Superintendent Presents Proposed Budget for FY19

Superintendent Presents Proposed Budget for FY19
Posted on 02/06/2018
FY19 Proposed BudgetFor Immediate Release
February 6, 2018
Contact: Steve Edwards, Coordinator of Policy and Communications
540-662-3888 ext. 88235


Frederick County Schools Superintendent David Sovine presented the School Board with his proposed budget for FY19 during the Board’s meeting on February 6. Sovine noted his proposal is focused on the school division’s mission as well as the budget priorities adopted by the School Board in November 2017.

He says, “In order to fulfill our mission of ensuring all students an excellent education, resources are needed to help us address enrollment growth, meet individual student needs, and be competitive in attracting and retaining high quality staff. About $8.2 million worth of high-level needs were cut from the budget before I finalized my proposal. The proposed budget only includes our most critical needs and requests the funding necessary to continue to serve our students and their families at the level they expect.”

The proposed budget totals $211.6 million, including a School Operating Fund of $170 million. Sovine is seeking an additional $5.8 million in local funding for the School Operating Fund as well as an additional $2.7 million for non-recurring capitals need funded through the Capital Projects Fund.

Sovine says, “Based on the budget introduced in the General Assembly, the school division expects to receive about $3.6 million more in state and federal funding in FY19. Most of that is due to student enrollment growth which we project to increase by 261 students next year. My proposal includes a reasonable 6.4 percent increase in the School Operating Fund which includes $1.6 million for baseline adjustments (cost to continue current services and programs), a $4.7 million salary initiative and $3.8 million for our most critical instructional and operational needs.” He adds, “Like other school divisions across the nation, we are feeling the impact of the national teacher shortage. Teacher vacancies in Virginia have increased 40 percent in the last decade and in 2016, more than 1,000 teaching positions remained unfilled two months into the academic year. Improving teacher salaries isn’t the only answer to this issue, but it is important that the salaries and benefits offered to all of our employees are competitive within our market. The salary initiative included in my proposed budget would provide all employees with a step movement which equates to an average 2.5 percent salary increase divisionwide. In addition, I’ve proposed targeted enhancements to some of our pay scales that fall behind the market based on salary comparisons with the Frederick County government and other school divisions within a 30-mile radius.”

Of the additional $3.8 million requested to address instructional and operational needs, about $2.3 million will support 39 new positions. Thirty of the new positions included in the budget proposal are for instruction and nine are needed to support operations. Bus drivers, bus aides and facility maintenance technicians are among the support positions requested. The balance of the amount requested to address instructional and operational needs will support the purchase of new technology equipment needed due to enrollment growth, the restoration of funds for preventative and grounds maintenance, the lease of modular classrooms, the purchase of two new buses and the reinstatement of ninth grade athletics.

Sovine says, “An important part of my proposal is the implementation of an alternative education program to serve elementary school students who exhibit extreme behavioral issues. Unfortunately, we are seeing more young students struggling with mental health issues that often result in behavioral problems. The elementary alternative education program would enable select students with significant needs to be taught by specially trained teachers who can help the students learn to succeed academically and behaviorally with a goal of transitioning back to their base school. The program will not only serve those students selected to participate, but will also positively impact all other elementary school students whose school experience is sometimes impacted by a small number students whose behavioral issues create significant disruptions to the learning environment. Our middle and high school alternative education program has been quite successful, and I expect to see similar results as we implement an alternative program for our youngest learners.”

In addition to seeking increased funding for the School Operating Fund, Sovine has requested the county provide $2.7 million more for the Capital Projects Fund. The Capital Projects Fund is used to support major maintenance projects that are not supported by the School Operating Fund and are not considered major construction projects. Projects that will be supported through the request include extending the northbound turn lane on Route 522 in order to improve visibility at the entrance to the Gainesboro Elementary/Frederick County Middle School campus, replacing a cooling tower and heat pumps at several schools, replacing the fire alarm system at Bass-Hoover Elementary School, completing a partial roof replacement at the Dowell J. Howard Center, addressing classroom technology needs and renovating the tennis courts at Sherando High School.

Sovine says, “According to a recent report from Fiscal Analytics in Richmond, the percentage of Virginia’s General Fund devoted to K-12 education has declined from 35.2 percent to 29.4 percent since FY09 placing an increased burden on local school boards and governing bodies. The Frederick County Board of Supervisors lists ‘A government that emphasizes a quality education through a cooperative effort with the School Board’ as one of its core values. I look forward to working with the School Board, Board of Supervisors and members of our community as we determine how to address our critical needs associated with enrollment growth, meeting individual student needs and being competitive in attracting and retaining high quality staff.”

Information on the Superintendent’s Proposed Budget for FY19 is available online. Budget developments also can be followed at www.twitter.com/fcpsbudget.