Something's different

Wow! Some good news from the Board of Supervisors for a change!

The Board of Supervisors Finance Committee met last week to vote on the preliminary fiscal guidance they would provide the County Administrator in creating the FY16 budget. The last two years, this guidance was to decrease the tax rate to an equalized rate (where the average homeowner would see no tax increase on their increased property value) and to also look at an option of decreasing the tax rate even further, either two or three cents.

This year was different. Broad Run Supervisor Shawn Williams proposed that next year the budget should start with the current tax rate of $1.155, with the option of decreasing the tax rate to the projected equalized rate of $1.13. The motion passed with little comment. And with that, the needle was moved a bit in our direction.

Overall, however, the financial picture at the current tax rate is still grim. The schools would receive only a $36.2 million increase over last year's budget at the $1.155 rate. We need approximately $53.1 million just to maintain the status quo and provide the promised step increases on the newly adopted salary scale. That would mean we are starting $16.9 million in the hole without any improvements or restoration of cuts from the prior years. Based on our real needs, we could be looking at a needed increase of $90 million. It is preliminary though, and much better than the projected deficits of the last few years.

The takeaway from all this? We can make a difference. Keep up the pressure! It's working!


Back to School Part III: What We Need

The Board of Supervisors Finance Committee is planning to provide its preliminary fiscal guidance recommendation for next year's budget at its September 9 meeting. The guidance should then be voted on by the full board at its September 17 meeting.

As you return to school, take a minute to let the Board of Supervisors know what you're looking for in school funding for next year.

Here are some preliminary estimates of costs and items that we'll be looking at for next year's budget.

Enrollment Growth$17.3 million
Staff New Schools$2.8 million
Increased Benefits Costs$10.1 million
Increased Salary Costs from deferred raise$5.7 million
Provide Step Increase$17.2 million
Provide Cost of Living Increase$6.9 million per 1%
"One to the World" initiative? (multi-millions)
Expand full-day kindergarten$1 million
Reduce average class sizes$15 million for 1 student
Replace aging buses$7 million
Restore middle school deans$2.1 million
Start a new elementary school foreign language program?
Provide necessary English Language Learner staffing?
Pilot arts magnet program$50,000

Looking at these preliminary numbers of items we already know our schools need, it would cost around $90 million in new school funding.

To reach your supervisors office, call 703-777-0204. Everyone's supervisor is Scott York plus the representative for your district. The Finance Committee members are starred (*)

  • * Scott York (Chairman, At-Large) Scott.York@loudoun.gov
  • * Shawn Williams (Vice-Chairman, Broad Run) Shawn.Williams@loudoun.gov
  • Suzanne Volpe (Algonkian) Suzanne.Volpe@loudoun.gov
  • * Ralph Buona (Ashburn) Ralph.Buona@loudoun.gov
  • Janet Clarke (Blue Ridge) Janet.Clarke@loudoun.gov
  • Geary Higgins (Catoctin) Geary.Higgins@loudoun.gov
  • * Matthew Letourneau (Dulles) Matt.Letourneau@loudoun.gov
  • * Kenneth Reid (Leesburg) Ken.Reid@loudoun.gov
  • Eugene Delgaudio (Sterling) Eugene.Delgaudio@loudoun.gov

Don't get a response? Try one of their aides.

Let's make sure the Board of Supervisors is thinking of our schools right now, since we all are.

Hope everyone's first day back is great and best wishes for a wonderful year. If you haven't seen it yet, check out this cute video from our new superintendent:

School Begins Tuesday, September 2nd from LCPS-TV on Vimeo.