Superintendent Presents Proposed Budget for FY21

Superintendent Presents Proposed Budget for FY21
Posted on 02/18/2020
FY21 Proposed BudgetFor Immediate Release
February 18, 2020
Contact: Steve Edwards, Coordinator of Policy and Communications
540-662-3888 ext. 88235

Frederick County Schools Superintendent David Sovine presented his proposed FY21 budget to the School Board this evening. The proposal addresses the Board’s budget priorities as well as growing student enrollment, increased student needs, attracting and retaining high quality teachers and staff, opening Jordan Springs Elementary School and funding preventative maintenance projects as outlined in the school division’s Capital Asset Plan.

The proposed budget totals $233 million, including a School Operating Fund of $189.8 million. Sovine is seeking an additional $10.9 million in local funding for the School Operating Fund as well as $3.7 million for non-recurring capital needs funded through the Capital Projects Fund. He’s also requesting an additional $800,000 for the Debt Service Fund for principal and interest payments associated with school construction.

Sovine says, “2019 marked the third consecutive year in which the school division set a record for opening day attendance. Between September 2018 and September 2019, enrollment grew by 270 students and has continued to climb throughout the current school year. To help address increased enrollment and student needs, I’m requesting $2.9 million for 22 additional classroom teachers, 26 instructional assistants and five behavioral specialists. The requested positions are needed to help us address enrollment growth and provide the supports an increasing number of our students need in order to be successful in school.”

Sovine’s proposed budget includes a request for an additional $5.2 million to support a divisionwide average four percent salary increase. Sovine says, “It’s no secret that school divisions across Virginia and the nation are feeling the effects of the national teacher shortage. The demand for good teachers is increasing while the supply continues to decrease. High quality teachers and staff are needed to serve our students and it’s important that our salary scales are competitive with school divisions in our region. Unfortunately, we took a step backwards this year and our teacher salaries lag behind the 30-mile regional average. In fact, our starting salary for teachers is now the second lowest when compared to those offered in Winchester as well as Clarke, Warren, Shenandoah, Page, Fauquier and Loudoun counties. It’s critical that the salaries we offer become more competitive so we can attract and retain the best teachers and staff. Our community’s children deserve no less.”

In August, Jordan Springs Elementary School will open and Sovine’s proposal includes $2.8 million to support the school’s opening. The funds will be used for 40 new positions needed to staff the school and to cover the cost of utilities, materials and supplies. A new bus and bus driver will also be needed to support the opening of the new school.

Sovine is also requesting an additional $500,000 in the School Operating Fund to support the Capital Asset Plan which outlines a preventative maintenance and asset replacement schedule which will enable the School Board and Frederick County Board of Supervisors to remain informed of facility maintenance needs as well as estimated costs. An additional $1.9 million is included in Sovine’s budget proposal to continue current programs and services in the upcoming fiscal year. The “cost to continue” includes the funding needed to participate in regional programs and address expected increases in health insurance premiums, utilities, fuel and materials. An additional $500,000 is also needed for the required adoption of new science and high school English textbooks.

Sovine says, “I fully understand the challenges the Board of Supervisors faces as it contemplates how to best address our community’s many needs while maintaining reasonable tax rates. The fiscal realities don’t allow me to request the funding required to address all of the school division’s needs in the upcoming fiscal year. However, my proposal aligns with the School Board’s budget priorities and will enable us to make progress in addressing increased enrollment and student needs, offer more competitive salaries, open Jordan Springs Elementary School and fund preventative maintenance projects.”

Get more information on the Superintendent’s Proposed Budget for FY21.