Last night, the School Board approved its Proposed FY 2020 Arlington Public Schools (APS) Budget to fund operations for the 2019-20 school year. The budget totals $669,314,705, bringing the amount needed from the County to $6.7 million. The School Board’s Proposed Budget will be presented during the Joint Budget Work Session for the County Board and School Board on April 12.
“This budget is an investment in our future, including funds for new schools, growing enrollment and employee recruitment and retention,” said School Board Chair Reid Goldstein. “I want to thank APS staff and the community for their hard work and advocacy on behalf of a fully-funded budget for our students. While APS has made great strides to significantly reduce the deficit during the past several months through targeted efficiencies and reductions, the work continues as we take this proposal to the County Board for consideration.”
The School Board made the following changes to the Superintendent’s Proposed Budget, totaling $763,521 in cost savings:
- Reducing the Foreign Language in the Elementary Schools (FLES) program at Key School and one FTE position;
- Reducing funding for postage and evaluation costs;
- Eliminating permits for APS Employees residing outside Arlington County to use APS vehicles for commuting;
- Discontinuing onsite training and support for Gradebook and Student Information Systems, resulting in two Technology Support Specialist reductions;
- Increasing fees for student parking at the high schools;
- Eliminating Meltwater media monitoring and analytics services;
- Eliminating the HR replacement computer equipment budget; and
- Eliminating the Assistant Director of Assessment and Assistant Director of Transportation positions.
The School Board’s proposed budget also revised reductions in several key areas, totaling $399,809, as follows:
- Reduce the funding for local travel reimbursement by half;
- Reduce APS employee service awards and special events coordinated by School & Community Relations (SCR) and Human Resources by half;
- Reduce printing of report cards by two-thirds;
- Reduce funding for school-based clerical substitutes by half;
- Reduce Human Resources front desk staff by half; and
- Incorporate the Middle Schools Pathways Program into each middle school rather than in New Directions to increase efficiency by reducing staffing and resource needs.
The School Board’s Proposed Budget also eliminates the implementation of the proposed anonymous reporting hotline by Emergency Management for a savings of $15,000.
In addition, the budget includes added funding and investment in growth initiatives and priorities that align with the APS 2018-24 Strategic Plan, including a new Chief Diversity Officer position and a new Strategic Partnerships Coordinator position to focus on diversity and partnerships; a compensation and budget study; an ART (Arlington Transit) Bus Pilot; and additional funding for transportation to the Outdoor Lab.
Finally, School Board Member Nancy Van Doren made a final motion, which passed, requesting that the $10.7 million step increase be listed as a “compensation increase for staff without any delineation that it is a step increase” to allow room for the School Board to determine the best compensation approach.
The final vote on the proposed budget passed 4-0 with one abstention. The School Board’s proposed budget is based on the County Manager’s proposed budget and will require $6.7 million in additional funding to avoid deeper cuts that impact core programs and services.
1:1 Technology Study
The 1:1 digital device model was also discussed as a priority to evaluate. The School Board approved a motion to direct the Superintendent to “develop a proposal that includes various models for student device access that considers elementary, middle, and high school instructional needs, as well as PreK-12 alignment and operational impact.” The School Board Work Session on 1:1 digital devices will be held on May 29 and will discuss a framework for that proposal.
NEXT SCHOOL BOARD MEETINGS
The motions are available on BoardDocs. Additional information regarding budget development, including the timeline and Superintendent’s Proposed Budget Document, is available on the APS Budget and Finance website. There will be a Public Hearing on the School Board’s Proposed Budget on May 7 and the School Board is expected to adopt the FY 2020 Budget on May 9.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Citizens who want to comment on any items discussed at the School Board meeting should email the School Board at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 703-228-6015. School Board meetings are 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.