Teachers will get a raise and families will no longer be required to pay $100-a-sport athletic fees next school year under a spending plan approved in the wee hours of Friday morning by the Fairfax County School Board.
The average student-to-teacher ratios will not change in the region’s largest school system, although the board did set aside $2.5 million to pay for more teachers in schools that otherwise would have untenably large class sizes.
The board debated for about five hours and considered more than dozen amendments before passing the $2.4 billion budget by a 7-5 vote. The budget, which takes effect in July, represents an 8 percent increase over this year’s spending, including millions of dollars in state-mandated changes to the public employee pension plan.
The county’s two largest teachers’ associations had pushed for a 4 percent cost-of-living raise. Instead, the plan gives employees a 1.25 percent raise that, coupled with adjustments to their required contributions to state and local retirement plans, means teachers will see a net 2.2 percent increase in their take-home pay.
That’s on par with the 2.18 percent hike that county employees will receive next fiscal year.
The board also allocated $7.5 million to pay for up to three weeks of summer school for struggling elementary and middle school students.
Elementary-level foreign language classes and immersion programs, available in dozens of schools, will expand into 10 additional schools.
An additional $600,000 will be set aside to hire more support staff for school board members. The descriptions for those new jobs have yet to be determined.
The board plans to conduct a $200,000 study of Food and Nutrition Services to find ways to serve heathier meals, and another $100,000 will go toward piloting a fresh-food school kitchen.
Currently, kitchens in Fairfax schools aren’t outfitted for preparing full meals from scratch, and serve mostly food that needs reheating. The location of the pilot program will be determined at a later date.
Finally, school board junkies will be pleased to know that a little under $20,000 was allotted to pay for the video recording of work sessions.
Voting for the main budget motion: Tamara Derenak-Kaufax (Lee), Daniel Storck (Mount Vernon), Jane Strauss (Dranesville), Ilryong Moon (At Large), Sandy Evans (Mason), Pat Hynes (Hunter Mill), Megan McLaughlin (Braddock)
Voting against the main budget motion: Kathy Smith (Sully), Ryan McElveen (At Large), Elizabeth Schultz (Springfield), Ted Velkoff (At Large), Patty Reed (Providence)
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