Loudoun Schools Budget Projection Tags $100M Increase in Local Funding

There are still five months until Superintendent Eric Williams will present his Fiscal Year 2021 budget for the school district, but a preliminary review shows the need for about $100 million in additional local tax funding.

The School Board was briefed on the projections last week.

According to the assessment presented by Assistant Superintendent for Business and Financial Services Sharon Willoughby, expenditures are expected to increase by $123.3 million to handle enrollment growth, salary and benefit increases and program enhancements. State revenue is expected to increase by $16-27 million, depending on the General Assembly’s work on the FY 21-22 biennial budget and the update of factors used to calculate the Local Composite Index, which determines the amount of state school funding allocated to each locality.

That leaves $96-107 million to be covered by increased local tax funding.

School district planners project that enrollment will increase by 1,244 students next year, to a total of 88,000. At a cost of $15,241 per student, that amounts to a $19 million increase to cover enrollment growth.

Another $5 million will be needed to increase staffing in preparation for opening Lightridge High School next year and two elementary schools the following year—53 new fulltime equivalent positions.

The biggest increases will be $24.1 million to provide an average 2.4 percent step increase for eligible employees, $41.5 million to continue efforts to restructure the salary scale, and $12.2 million for one-time bonus and market adjustments.

Programmatic enhancements total only $14.3 million for “strategic action initiatives,” including equity programs, gifted education and security; $1.8 million for instructional programs, including computer science integration, textbooks and instructional support positions; and $5.1 million for grant funding changes.

Few of the School Board members attending last week’s briefing will be around when Williams presents his budget request on Jan. 9. Only three of the nine members are seeking re-election in November.

Under the budget review schedule outlined last week, the final vote will come on Feb. 4.

The school district’s FY 2020 operating budget totals $1.28 billion and was a 7.8 percent increase over FY 2019.

3 thoughts on “Loudoun Schools Budget Projection Tags $100M Increase in Local Funding

  • 2019-08-27 at 3:22 pm

    During my 8 years on the school board I heard this incessant mantra from Dr. Hatrick: “Its all about the children”! (yet a fee is charged for athletic participation)
    I often wondered why the BOS never took any direct interest in how we spent all that money. It seemed the third rail of local politics is to never say anything that might get parents to not vote for you.
    Given the above absurd justification for a $133 million increase for 1244 more students, 53 more full time staff to open a new school perhaps this is the time and I am the right Chairman to fix this once a for all. Here are just a few elements to consider that apparently the last 8 years of Supervisors and School Board Members were not willing to fix:
    1 You can’t manage a Superintendent when his contract only comes up every 4 years and only once in each school board term!
    2 You can’t claim to have low cost employees when our top two scales (longevity scales) are higher than Fairfax County and many more qualified candidates apply for every job than are accepted.
    3 You can’t claim adherence to Va State Statute 22.1-79 which controls the authority of school boards when your bidding practices that exempt lawyers, architects and consultants, turf field procurement, hiring $165k cultural competency advisors, adding $10k to each school board member so they can do a part time job that already pays a $20k stipend etc, etc, etc . None of these are evidence of utmost efficiency being followed much less emphasized.
    4 You can’t claim concern over gifted children as the AOS program and Monroe Tech program block hundreds of qualified students every year from attending because the administration refuses to allow EVERY HIGH SCHOOL to justify transcript numbered courses to be offered to qualified students.
    5 You can’t restructure the salary scales fairly without targeting what the pay for each job SHOULD BE. Should young teachers with 2 years experience still earn less than half of another teacher for what is the same job? Do we ever consider what the “pay per hour” is for a department head who teaches less than a regular teacher. Would you be surprised if it went well above $200/hour for a half year program?
    6 What is so difficult in providing financial incentives to TRT’s and other teachers whose efforts replace the $300 textbooks LCPS keeps buying many of which are rarely used?
    BOTTOM LINE- The new BOS which i hope to Chair WILL hold the school board accountable to meet the state statute which mandate “utmost efficiency” when considering the budget. Education is important but bureaucracy needs to have metrics to be measured against or it can’t help itself during budget time as this article clearly exhibits.

  • 2019-08-30 at 1:00 pm

    Bob is correct. This is beyond irresponsible. It also focuses almost ENTIRELY on benefits for adults/employees of LCPS vs the students.

    1. There are no (read nada, nothing, not even crumbs) in this budget request for better STEM materials/courses at the home high schools, no more vocational course capacity (like nursing or mechanic slots), no humanities magnet school, no facilitators for coordinating best instructional practices among schools, or attempts to better utilize the Academies buildings. A $118M budget request (~10x as large as our 1% enrollment growth) with essentially nothing for students.

    2. However, there are astronomical ($78M out of the $118M or 66% of it) amounts to give teachers another 10%+ raise this year. No other profession gets this largesse. We have 6000 applicants for 700 positions. Applicants can’t even get an interview and only 12-16% get hired. (that is unless you are a relative of a school board member and then you have a 100% chance of getting hired, right Hornberger and Turgeon?) LCPS also has the lowest vacancy rate in the state and the highest retention rate. So why in the world are we spending $78M on giving another 10% raise?

    3. Then, there are all the double-counting lies that occur each year. In the FY20 budget, we have $$ to cover the cost of educating 80K+ students (“A”) AND costs to open a few new schools (“B”). The enrollment growth $$ in the preliminary outlook will cover any increases needed to cover a larger student population – 1% growth for the 80K+ (“A”). That still leaves the $$ from FY20 in the base budget to open new schools (“B” is still there, it hasn’t disappeared). So why in the world is LCPS asking for another $5M to “open new schools” when it has money in its baseline to open new schools every year? Because the whole budget estimate is fraudulent. It’s an attempt to inflate the estimate to get the BOS to plan on a higher number than needed. The same goes for step increases. They need about $15M for step increases across the board instead of the $24M estimate (the retiring teachers with high $100K salaries are replaced with new teachers earning $50K, thus they don’t need 2.2% more across their whole salary pool, in fact the retiring teachers significantly lower the amout needed overall).

    Supt Williams is a liar to put this in a formal document. But he gets his direction for the unscrupulous SB members who pushed for changes to the law to allow their own kids to be hired ahead of minority candidates and to make their relatives the highest paid “educators” in all of Northern Virginia at taxpayers’ expense. Meanwhile, they don’t lift a finger to help students, especially those students who can’t find space in a vocational course to give them a start on a non-college career. It is disgraceful. And we have so many candidates (hello Atoosa Reaser, Denis Corbo, and others) who won’t even publish their priorities but plan to vote for this budget as is. They simply are not capable of comprehending it and have priorities in direct opposition to our students’ interests.

  • 2019-08-30 at 2:43 pm

    VA . SGP – Without the BOS providing meaningful checks and balances you get a highly bureaucratic school system which pushes residential growth, salary growth and political posturing at every opportunity. I hope folks read your comments and decide the obvious – I am the only candidate for BOS CHAIR capable, willing and with the time to bring the school system into a reasonable budget WITHOUT compromising education of our children! VOTE NOV 5th!

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