Superintendent Eric Williams will present his spending plan for Loudoun’s 76,000-student public school system for fiscal year 2017 at 6:30 p.m. today.
The introduction of the superintendent’s proposed budget has acted as a preverbal hockey puck dropped between the School Board and Board of Supervisors each January, triggering a months-long debate over how much local funding the schools should get.
And with millions in projected new expenditures, this year’s budget season is expected to be just as tense.
The school district’s budget for the current fiscal year is $982.14 million, up $69.2 million from the previous year. Williams has said that the schools can expect as much as $89.4 million in new expenses the fiscal year that begins July 1.
Costs could add up with an estimated 1,978 additional students enrolling and the opening of Madison’s Trust Elementary School in August, the superintendent said when he gave School Board members a preliminary budget outlook in October.
Employee compensation and benefits will likely add another several million to the district’s bottom line. School Board members have indicated they want to give employees some sort of raise, however small, each year. Projections from the district’s budget office suggest an across-the-board salary increase of about 2.5 percent and cost of living adjustments would cost more than $33 million.
Plus, increasing health care costs will likely add another $10.5 million to the budget, as well as an additional $1.5 million to cover the school district’s mandatory contributions to the Virginia Retirement System.
Williams has also told School Board members to expect a request for at least $4.5 million to pay for new buses and other school vehicles, since the district did not purchase buses last year.
Williams presents his budget at 6:30 p.m. Watch the presentation live here. Stay with LoudounNow.com for coverage.