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Stafford School Board begins budget work

by | Jan 20, 2024 | Schools & Education

From Stafford County Schools:

Stafford County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Thomas W. Taylor presented his proposed Fiscal Year 2025 operating budget during the School Board’s first meeting of 2024. The Superintendent’s funding request calls for approximately $453.4 million for the 2024-2025 school year. The budget request continues to put people first, address growth, and advocate for solutions that ensure every student is Prepared to Excel.

“We are seeing the effects of postponing projects, and the effect a decline in funding has on student performance – neither scenario is positive. When we were funded properly, such as we were in 2012, Stafford Schools ranked 15th in Virginia in student performance and 79th in per pupil expenditure. With a steady decrease in funding, we have spiraled to a dismal 68th place in performance and 111th of 132 school systems in Virginia in per pupil expenditures. The correlation speaks volumes,” said Dr. Taylor. “Our students, family, and community deserve a high quality school system. This clearly will not happen without a more significant investment. There is a price tag for solving problems and it is time to pay the bill.”

Despite the county’s population growing at a rapid pace, the percentage of the school system’s funding from Stafford County has consistently decreased over the last decade, falling from 45% in 2011 to 37.87% in 2024. The FY25 funding request calls for $157.0 million from Stafford County, an increase of $15.0 million.

The Superintendent’s recommended budget calls for:

  • Implementation of Phase 3 of a 5-phase investment in licensed staff with no less than a 3%increase and an average increase of 5.2%;

  • No less than a 3% increase for non-licensed staff salaries;

  • Implementation of staffing standards for allocating educators and support staff across the division; differentiated at the school level, based on student needs;

  • Differentiated financial resources to schools based on need to properly provide for meaningful post-secondary outcomes for every student and ensure all are prepared for life after graduation.

“I have great faith in our teachers, administrators, and support staff and their commitment to preparing our students for life after high school,” said Dr. Taylor. “Unfortunately, nearly half of these dedicated team members cannot afford to live in Stafford County – much less pay their bills without relying on a second source of income. This is simply unacceptable. If we expect to retain high quality staff, we must invest in compensating them properly.”

In addition to the balanced budget presented, there are $62.9M of unfunded requests to address additional compensation for service staff, staffing, class size, professional learning, building enhancements, enrichment programming, stipends, wellness initiatives, software, and community engagement among other unfunded priorities.

The Stafford County School Board and Dr. Taylor will host four Budget Town Hall meetings to communicate the proposed budget and seek feedback from the community regarding its alignment with stakeholder priorities. A public hearing on the budget will be held on Tuesday, February 6, 2024 at 7 p.m. in the School Board Chambers. Community members are invited to present oral and/or written comments at this hearing.

The Superintendent’s Proposed FY25 Operating Budget aligns with the School Board’s Budget Priorities: Attract and Retain High Quality Staff, Improve Performance, Provide a Safe and Welcoming Environment, and Differentiated Funding for Schools Based on School Population.

Community Engagement ScheduleJan 29 – Rock Hill District at AG Wright MS, 6 PMJan 30 – Aquia & Griffis-Widewater Districts at Brooke Point HS, 6 PMJan 31 – Garrisonville & Hartwood Districts at Anthony Burns ES, 6 PMFeb 1 – Falmouth & George Washington Districts at Grafton Village ES, 6 PM

Feb 6 – Public Budget Hearing in the School Board Chambers, 7 PM

Feb 13 – School Board finalizes budget.

To review the Superintendent’s Proposed FY25 Operating Budget visit the Stafford Schools website.

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