APS News Release

Arlington Superintendent Proposes FY 2020 Budget

  • Fully-funded budget totals $671.6 million
  • Includes funding for continued enrollment growth and the opening of five new schools and programs
  • Includes a step increase for eligible staff
  • Outlines over $10 million in reductions
  • Identifies additional reductions if more revenue is not provided to close the $8.9 million funding gap
  • Forecasts areas of need for future funding

Today, Superintendent Dr. Pat Murphy presented his proposal for the FY 2020 Arlington Public Schools Budget to fund operations for the 2019-20 school year. The proposed budget totals $671.6 million, an overall increase of just under 4.9 percent, as APS prepares to welcome more than 1,000 additional students and open five new schools next fall.

This year’s budget deliberations began with an initial forecast of a $42.8 million deficit, the largest APS has faced to date. While APS was able to reduce the deficit by almost 80 percent through revised funding projections, targeted efficiencies and reductions, and the additional revenue proposed in the County Manager’s budget, a significant funding gap remains. The $8.9 million still needed to fully fund next year’s school operations is driven by the enrollment growth APS has seen in the past ten years and will continue to experience in the next decade, requiring additional investments in new school facilities, programs, teachers, staff and instructional and service resources

.APS’s fully-funded budget is based on the County Manager’s proposed budget and will require $8.9 million in additional funding to close that gap.

School Board Budget Direction
The Superintendent’s proposed budget aligns with the School Board’s budget direction to address funding of enrollment growth and the opening of five new schools and programs; employee compensation; and use of reserves. The budget also identifies efficiencies and cost savings; and includes tiers for additional cuts if full funding is not provided.

FY20 Budget Components
“The FY 2020 budget was developed in close partnership with our leadership team and a strong focus on ensuring we continue to provide the exceptional education our children deserve and that families expect from APS,” said Murphy.The primary cost drivers in the FY20 budget include:

  • $10.3 million in one-time and ongoing costs for the opening of five new schools and programs
  • $12.9 million for a step increase for eligible staff and the final year of the three-year phase-in to make certain positions align with salaries in the market
  • $8.7 million for continued student enrollment growth
  • $4.1 million to continue the phase-in of growth initiatives begun in the FY17 and FY18 budgets

Tier 1 Reductions
APS identified more than $10 million in efficiencies and reductions, and used one-time funding strategically.  To meet this year’s fiscal challenges, the following reductions and changes in service delivery were made:

  • Increased class size by one for grades 4-5, by 0.75 in grades 6-8, and by 0.5 in grades 9-12 (postponed in FY 2019 by use of one-time funds)
  • Targeting one-time funds for Minor Construction/Major Maintenance (MC/MM)
  • Workers’ Compensation changes
  • Savings in Technology Lease Payments
  • Department of Teaching and Learning efficiencies

To fully fund the remaining budget APS needs an increased County transfer of an additional $8.9 million to Schools.

“Our community places a high value on providing students with a great public education, and more and more organizations and families are choosing to make Arlington their home because they know that their children will benefit from our quality schools,” Murphy continued. “We continue to hear that thanks to our high quality schools, Arlington County is able to attract more and more major corporations to Arlington. We need to invest now to preserve this long-held tradition of excellence as our student population continues to grow.”

Reductions to Close the Gap if Not Fully Funded
“Recognizing that uncertainties remain in the amount of revenue we will receive from County taxes, we worked across teams and collaborated with school leaders to make many difficult decisions,” Murphy said. “To reduce current expenditures and achieve a balanced budget if APS is not fully funded, we have proposed a second and third tier of possible reductions that, if made, will cut across all departments and schools, and will significantly impact our instructional program and services.”

Without an additional $8.9 million in revenue above the County Manager’s proposal, then Tier 2 reductions totaling $8.9 million will need to be taken, including Central office reductions, transportation changes, school staffing and benefits, and delays in student supports.

The Tier 3 reductions total an additional $11.1 million and would only be taken if APS does not receive the minimum increase included in the County Manager’s proposal. These reductions include further reductions in central office, transportation services, and schools staffing, as well as reductions in professional learning and student supports.

As Murphy closed his presentation, he noted, “Arlington County can be proud of the resources the community has provided to ensure an excellent education for our students because, in the end, they are what this is all about.” He concluded, “We have been and will continue to be good stewards of the resources our community provides, and we will continue to use our resources efficiently to serve the future of Arlington County – our children.”

FY 2020 Budget Documents
All materials related to the FY 2020 Budget, including the FY 2020 budget calendar; the FY 2020 budget development process and video; the Superintendent’s Proposed Budget and February 28 School Board presentation, are available online.

Visit www.apsva.us/engage to provide your feedback and input throughout the process, and use #APSBudget on social media to join the conversation.