Last night, the School Board approved the FY 2018 Arlington Public Schools (APS) budget of $613.6 million which funds operations for the 2017-18 school year.
On April 20, the Arlington County Board approved its final budget, which included a $488.8 million transfer to APS, an increase of $24.3 million over the previous fiscal year. The School Board’s Proposed Budget that was approved on April 7 included cuts to reduce its request to the County by $2.7 million. The additional funds allocated to APS as part of the County Board’s final adopted budget helped APS to close its remaining budget gap of $11.2 million in the FY 2018 Budget.
School Board Chair Nancy Van Doren said, “We are grateful to the Arlington County Board for providing the additional funds necessary to ensure that APS continues to provide excellent educational opportunities for our students.” She continued, “Because the County Board voted to increase the real estate tax rate and dedicate a portion of those funds to APS, we have been able to avoid cuts that would have required the School Board to increase class size and eliminate staff positions.”
The primary cost drivers of this year’s budget have been the growing student enrollment, an increase in the Virginia Retirement System (VRS) rate, and the inclusion of a step increase for eligible staff. APS is also beginning a three-year phase in of additional compensation adjustments to align certain salaries with the current market rate, and continuing implementation of initiatives that began in the FY 2017 budget, including the expansion of Arlington Tech at the Career Center; Central Registration; additional psychologists, social workers and a substance abuse counselor; additional full-time bus drivers and bus attendants; safety and security upgrades, and technology support.