Fairfax County has been known as one of the top performing school systems in Virginia. But, will significant budget cuts affect the education system? According to the Washington Post, Superintendent Karen Garza will suggest significant cuts to address a $140 million budget deficit. In her proposal, Garza says she will eliminate over 1,700 staff positions through attrition and layoffs.
Since 2008, enrollment has increased by 15,000 students, which significantly outnumbered the county's budgeted projections. To accommodate new students, and to also conserve money, Garza proposes an increase in class sizes. Garza's proposal will add an average of one student per class, which will save about $25 million because staff positions can be reduced by 400. Fairfax schools have now increased class sizes three times in recent years to reduce costs by altering student-teacher ratios. The Washington Area Boards of Education suggests that Fairfax County has is among the largest class sizes in the region. Garza also is hoping to eliminate foreign language classes in Fairfax County elementary schools, which would save the county $5.5 million.
Superintendent Garza's proposals do not only affect students, but also affect teachers, administrators, and staff members. Garza suggests a furlough day for all employees next year, which would save $7.9 million. She is also looking to cut employee contract lengths by one day, with a savings of $9 million. According to the budget, more than 85% is spent on employee compensation. Next year's salary raises are estimated to cost $42 million. The only available alternative to cutting salary raises and increasing class sizes is raising taxes to compensate for these higher costs.
Here at BenGlassLaw, we want to make sure that our educators are being appropriately thanked for their service and dedication to the children of Fairfax County. If you have been positively influenced by a teacher, administrator, or staff member, please consider submitting a recommendation to our "My Teacher Should Win" contest. BenGlassLaw will grant the winning teacher(s) and staff with a generous prize!