Fairfax County schools will spend more than $35 million next year to provide educational services required by the state of Virginia and the federal government, according to the school system's calculations.
The management services department of the Fairfax schools prepared the list to illustrate how much it costs Fairfax County in local funds to comply with state and federal requirements.
"In case the state wants to put more programs on us (during the Virginia General Assembly session in January) we will show them this list to let the state know we've got to get some relief," said John Hess, director of the schools' management services.
"Our citizens are entitled to know what these unfunded manadates are costing them," he said. "Every time there is a new requirement for the schools, it is accompanied either by insufficient funds or no funds at all."
The list outlines nine state and federally mandated programs to be put into operation in Fairfax schools during fiscal year 1979, which begins July 1, 1978. Fairfax schools will require 186 more positions to implement these required programs, whose combined cost totals $35,004,850, according to Hess.
The largest single express on the list is $17.5 million for special education services for the handicapped required under the Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975. To comply with this federal law, Fairfax Schools will need more occupational and physical therapists, psychologists, social workers, placement specialists, and specialized personnel. The schools also will have to provide summer programs and medical evaluations of handicapped students, among other services.
Another large expense is state-mandated improvements in vocational education. Fairfax County will have to spend $7.6 million in first 1979 to provide more staffing and equipment for vocational education.
In addition, $6.8 million will have to be spent to meet state requirements for school transportation. These requirements govern the size and type of school buses used, the number of bus drivers needed, the number of miles buses can travel, the amount of insurance, and the frequency of bus inspections, among other areas.
In addition to funds for services, Fairfax schools also will have to provide 143 new teaching and instructional aide positions at a cost of about $1.2 million to accommodate state requirements that class size in grades four through six be reduced and that assistants in school libraries be increased.
Other expenses on the list include an estimated $620,000 to fund probable changes in the Social Security program that will increase Fairfax schools' contribution; $496,000 for 40 new teaching and instructional aide positions to meet requirements that class size in grades one through three be reduced; $435,000 to fund federal requirements that public school employees be covered by unemployment compensation, and $167,350 to fund improvements in girls' physical education under Title 9.
Fairfax schools have been complaining loud and long about the schools' growing financial burden caused by increasing educational requirements from the state and federal governments during the past few years.
"Far too often, these mandates do not improve student achievement; they are not product oriented," said Fairfax Schools Supt. S. John Davis. "I'm not satisfied that additional requirements from the state and from the federal government will improve services for children."
Davis said school funds have been taken away from school transportation services and school maintenance to pay for mandated programs and servcies.
"The result is that we call for a school bond referendum to pay for catching up with what has been cut from school maintenance year to year," Davis said.