Alexandria City Public Schools’ superintendent released a $228 million fiscal year 2014 operating budget, a nearly 5 percent increase over the last budget.
The proposal asks the city to offer an appropriation of $188.7 million, a 5.1 percent increase from FY13.
Per pupil, the requested budget shows a drop from $17,693 in FY13 to the requested $17,336 per pupil in FY14. ACPS noted in its release of the budget that the school division has the most diverse student population and the greatest number of students – 56 percent – who are eligible for free and reduced-price meals in Northern Virginia.
Superintendent Morton Sherman’s FY14 proposed combined funds budget proposal is $247 million, a 3.3 percent increase from the prior fiscal year’s similar, approved budget. The combined funds budget includes $11 million in grants and $7 million in school nutrition funds.
ACPS enrollment for the school year 2013-2014 is expected to reach about 13,707, which is an increase of 593 students over current enrollment.
The superintendent said the new budget proposal continues support for transformation efforts and provides stronger investments in student achievement and professional learning for staff. He cited returns on investment specifically at T.C. Williams High School and Cora Kelly School for Math, Science and Technology.
"With increasing enrollments at ACPS and with ever-increasing expectations for all students, the focus of this budget is how best to address the needs of our students as we come out of an economic recession that held down expenditures in areas such as textbooks, reading materials and other essential learning resources including personnel," Sherman said in a statement.
The budget also recommends a 2 percent increase in employees' salary schedule “as the division studies other models of compensation,” as well as continuing a reduction in employee contribution to the supplemental retirement plan and a reduction in the percentage of medical benefits paid by employees “to be more in line with city employees and surrounding school divisions.”
Other highlights cited by the superintendent include:
- Net increase of more than 50 full-time employees
- More flexibility for elementary school staffing
- New science and social students textbooks for secondary schools
- “Appropriate” school administration staff for all buildings with additional assistant principals for elementary schools
- Investment in extended learning
- Special education staffing above state requirements
- Commitment to pre-kindergarten education
- Introduction of a financial literacy program