Fact Sheet on Fairfax County Budget for FY2017

FACT SHEET ON FAIRFAX COUNTY BUDGET FOR FISCAL YEAR 2017

Prepared for the Fox Mill Japanese Cultural Committee

SUMMARY:  The next couple of weeks are a critical time for parents to let their elected representatives know how important public education, and foreign language immersion, is to them as voters and community members.  The Virginia General Assembly is currently debating a budget bill which will decide how much funding the Commonwealth of Virginia will give to all public schools, including FCPS.  In addition, Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) must submit a budget to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors (BOS) on April 5, and the BOS will approve the final county budget for Fiscal Year 2017 on April 26.  Recent negative comments by some BOS members show there is a dispute between FCPS and BOS about the funding of many education programs, including language immersion.  Please write your representatives at the Virginia General Assembly, FCPS and BOS to let them know that our community supports language immersion, and wants FCPS to receive the most funding as possible so that Fairfax County continues to have high quality public education.

  1. Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) receives 72 percent of its budget from Fairfax County, 15 percent from the Commonwealth of Virginia, 7 percent from sales tax, and the remaining 6 percent from Federal aid and other sources.
  2. On February 4, 2016, the FCPS School Board adopted the Fiscal Year 2017 budget proposed by the FCPS Superintendent, Dr. Karen Garza.  The proposed budget plans to increase the FCPS budget by 4.8 percent, with a total of $2.7 billion in operating expenses.  The increases were made to reverse a long-term trend of decreasing budgets for FCPS.  Since fiscal year 2008, FCPS has cut nearly $500 million from its budget while school enrollment has increased.
  3. On March 1, the BOS released its advertised tax rate for 2017, which proposed to increase the real estate tax rate by 4 cents per $100.00 of assessed value.  The tax rate for 2017 cannot be higher than the advertised tax rate, which is $1.13 per $100 of assessed value.  At this advertised rate, unless FCPS gets a greater share of funding from the BOS and the General Assembly than it currently does, FCPS will have to cut $50 million from its 2017 budget. Those budget cuts will hurt or eliminate many valuable programs, including language immersion.

WHAT TO WRITE TO YOUR REPRESENTATIVES

  1. When you write your representatives at the General Assembly, please make three points:
  2. You are concerned by the level of cuts that Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) have had to make since 2008.  FCPS has cut $500 million from its budget since 2008, and it is planning on cutting $50 million to $75 million in 2017.
  3.  You are upset that Virginia is one of the bottom 10 states in the amount of funding that

the state provides to public schools.

  1. You want the General Assembly to provide more funding to FCPS so that our community’s public schools continue to provide the high quality education that is essential for keeping our communities healthy and prosperous.
  2. Here is a sample letter to the Virginia General Assembly:

Dear Delegate Boysko and Senator Howell:

I am a homeowner in Fairfax County, and I am very concerned about the ongoing budget problems facing public schools across the state, and especially Fairfax County Public Schools.  Since 2008, Fairfax County Public Schools have faced a budget crisis that has resulted in $500 million in cuts to academic programs, increases in elementary class sizes, increases in pre-kindergarten waitlists, and delayed or canceled school maintenance.  Fairfax County is currently debating its 2017 budget, and it is proposing $50 million to $75 million in additional cuts.  These kinds of cuts cannot continue without destroying the quality of our public schools.

As a parent who has two children in Fairfax elementary schools, I am alarmed by this situation.  Virginia is one of the 10 most prosperous states in the country, but it is also one of bottom 10 states in the funding it provides to public schools.  This situation cannot continue.  Quality public education is essential for building prosperous, dynamic communities like we have in Fairfax County.  If we allow our public schools to deteriorate, our communities will deteriorate along with them.  Virginia cannot become like California.

I urge you to increase the amount of funding the General Assembly provides to Fairfax County Public Schools.  Without increased funding, our schools will have no choice but to eliminate academic programs that have provided my children with an excellent public education.  Once we eliminate programs, there is no going back.  Please increase state funding to our schools before it is too late.

  1. When you write members of the Virginia General Assembly, copy your representatives on the FCPS Board and the BOS to let them know that we are advocating for them as well as for us. We need to make allies on the FCPS Board and BOS in order to save our programs.
  2. When you write your representatives at the FCPS Board and BOS, please make three points:
  3. You are concerned by the level of cuts that Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) have had to make since 2008.  FCPS has cut $500 million from its budget since 2008, and it is planning on cutting $50 million to $75 million in 2017.
  4. You are upset that FCPS is debating whether to cut academic programs such as language immersion.  Language immersion education is an asset that prepares our students to be competitive in the local, national and global marketplace. If language immersion is cut, it will negatively impact our region’s economic competitiveness, and decrease our home values.
  5. You want the BOS to provide more funding to FCPS so that our community’s public schools continue to provide the high quality education that is essential for keeping our communities healthy and prosperous.
  6. Here is a sample letter to the BOS:

Dear Ms. Bulova and Ms. Hudgins:

I am a homeowner in Fairfax County, and I am very concerned about the ongoing budget problems facing Fairfax County Public Schools.  Since 2008, Fairfax County Public Schools have faced a budget crisis that has resulted in $500 million in cuts to academic programs, increases in elementary class sizes, increases in pre-kindergarten waitlists, and delayed or canceled school maintenance.  Fairfax County is currently debating its 2017 budget, and it is proposing $50 million to $75 million in additional cuts.  These kinds of cuts cannot continue without destroying the quality of our public schools.

As a parent who has two children in Fairfax elementary schools, I am alarmed by this situation.  I am especially concerned that our elected officials are thinking about cutting quality academic programs such as foreign language immersion.  My daughter is enrolled in the Japanese immersion program at Fox Mill Elementary School, and I can tell you that this program is excellent.  My daughter is fluent in both Japanese and English, which would not be possible if she waited until high school to start learning a foreign language.  Fairfax County has had foreign language immersion for 25 years, and our program is famous across the country for giving our students the opportunity to speak in a second language at the same level as a native speaker.  This level of language and cultural mastery is essential for Fairfax County to remain one of the most prosperous and economically vibrant areas in the country.  Quality academics like foreign language immersion drive economic growth, period.  Without quality public education, our economy will stagnate and we will destroy what makes Fairfax County a dynamic place to live.

I urge you to increase the amount of funding the Board of Supervisors provides to Fairfax County Public Schools.  Without increased funding, our schools will have no choice but to eliminate academic programs that have provided my children with an excellent public education.  Once we eliminate programs, there is no going back.  Please increase funding to our schools before it is too late.

  1. When you write members of the BOS, copy your representatives on the FCPS Board to let them know that we are advocating for them as well as for us. We need to make allies on the FCPS Board in order to save our programs.

WHO ARE YOUR ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES?

  1. Fairfax County Board of Supervisors:  The Fox Mill area is in the Hunter Mill District of Fairfax County.  Our member on the County Board is Catherine Hudgins, who can be reached at:

Ms. Catherine Hudgins

1801 Cameron Glen Drive

Reston, VA 20190

Phone:  (703) 478-0283

Email:  huntermill@fairfaxcounty.gov

If you do not live in the Fox Mill area, you can find your member on the County Board by going to http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/myneighborhood/.

The Chairman of the Board of Supervisors is Ms. Sharon Bulova.  She represents all of Fairfax County.  Ms. Bulova can be reached at:

Ms. Sharon Bulova

12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 530

Fairfax, VA 22035

Phone:  (703) 324-2321

Email:  chairman@fairfaxcounty.gov

  1. Commonwealth of Virginia, House of Delegates:  The Fox Mill area is in District 86 of the Virginia House of Delegates.  Our Delegate is Jennifer Boysko, who can be reached at:

Delegate Jennifer Boysko

General Assembly Building

P.O. Box 406

Richmond, VA 23218

Phone: (804) 698-1086

Email: DelJBoysko@house.virginia.gov

If you do not live in the Fox Mill area, you can find your Delegate in the General Assembly by going to http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/myneighborhood/.

  1. Commonwealth of Virginia, Senate:  The Fox Mill area is in District 32 of the Virginia Senate.  Our Seantor is Janet Howell, who can be reached at:

Senator Janet D. Howell

General Assembly Building

Room No: 321

Senate of Virginia

P.O. Box 396

Richmond, VA 23218

Phone: (804) 698-7532

Email: district32@senate.virginia.gov

If you do not live in the Fox Mill area, you can find your Senator in the General Assembly by going to http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/myneighborhood/.

  1. Fairfax County Public School Board:  The Fox Mill area is represented by four members of the School Board: our district representative (Pat Hynes) and by three at-large members who serve the entire county (Ryan McElveen, Jeanette Hough and Ilryong Moon).  Their email addresses are:

Pay Hynes:  PatHynes@fcps.edu

Ryan McElveen:  Ryan.McElveen@fcps.edu

Jeanette Hough:  jhough1@fcps.edu

Ilryong Moon:  Ilryong.Moon@fcps.edu

ADDITIONAL THINGS TO TELL YOUR ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES:

  1. When you call, email or speak before your elected representatives, here are some suggestions for you to say to support Fairfax schools and language immersion:
  • It is critical to invest in education
  • The school system is a critical factor in home values
  • Education provides the greatest return on county investments
  • Fairfax schools are critical to Fairfax County’s brand value and to recruiting business investment
  • Deferring investment in education will create problems in the long term
  • Foreign language immersion in elementary school is critical for students’ ability to master another language
  • Foreign language skills are critical for developing students who are prepared to compete in a global, 21st Century marketplace
  • Businesses in Fairfax County currently need employees with foreign language skills in order to be competitive in the global, 21st Century marketplace
  • Foreign language immersion attracts new families to buy homes and live in Fairfax county
  • Foreign language immersion is critical to FCPS’s brand value and Fairfax County’s ability to recruit business investment
  • Be positive! Emphasize the immense value of foreign language immersion.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

FCPS webpage on the Fiscal Year 2017 budget:  http://www.fcps.edu/news/fy2017.shtml