Loudoun County Public Schools Superintendent Scott Ziegler outlined the school division’s proposed budget totaling more than $1.5 billion for fiscal year 2023, which includes an average 5% wage increase for employees , among other initiatives, at a special school board meeting on Wednesday.
“When we look at the roughly $88 million that we’re looking to increase the budget, you can see that the vast majority of it – 86.9%, or $76.9 million – is going to salaries and benefits,” Ziegler told the board. members during the meeting. The proposed budget reflects an increase of nearly 6% over SPC’s operating budget for the current year.
The pay increase, he said, “would allow Loudoun County to continue to be an employer of choice in the Northern Virginia area.”
Funding for ESL teachers, literacy program
Ziegler highlighted the inclusion in the proposed budget of funds for 32 full-time staff as English teachers for students who are not native speakers to improve SPC’s staffing standards in this domain. If passed, the budget will lay “the foundation for improved programs across the division,” he said.
School officials touted an Elementary Global Languages start-up, an International Baccalaureate start-up, improvements to student mental health support, the 32 new full-time instructors for students learning English , increased stipends for the performing arts in middle and high schools, as well as enhancements to the LCPS Early Literacy Program as key programs that would strengthen students’ experience in the division in a statement published Wednesday evening shortly before the end of the meeting.
Centralized collection of sports fees, reduction of positions based on registrations
Student sports and parking fees would be eliminated in the 2022-23 school year under the proposed budget, Ziegler said. “We are making a change to the process by which we collect sporting event fees, including admissions and other revenue” that would instead see them collected centrally rather than by individual high schools and distributed to schools based on enrollment.
Trustees said in the press release that the proposed budget for the next fiscal year projects a 3.3% decline in student enrollment compared to the current 2022 budget projections, which will lead to a reduction in the number of positions needed. , which is driven by registrations.
Ziegler said the proposed budget includes a $35.6 million reduction in funding for enrollment-based positions due to declining student enrollment. However, other areas of the proposed budget are expected to gain funding, such as the $35.5 million for improving student learning.
In addition to increased investment in student programs, school administrators highlighted the school division’s need to attract and retain employees, urging them to include the average 5% salary increase for employees. of the CPS, increases in the cost of living, as well as adjustments to teachers’ salaries. scales that would offset a salary gap between mid-career SPC instructor salaries and the regional market average.
“One of the areas where we know we have to do better is with our environment. [career] teachers, where they are well below the market when it comes to compensation,” Ziegler said. “And so, this budget includes $21.7 million to adjust the salary scale for teachers, which … does substantial work to reduce sagging.”
School officials also noted the proposed budget funding for student and staff support services in Wednesday evening’s statement – including one computer per student for all kindergartens – as well as investments in software and hardware for students and staff; safety and security communications; full-time assistance from the school board and the Loudoun Educational Foundation.