School Board Hears Budget Reconciliation Recommendations

 

The Loudoun County School Board heard staff recommendations to trim $21.5 million from its Fiscal Year 2023 Budget at a special meeting on Thursday, May 19, at the Loudoun County Public Schools Administrative Offices in Ashburn.

The reduction is necessary to reconcile the School Board’s budget with the amount appropriated by the Board of Supervisors. The $21.5 million reduction would leave the School Board’s FY23 Budget at $1,545,949,152.

The final vote on the reconciled budget is set for the board’s Tuesday meeting. Tuesday is the last date on which the School Board can adopt a reconciled budget. The time between Tuesday and the start of the new fiscal year on July 1 will be needed to prepare contracts and load new pay scales into the payroll system.

The budget reconciliation strategy offered by LCPS staff is designed to prioritize several key items:

  • Early literacy
  • Student mental health
  • Enhancements to student learning
  • Salary and wage increases

The proposed staff reductions would draw 40 percent from employee compensation and 60 percent from operational budgets.  

Staff proposed that the School Board modify salary increases in response to uncertainties in the state budget, which the General Assembly has yet to adopt.

Staff recommended the School Board hold the salary scale for employees at its current level while awarding step increases and a one-time, 1 percent payment to eligible employees at the top of the salary scale.  

The money saved from not enacting the Fiscal Year 2023 salary scale is being placed in a contingency fund that could be used for state-mandated expenses should the state budget not cover these expenses. If this money is not needed to cover state-mandated expenses, it will be used to fund a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) and the Fiscal Year 2023 salary scale. Payments to employees would be made retroactive to July 1, 2022.  

If the General Assembly passes the state budget by Tuesday, the School Board will be notified of the impact on its budget so that further reconciliation measures may be considered.    

Superintendent Dr. Scott Ziegler told the School Board that he anticipated LCPS employees receiving an average 5 percent raise for the coming school year. 

“Every employee will get a raise – a step increase – that will average 2.5 percent. We anticipate that every employee will get a cost-of-living increase, but the timing, and the amount, is dependent on the state budget. In the scenarios we have run, there is a low probability that the state will not fund enough to provide any COLA… Most of our scenarios include enough funding from the state to have a COLA that will be up to an additional 2.5 percent, on average.”

Chair Jeff Morse (Dulles District), Vice Chair Ian Serotkin (Blue Ridge District), Atoosa Reaser (Algonkian District), Harris Mahedavi (Ashburn District), Andrew Hoyler (Broad Run District), John Beatty (Catoctin District), Tom Marshall (Leesburg District) and Brenda Sheridan (Sterling District) attended the meeting at the LCPS Administrative Offices, 21000 Education Court, Ashburn. Denise Corbo (At-Large) attended remotely.




Published May 20, 2022