared to actual FY20 enrollment, or an increase of 2.4 percent (1,993 students) when compared to the budgeted FY20 enrollment. The projected rate of enrollment growth for English learner students (9.1 percent) is significantly higher than the overall enrollment growth rate. 

 

Proposed budget increases relating to enrollment growth total $31.9 million. LCPS needs these funds to maintain current class sizes and services for students.

 

Compensation

 

The proposed budget includes a net increase of $54.3 million related to salaries and benefits with an emphasis on improving salaries for teachers as part of division efforts to provide every student with excellent teachers. The budget would provide salary step increases to all eligible employees that average 2.2%. Eligible full-time employees on the administrator, classified, and auxiliary salary scales would also receive a 1% market-based, across-the-board increase.

 

The proposed budget includes a decrease for employees in health insurance costs of $6.2 million, reflecting continuing progress by LCPS to reduce healthcare costs through employee wellness programs and insurance-plan design changes. 

 

Enhancements and Reallocations

 

The proposed budget includes $25.6 million for enhancements and reallocations. The Superintendent highlighted several examples of enhancements. 

 

  • The budget would provide support for personalized, project-based learning of math, science, social studies, English/language arts, computer science and other disciplines. For example, the budget would fund 5 additional Gifted Education Teachers to support the transition to providing gifted instruction to elementary students through their home schools.
  • The budget invests more than $9.3 million in enhancements relating to special education, including enhancing the staffing standards for Special Education Teachers and Teacher Assistants, while also creating Special Education Deans for select elementary (15) and middle (5.5) schools.
  • The budget continues the division’s multi-year emphasis on safety and security with enhancements equaling almost $3.4 million.
  • The division’s emphasis on equity is also reflected in the budget, with more than $6 million of equity-related enhancements. For example, the budget provides 12.8 teachers for schools with high proportions of students who are English Learners or from economically disadvantaged families, a Supervisor and 3 Instructional Facilitators focused on equity and culturally responsive instruction, and two additional teachers for STEM-focused programs serving students from groups underrepresented in gifted education.

 

As part of LCPS’ strategic approach to developing the budget proposal, staff again considered whether any current funds could be reallocated to provide greater benefits for students. Under the proposed budget, $3.9 million is reallocated to fund higher priorities.

 

Staffing

 

The proposed operating budget funds 12,320.4 employees. This reflects an increase of 530.3 employees, or 4.5%, in comparison with the FY20 adopted budget.  

 

Revenue

 

The proposed budget would request an increase in the County transfer of $94.1 million (10.8%), with most of the rest of the additional projected revenue coming from an anticipated increase in state funding. Based on the fiscal guidance given by the Board of Supervisors to the County Administrator on January 7, 2020, a gap of $16.2 to $28.6 million exists between the proposed County transfer increase and the County transfer increase envisioned by the Board of Supervisors.

Dates for School Board and Board of Supervisor budget work sessions and hearings are listed in the table below. The proposed FY21 budget is posted on the LCPS Budget Information webpage on LCPS.org.

 

Date

Time

Meeting & Topic

Tuesday, January 14

4:00 p.m.

School Board Work Session regarding Staffing Standards, Salary/Healthcare, Central Office, Other Funds, Business & Financial Services

Thursday, January 16

6:30 p.m.

School Board Work Session regarding Instruction

Tuesday, January 21

6:30 p.m.

School Board Work Session regarding Pupil Services, Support Services

Tuesday, January 28

4:00 p.m.

School Board Work Session regarding Digital Innovation, Human Resources & Talent Development

Tuesday, January 28

6:30 p.m.

Public Hearing during regularly scheduled School Board meeting

Thursday, January 30

6:30 p.m.

School Board Work Session, if needed

Tuesday, February 4

6:30 p.m.

School Board Special Meeting: Public Hearing and Budget Adoption

Wednesday, February 12

5:00 p.m.

County Administrator Presents FY21 Proposed Budget

Monday, February 24

6:00 p.m.

School Board and Board of Supervisors Joint Work Session and Presentation of FY21 School Board Proposed Operating Budget at LCPS Administrative Offices

Tuesday, February 25

3:00 p.m. & 6:00 p.m.

Board of Supervisors Public Hearings at Loudoun County Government Center

Saturday, February 29

9:00 a.m.

Board of Supervisors Public Hearing at LCPS Administrative Offices

Tuesday, April 7

5:00 p.m.

Board of Supervisors approves FY21 Budget, including LCPS Appropriation