Loudoun School Board to Scale Back Many Initiatives in COVID-19 Impacted Budget

A few months ago, the debate in Loudoun’s School Board meeting room was whether the staff should get raises of 6 or 7 percent, or even higher. This week, administrators were even exploring whether just a 0.5-percent market adjustment could be offered.

The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have wiped out pay raises and many other school division initiatives for Fiscal Year 2021. The School Board got the first view of budget cuts that are now on the table during its meeting Tuesday night. 

Over the next four weeks, the School Board will be tasked with cutting its budget to reflect a Board of Supervisors decision to hold $60 million of the FY21 allocation for education in reserve and another $8.1 million in frozen state funds. The budget staff also warned about the uncertainty over sales tax collections and enrollment growth that also could have ramifications. 

Superintendent Eric Williams presented a list of 168 items as part of his staff’s “painful recommendations for reductions” that would cut 249.3 full-time equivalent positions and $73 million from the board’s adopted budget. On that list are $40 million in staff salary restructuring, step increase and market adjustments, along with plans to hire new special education deans, teachers and assistants, teacher assistants, counselors, security officers, and new positions to support the district’s education equity efforts.  

“Unfortunately, we’re deferring any possible eventual approval of limited salary increases until we learn whether reserve funds will be released,” Williams said. “Obviously, a heavy investment in employee compensation has been a key aspect in our employee recruitment and retention so it is difficult see the reality we face and make this recommendation.”

It would cost $9.7 million to provide the staff a 1-percent market adjustment and $4.85 million to provide a 0.5-percent increase, but that would add only about $10 to the paycheck of a $50,000-per-year staffer, Williams said. The School Board’s adopted budget was based on capping raises at 6 percent. 

The proposed cuts wouldn’t completely erase gains in some of the board’s priority areas. For example, the list includes cutting 56 planned new special education positions, but still adds 87.  There would be 14.8 more FTEs dedicated to the equity program, but 17.8 others would be cut. At a time when the division is ramping up distance learning programs, the board may not be able to move ahead with the plan to hire a coordinator of digital experience. 

“All of these cuts are with hesitation and reluctance,” Williams said.

The School Board is scheduled to work through the reduction options at a May 12 work session and to adopt a revised budget on May 26, following a public hearing that same evening. 

11 thoughts on “Loudoun School Board to Scale Back Many Initiatives in COVID-19 Impacted Budget

  • 2020-04-30 at 3:41 pm

    LCPS should open up potentional cuts to public comment. We collectively can easily hit any target reduction you want us to hit.

    • 2020-05-01 at 7:59 pm

      plenty chance to add your voice, David – but you know that . Your post here makes it seems that we do not have a representative government that welcomes, even begs for input (I know you are on facebook), so you are falsely presenting that the public does not get a say. That is simply a lie

  • 2020-05-01 at 10:05 am

    It’s a bunch of BS as usual. They always seem to have a pretty large sum left over each year. As far as the county’s income… what happened to all of the lucrative money coming from the many data centers? All of a sudden did that disappear? And it’s not like everyone’s property assessments went down. They should fully fund the schools and the school board should quit playing the “cover their butts” games . Yes with this whole debacle of closing the schools it has definitely shifted some focuses, but they should also be saving money by not having all of the building up and running as well.

    • 2020-05-01 at 10:28 am

      What does “fully fund the schools” mean? Does it mean giving employees another scandalous 6%+ raise after they received 30%+ raises over the last 4 years? Does it mean providing gold-plated health plans that cost $5K more than even Fairfax Public Schools’ Cadillac plans? Does it mean putting 12 students in many classrooms? Does it mean having 100s of extra teachers despite low class sizes of around 22 students per class?

      LCPS could make do with 20% less in funding. LCPS employees have received raises over the last 4 years that normal private sector employees would not recieved in 8 years.

      LCPS has plenty of money. If only we could focus LCPS on students instead of enriching the adults in the system.

  • 2020-05-01 at 8:01 pm

    SGP – go away with all your inaccuracies, misrepresentations, and false numbers. The people of Loudoun know all about your hatred of the schools ever since they scorned your attempt to take over teacher evaluations – you are not fooling anyone

  • 2020-05-04 at 4:45 pm

    “SGP – go away with all your inaccuracies, misrepresentations, and false numbers.”

    You know everything YN. Why don’t you tell us what he has wrong.

    • 2020-05-05 at 5:45 pm

      Chris, not much space here to fully explore all the problems with SGP but to start, his whole platform that our educators are enriching themselves is false and hateful. No one is getting rich despite all the bullying he does here and on facebook. He is simply wrong.

  • 2020-05-05 at 4:05 pm

    The typical excuses and name-calling without citing a single fact. We don’t need such “neighbors” in our taxpayer-funded school system.

    • 2020-05-06 at 9:14 am

      Ironic that SGP is worried about name calling. Apparently he does not read his own posts here or on facebook. What a joke

  • 2020-05-06 at 1:34 pm

    YN, I don’t know SGP personally. But I’ve never seen anyone dispute his numbers. I get it, there’s a lot on the plate there. Let’s just pick one tiny sliver: The superintendents compensation package. What has $250K plus a year given us? Are our kids smarter? Are test scores up? Are student “activity” fees down? Are student parking fees eliminated? Is there a cop at every door?
    What has the super done to make things better?

    We lavish 100 million dollar school budget increases, year after year. Are we not entitled
    to question the effect of that “investment?” Is it really ‘hateful’ to demand accountability, or a return on investment? I bet if you were dumping truckloads of money into something, you’d expect to see a significant return, yes?

    All SGP is doing is what 99.99 percent of parents (myself included) are not doing — digging into the public’s books and expressing it in simple to understand numbers. And the guy is vilified for it? Why? Until someone refutes his numbers, platitudes and “he’s a big meany” don’t cut it.

  • 2020-05-06 at 6:01 pm

    Chris, many people have been disputing SGP numbers for close to a decade now. Not sure why you have not seen this.

    and SGP is going way beyond trying to understand school finances – he is misrepresenting numbers to support his personal agenda. Along the way, he frequently insults teachers and administrators and bully’s our public officials. This is not disputable!!

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