By Chris Teale (File photo)
Schools Superintendent Alvin Crawley unveiled last week his $261.8 million operating budget proposal for Alexandria City Public Schools for fiscal 2018.
The 3.3 percent increase over the previous year’s budget factors in the additional funding required to cover a projected 2.8 percent increase in enrollment for the 2017-2018 school year.
Officials said that enrollment increase requires 22 new positions across ACPS, including teaching as well as support staff. The budget proposal also factors in a $2.7 million state-mandated increase in Virginia Retirement System payments for staff, a 5 percent increase in health care premiums and a step salary increase in order for
Alexandria to remain competitive with other school districts.
The budget adds a school climate specialist to focus on positive behavioral interventions and supports and the implementation of restorative practices. If the proposed budget is fully funded, class sizes are projected to remain the same.
“This is a lean and fiscally responsible budget to match the city’s funding expectations,” Crawley said in a statement. “It is designed to maintain current initiatives at a time when the city is faced with fiscal challenges. Prior to the release of this budget, we have taken a number of steps to close the funding gap, including a 2 percent reduction in central office departments.
“Any further cuts in fund- ing will undoubtedly impact the operational effectiveness of schools and have a direct impact on the delivery of instruction and student supports. This is something that we must avoid at all costs.”
The budget calls for an increase in the city’s per pupil spending, which sits at $16,999. ACPS officials said without an increase in per-pupil funding, the system will face a budget shortfall of $9.6 million. Under Crawley’s budget proposal, the per-pupil spending would increase to $17,222.
The Alexandria City School Board will hold public hearings on the budget proposal January 19 and again on February 16. City Manager Mark Jinks unveils his city budget proposal February 21.