APS News Release

School Board Approves FY 2022 Budget Direction

Superintendent Presents Proposed Elementary Boundary Recommendation and Provides an Update on the Return-to-School Plan and Season 1 Athletics

The School Board adopted its FY 2022 Budget Direction during its Nov. 5 meeting. The School Board is committed to providing a high-quality education to its students and their aim with this budget direction is to ensure APS financially supports its mission in the FY 2022 budget.

In the spring, because of the pandemic, the School Board needed to make deep cuts in the FY 2021 budget – eliminating staff compensation increases, significantly reducing Minor Construction/Major Maintenance funding, and increasing class size by one at grades K-12 among others – and needed to use $17 million in reserve funds to balance the budget. These actions put APS at a significant disadvantage for the FY 2022 budget.

To fulfill its mission and goals, the School Board directs the Superintendent to prepare an FY22 budget that maintains its large and diverse school system, focuses on supporting our staff, and emphasizes the School Board’s three overarching goals:

  • Focus on an excellent education regardless of the delivery model.
  • Support staff to be innovative and deliver high-quality virtual and in-person instruction.
  • Continue the focus on equity.

The full draft of the FY22 Budget Direction is available on BoardDocs.

School Year 2020-21 School Year Update
Superintendent Dr. Francisco Durán updated the School Board on the return-to-school plan. The Superintendent’s monitoring report featured:

  • An updated APS COVID-19 dashboard reflecting the updated Virginia Department of Health interim guidance for school divisions to show a clearer alignment with CDC indicators for school decision-making.
  • A first day report for the 230 students in Level 1 who returned for in-person learning on November 4.
  • A summary of the family selection process results for Level 2, as well as details on the decision to pause Level 2 Return through the remainder of this calendar year due to rising cases in our region.
  • Plans to provide in-person learning support for 150 identified students in families with the greatest need beginning Nov. 16. The service will be provided at three school sites for families with the greatest need and a limited number of Level 1 teachers and staff, with children ages 4-11, free of charge. Details on registration and other information will be communicated next week.

VHSL Season 1 Athletic Competition Update
The Superintendent also discussed APS plans not to participate in VHSL Season 1 competition due to the timeline for Level 3 transition to in-person learning. Based on initial input from students, families, and the School Board, the Superintendent is reconsidering the decision regarding Season 1 competition and will communicate additional information next week.

The presentation is available online and you can watch the full monitoring report presentation here.

Superintendent’s Elementary School Boundary Recommendation
The Superintendent presented his recommendation for elementary school boundaries that will take effect at the start of the 2021-22 school year and will involve. The new boundaries affect students at Ashlawn, Arlington Science Focus School (ASFS), McKinley, Taylor and Tuckahoe. The recommended boundaries create an attendance zone for a new neighborhood elementary school at the Key site and an adjusted attendance zone for most of McKinley at the Reed site and will place ASFS within its boundaries.

This boundary process included a data review in Spring 2020, prior to the boundary process this Fall. Community engagement throughout this process has included virtual community meetings, online questionnaires, and information in several languages and via multiple communication channels. Community input informed the Superintendent’s recommendation, which, if adopted, would reassign 22 Planning Units and 800+ students to other neighborhood elementary schools. Given the narrow scope of the current recommendations, a future boundary process in 2022 will be broader and countywide in order to manage enrollment across elementary schools.

More information and the Superintendent’s recommendation is available on the APS Engage website. A new School Board Work Session is scheduled for Nov. 12 at 6 p.m. There will be a Public Hearing on Elementary School Boundaries on Dec. 1 and the School Board will take action on boundaries on Dec. 3.

Information Items
The Board discussed the following items:

  • Proposed Revisions to School Board Policy F-1 Financial Management – Capital Improvement Plan
  • Proposed Revisions to School Board Policy F-5.7 Construction and Maintenance

Details on these information items is available online.

Recognition
The School Board recognized APS school psychologists in honor of School Psychology Week, November 9-13. APS school psychologists promote positive behavior and mental health to support students, especially during these challenging times.

For More Information:
Citizens who want to comment on any items discussed at the School Board meeting should email the Board at school.board@apsva.us or call 703-228-6015. Citizens may call 703-228-2400 on the Monday after the School Board meetings to listen to a meeting summary.

School Board meetings are also broadcast live on Comcast Cable Channel 70 and Verizon FiOS Channel 41; live-streamed on the APS website, and re-broadcast on Fridays at 9 p.m. and Mondays at 7:30 p.m. immediately following the meeting. All materials and minutes will be posted to the website at www.apsva.us/schoolboard upon School Board approval at a subsequent meeting.