School Leaders Ponder Budget Cuts


Jan. 25, 2010

city-schools-logoEach year at this time, school principals and division directors usually present justifications to the school board for budget requests for the coming school year.  Because of the bleak economic forecast, they spent this past Saturday, January 23rd, explaining how proposed reductions would negatively impact operations and instruction.

“In the four scenarios I presented to you during the work session on January 12th, we’re probably looking at reductions somewhere between tier two and tier three,” Superintendent Lois Berlin told the school board during the first of four budget work sessions.  “That’s based on the information we know now about projected reductions in local, state and federal funding and about increases in benefit costs, such as health insurance and retirement.

The Falls Church City School Board is considering proposed reductions ranging from a best-case scenario of a 1.8 percent reduction ($651,000) to a worst-case scenario of an 8.6 percent ($3,129,900) reduction in both operating and personnel costs.   The options presented include:

  • A seven percent reduction in non-personnel costs
  • A reduction of two staff work days for all employees
  • Possible reductions or eliminations of up to 24 staff positions
  • Reductions in employee benefits
  • Reductions or changes in instructional programs, including music, art, foreign language and kindergarten
  • Reductions or elimination of extracurricular stipends, including athletics, academics and performing arts
  • Reduction or elimination of tuition assistance programs for staff.
  • Implementing student activities fees
  • Increases in student parking fees
  • Transferring the cost of IB and AP exams from schools to families
  • Charging tuition for typical peers to attend the school division’s pre-school program

“This is without question the most difficult budget year I’ve faced in my six years with the school division,” Berlin said.  “We’re talking about potential cuts that would have an impact on our ability to deliver instruction in the manner that makes Falls Church a desirable place to live and work.  However, we are committed to providing the best possible service to our students with whatever resources we have.”

Ultimately, the school board will make the final determination about FY 11 budget reductions.  Materials presented to the board at Saturday’s work session are available on the school division Web site:  Click on “Board Agenda” on the left menu.

The public is encouraged to provide input on the budget through various opportunities:

  • The FY11 Budget icon at the bottom of the school division home page (
  • Direct Email to school board members (
  • Public comment during regular school board meetings*
  • Upcoming public hearings on the FY11 school budget*
  • Letters to school board members in c/o Marty Gadell, Deputy Clerk, 800 W. Broad Street, Suite 203, Falls Church, VA  22046 or [email protected].

*FCCPS Budget Calendar
January 26th 8:00 p.m.           Public Hearing #1 (City Hall)
February 6th 8:30 a.m.           Budget Work Session #2 (Central Office (CO) Conference Room)
February 9th 8:00 p.m.           Public Hearing #2 (City Hall)
February 16th 7:00 p.m.           Public Hearing #3 (CO)
7:30 p.m.           Budget Work Session #3 (CO)
February 23rd 6:30 p.m.           Budget Work Session #4 (City Hall)
March 2nd 7:00 p.m.           Budget Work Session, Meeting and Vote on FY11 budget. (CO)

Public hearings will be held in the Chambers at City Hall and can be seen live on Falls Church City Television (Cox Ch. 12, Verizon Ch. 35 and RCN Ch. 2) or via the live Internet stream at

Work sessions are generally not televised but are open to the public.  All but the fourth work session will be held in the FCCPS Central Office conference room, 800 W. Broad Street, Suite 203, Falls Church, Va.

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By (see byline)
January 25, 2010 


One Response to “School Leaders Ponder Budget Cuts”

  1. Melissa Teates City of Falls Church on January 26th, 2010 2:14 pm

    If we go beyond Tier 2 it will be truly damaging to the integrity of our school system. I think we have to find a way to hold the line at Tier 2.

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