Last night, the School Board approved its Proposed Fiscal Year 2021 Arlington Public Schools (APS) Budget to fund operations for the 2020-21 school year. The School Board approved the Interim Superintendent’s Revised Proposed FY 2021 Budget, option 3, totaling $671.1, with several changes.
The School Board’s Proposed Budget will be discussed during a Budget Work Session and Public Hearing on May 5. The School Board is expected to adopt the FY21 budget on May 7.
“This has been a very unexpected budget process, and just 45 days ago we were in a different place. While there are still many unknowns, it is imperative that we come out of the pandemic in a strong position to support our students and staff next year and long-term,” said School Board Chair Tannia Talento. “This proposal prioritizes items that directly support teachers and staff, sustains funding for after-school activities and other student services, and helps advance our commitment to eliminating opportunity gaps. I want to thank the Interim Superintendent and APS staff for their excellent work to find efficiencies, make reductions and balance the budget under tremendous time pressure and unprecedented circumstances.”
The School Board’s Proposed FY21 Budget restores several items that were listed as reductions in the Interim Superintendent’s Revised Proposed Budget, totaling $3,047,119.
- Eliminating a one-day furlough for all staff, resulting in no furlough days for staff during FY21
- Restoring crew transportation;
- Restoring the Adobe Creative Suite license renewal (for Career and Technical Education (CTE) students as well as staff use);
- Restoring band transportation;
- Restoring Humanities Project funding;
- Restoring half of the proposed cut for the non-renewal Communities in Schools contract;
- Restoring the 3.4 Attendance Specialist positions; and
- Restoring the administrative assistant position for the Chief Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Officer.
The School Board’s Proposed FY21 Budget reduces the $5 million contingency built into the Interim Superintendent’s Revised Proposed FY21 Budget that is intended to offset any possible further revenue loss from the state and county by the $3,047,119 needed to restore the above items, leaving $1,952,881 in the proposed contingency.
The School Board also directed the Interim Superintendent to continue looking for additional savings now through FY 2021. Suggestions include considering an opt out program for parents receiving paper documents in the mail (i.e. bus information, report cards); encouraging an evaluation of potential contract renegotiations with vendors and contractors due to the current economic crisis; and expanding income brackets for extended day fees.
Finally, two amendments to the main motion were discussed, including restoring SMART Notebook, software used by teachers and students with the SMART Board for presenting interactive lessons, and Transportation Demand Management (TDM) funding. The SMART Notebook amendment was withdrawn pending additional information and the restoration of TDM funding was not approved, with the possibility to restore it in a future budget year.
The presentation and full motions are available on BoardDocs.
Additional information regarding budget development, including the timeline and Interim Superintendent’s Proposed FY 2021 Budget Document, is available on the APS Budget and Finance website. There will be a Work Session and Public Hearing on the School Board’s Proposed FY21 Budget on May 5 and the School Board is expected to adopt the FY 2021 Budget on May 7.