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Superintendent Proposes to Raise the Education Budget

By Anna Shaw

As many students can recall, the budget of the 2014-2015 school year was set at an amount which was significantly less than requested, causing many programs and services of Loudoun County schools to be cut, especially ones students had been relying on and looking forward to, such as the summer school program offered to students at school and in-person.

According to the LCPS Fiscal Year Budget Archives, the 2014-15 budget was set for $912.0 million, a decrease from the proposed budget of $949.7.  In the past few years, the margin between the education budget which the superintendent requests and the budget the school board grants has been widening, resulting in a budget that isn’t increasing with our high student enrollment.  According to the current superintendent, Loudoun County’s student size has increased by 33% over the past 8 years, while the county budget transfer has not kept up with that enlarged student population, instead only increasing by 23%.

This discrepancy has provoked budget cuts over the years, resulting most prominently in the cuts put into effect this school year. Some of these cuts include activity buses at the high school level, FLES and SAMS programs, the full day kindergarten expansion, summer school offered in an in-person class (now only offered through online courses on Vision), halting the progress on the new Performing Arts Academy which was approved last year, and many other things that parents and students alike view as detrimental to a proper education.

At the LCPS Budget Presentation held on February 12th of this year, the new superintendent, Dr. Eric Williams, proposed a $70.1 million increase in the budget in order to facilitate the return of some of things previously cut.  At the budget meeting, not only did the superintendent propose his $982.1 million budget for the 2015-16 Fiscal Year, but he talked about how he’d like to bring back summer school, start up the Performing Arts Academy, put the full-day kindergarten expansion into effect, and decrease high school class sizes.

If the official budget, which in the past has been finalized by mid-March, increases to the amount requested, this budget will also fund the addition of 381 new employees, as well as facilitate the expected enrollment increase of at at least 19,000 students in the 2015-16 school year.  Most of these new positions are anticipated for the new high school, Riverside.

For more information on this year and past years’ budgets, visit the LCPS website.

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