Focuses on Classroom Needs
On May 28, the Alexandria City School Board approved a Combined Funds Budget of $261.69 million for FY 2016, which included an appropriation from the City of $198.81 million. Details on the budget may be found at this link.
The overall budget increased by only 2.9 percent compared to last year, despite a 3.7 percent growth in projected enrollment for FY 2016. The total average cost per pupil for FY 2016 is $16,858, a 1.7 percent decrease from the FY 2015 cost per pupil of $17,153.
The budget features a realignment of resources, focusing on the classroom, providing differentiated supports and services to a growing and diverse student population, while improving facilities and attracting and retaining excellent staff with a full step increase.
The School Board focused on funding instructional support, including additional resources for students with special needs and expanding summer learning opportunities. It also allocated funds to move ahead with its planned implementation of the International Academy Program into Francis C. Hammond Middle School.
The School Board funded additional assistant principals at John Adams and William Ramsay Elementary Schools and additional parent liaisons to maintain student support programs that are currently in place.
“In a tight fiscal climate, it is important that we continue to drive our resources into the classroom. We are continuing to support our teachers by ensuring we attract and retain the best so that we can remain focused on becoming a high-performing school division,” said Superintendent Alvin L. Crawley.
The School Board also approved the FY 2016 Capital Improvement Program (CIP) budget of $44.31 million, offset by $5.50 million of prior year funds. This budget includes the planned expansion of Patrick Henry Elementary School into a PreK-8 school for 800 students. The School Board is presently considering whether to complete this expansion through renovation or construction of a new school building on the Patrick Henry site.
The final CIP budget also includes funds for planning and design of future projects, playground improvements across several schools and smaller repairs such as roofing work at George Washington Middle School. However, it does not include sufficient funds to move ahead with the expansion of classrooms at the Minnie Howard campus of T.C. Williams High School.
“This budget reflects the Board’s priority to support classroom needs first. Capacity is part of that equation and is something which we cannot ignore. We need to provide a creative solution for the capacity issues in order to ensure equity within our school buildings,” said School Board Chair Karen Graf.