Supervisors Vote to Increase Schools Budget, Allocate $68.3 Million in New Funding
(Targeted News Service Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) LEESBURG, Va., March 21 -- Loudoun County issued the following news release:
At its final Fiscal Year 2015 budget worksession, the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors voted to increase Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) funding by $68.3 million, providing a total appropriation of $600.8 million ($600,769,592).
"The Board of Supervisors continues to prioritize Loudoun's public schools within the budget, evidenced by the 8.5 percent growth in local tax funding to LCPS while local tax funding to the general county government is only increasing by 2.1 percent," said Board of Supervisors Chairman Scott K. York.
These increases were achieved at a tax rate of $1.155, which will hold the average homeowners' real property tax bill (known as the equalized tax rate) steady.
The Board of Supervisors reviewed the School Board's budget priorities presented in the FY 15 operating budget. Based on this review, the $68.3 million increase could potentially be distributed in the following manner to meet all of the School Board's priorities, including:
* $14.6 million for compensation increases. $12 million, a 3 percent increase (including 1% for the Virginia Retirement System, or VRS), was provided in FY 14.
* $7.1 million to fully fund requested class size reductions.
* $23.7 million for additional student population of 2,375 and the opening of three new schools. This is $5 million in addition to the $17.5 million that was allocated in FY14 to accommodate more than 2,500 new students and open two new schools.
* $5 million for technology initiatives with an emphasis on upgrading network infrastructure and refreshing computers.
* $1.6 million to fully fund the School Board's new initiatives.
* $10.3 million for mandatory VRS contributions including a 1 percent increase to employees to cover coinciding contribution increase.
* $6.3 million for the projected 6 percent increase in healthcare costs.
* $100,000 for staff assistance for the School Board.
"New funding for LCPS should be prioritized to go where it's needed most - for the teachers and in the classroom," said Vice Chairman and Broad Run District Supervisor Shawn Williams. "The funding amount proposed, an 8.5 percent increase over last year's budget, will do just that."
"Maintaining Loudoun's triple-A bond rating, delivering an exemplary public education system, continuing investment in economic development and improving our transportation network are the four pillars on which I base my policy decisions and this budget supports all four," stated Ashburn District Supervisor Ralph Buona, Chairman of the Finance, Government Services and Operations Committee.
"As the father of four children that will be educated by LCPS, I have a personal stake in ensuring a quality education system," said Dulles District Supervisor Matt Letourneau, Chairman of the Board's Economic Development Committee. "I also am committed to a sustainable, long term approach to providing additional funds for needed services through growing our tax base. The funding allocated by the Board last night will allow LCPS to provide much-deserved salary increases for teachers, reduce class size, ensure that new student growth is accommodated, and upgrade network infrastructure and equipment at our schools."
"I am pleased that we have been able to once again provide a sizeable increase in funding to the school board that demonstrates our commitment to Loudoun County Public Schools. The FY 15 budget transfer will provide funding for each and every one of the School Board operating budget priorities including $14 million for salary increases to implement the School Board's new salary scale," said Catoctin District Supervisor Geary Higgins. "The 'sag' that has developed in the salary scale did not occur overnight. $14 million is a good start to remedy a problem that has occurred in recent years."
With the conclusion of the budget worksessions on March 20, 2014, the Board of Supervisors plans to formally adopt a budget resolution at the April 2, 2014, business meeting. More information about the FY 15 budget process is online at www.loudoun.gov/budget.
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