Superintendent Presents Proposed Budget for FY22

Superintendent Presents Proposed Budget for FY22
Posted on 02/02/2021
Proposed FY22 BudgetFor Immediate Release
February 2, 2021
Contact: Steve Edwards, Coordinator of Policy and Communications
540-662-3888 ext. 88235


Frederick County Schools Superintendent David Sovine presented his proposed FY22 budget to the School Board this evening. The proposal includes initiatives to support the school division’s strategic plan “Inspire 2025: A Promise for Progress” as well as the budget priorities established by the School Board.

Sovine says, “Our students, their families and our staff have exhibited great flexibility, adaptability and resilience as they have dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic for nearly a year. We have overcome many challenges and I’m confident our FCPS learning community will be stronger for what we have endured. My proposed budget will help address many, but not all, of our most critical needs. It focuses on providing more competitive compensation to help us attract and retain high-quality staff and positions us to better serve our community as it grows in population and diversity. It’s a budget that’s about our students, their families and the staff who serve them.”

The proposed budget totals $240.2 million, including a School Operating Fund of $195 million. Sovine is seeking an additional $6.7 million in local funding for the School Operating Fund as well as an additional $4.3 million for non-recurring capital needs funded through the Capital Projects Fund. He is also requesting an additional $800,000 for the Debt Service Fund for principal and interest payments associated with school construction, including the replacement Robert E. Aylor Middle School.

Sovine says, “Responding to the needs of our community’s children and their families is our most important work. To help maintain pupil-teacher ratios, respond to the increasing diversity of the families we serve and address the increasing social-emotional needs of our students, I’m requesting 32 new positions. These positions include 10 classroom teachers, seven instructional assistants, four elementary school counselors, two parent liaisons, two behavior specialists, four behavior assistants, a psychologist intern, an equity and diversity coordinator, and a Title IX coordinator. Investing in the additional staff outlined in my budget proposal will not only help address the needs of students, but will also enable teachers to focus more on their primary area of expertise- instruction.”

A new Pre-K teacher and instructional assistant are among the positions requested in Sovine’s budget. Those positions will enable an additional Pre-K classroom to be established to serve 18 students residing in the southern portion of Frederick County. Sovine says, “Expanding the Pre-K program will support more of our community’s youngest and most vulnerable learners and provide greater equity to those residing in areas we are unable to serve with our three existing Pre-K classrooms. Over time, the Frederick County Prekindergarten Advisory Committee and others in the community have shared the need to establish an additional Pre-K classroom toserve southern Frederick County and it is time we move forward with that initiative.”

The proposed budget also includes a request to support salary increases for all school division employees. Sovine says, “Education is a vocation that relies on outstanding people and 85 percent of the School Operating Fund is devoted to personnel. Recruiting and retaining the best teachers, administrators and support staff is critical to serving our students and community well. Salaries are an important part of the equation and we have lost ground to our closest competitors. Just two years ago, Frederick County’s teacher salaries were more competitive with those offered by other Virginia localities within our 30-mile radius. As a result of not receiving the local funds needed to remain competitive the last two years, our teacher salaries have fallen behind our competitors at a time when it’s increasingly difficult to attract and retain quality staff. The unfortunate reality is the starting salary for a teacher in Frederick County is now the second lowest in the region trailing Loudoun, Warren, Fauquier, Shenandoah and Page counties as well as the City of Winchester.”

Sovine’s proposed salary initiative would raise the starting teacher salary to $46,000 and provide all teachers with a step increase on an enhanced salary scale. All other employees would receive a step increase on salary scales that will include a cost of living adjustment. The plan also includes targeted enhancements to make certain salary scales more competitive including those for instructional assistants, school nutrition services staff, bus drivers and aides.

The Superintendent’s proposal also requests funds in the School Operating Fund to support the Capital Asset Plan (CAP). The CAP outlines a preventive maintenance and asset replacement schedule which enables the School Board and Frederick County Board of Supervisors to remain informed of facility maintenance needs as well as estimated costs.

Sovine says, “While fiscal realities don’t allow me to request the funding needed to address all of the school division’s needs, my proposal targets those priorities identified by the School Board. Although the pandemic has forced us to focus on addressing many unforeseen challenges and serving students in different ways, my proposed budget will position us to move forward as we emerge from the pandemic and proceed with the work necessary to achieve the goals identified in Inspire 2025. Our vision is for Frederick County Public Schools to be an innovative community where caring relationships and authentic learning inspire all students. To reach our goals, and help our students reach theirs, requires an investment in the community’s children as well as our outstanding teachers and other staff members who are committed to their work, positively impacting students and improving our community.”

Information on the Superintendent’s Proposed Budget for FY21 is available at www.frederick.k12.va.us. Information about Inspire 2025: A Promise for Progress is available at www.inspire2025.net.