Superintendent Presents Proposed Budget for FY20

Superintendent Presents Proposed Budget for FY20
Posted on 02/19/2019
Proposed FY20 BudgetFor Immediate Release
February 19, 2019
Contact: Steve Edwards, Coordinator of Policy and Communications
540-662-3888 ext. 88235

Frederick County Schools Superintendent David Sovine presented the School Board with a proposed budget for FY20 on February 19 that addresses the Board’s budget priorities which include improving student achievement, attracting and retaining high-quality staff, preserving assets and supporting professional development.

The proposed budget totals $224.3 million, including a School Operating Fund of $182 million. Sovine is seeking an additional $9.4 million in local funding for the School Operating Fund as well as $3.9 million for non-recurring capital needs funded through the Capital Projects Fund. He’s also requesting $1.7 million for the Debt Service Fund for principal and interest payments associated with school construction. The request for additional funding for the Debt Service Fund would have only been $400,000 had the Board of Supervisors not decreased funding in FY19 as was requested by the School Board.

Sovine says, “Frederick County Public Schools is a high-performing school division that is recognized as a leader in the Commonwealth. My proposed budget focuses on addressing the School Board’s budget priorities and achieving our mission of ensuring all students an excellent education. As our community continues to grow, and the number of students with diverse backgrounds and unique educational needs increases, it’s critical that we have the resources necessary to address enrollment growth, reduce class sizes, meet individual student needs, preserve capital assets, and remain competitive in recruiting and retaining high-quality staff. The budget I presented to the School Board focuses on people, specifically our students, their families and our staff. An investment is public education is an investment in our community and its future.”

To address the School Board’s budget priority associated with improving student achievement, Sovine requested an additional $2.6 million. The additional funds will support 40 new positions. Twenty-six of the positions requested are school-based and include 16 teaching positions needed to address enrollment growth and reduce average class sizes. Four new school counselors are also included in the proposal. Sovine says, “The additional counseling positions are needed to address new state staffing standards, promote positive mental health and support the whole student.” The other 14 positions requested by Sovine are for bus drivers and bus aides needed due to additional bus routes, increased ridership and to support students with special needs.

Sovine’s proposed budget also includes a request for an additional $4.9 million to support a division average four percent salary initiative. Sovine says, “The salary initiative I’ve proposed matches what is expected to be proposed for Frederick County government employees. In addition, our school division is feeling the effects of a national teacher shortage. The demand for good teachers is increasing while the supply continues to decrease. It is important that we remain competitive with school divisions in our region who are also struggling to find high-quality teachers. Although we’re not in a position to match the salaries offered in Loudoun County, we must work to be competitive. Loudoun County’s starting teacher salary is about $8,200 more than ours. Over a 30-year teaching career, a teacher with a bachelor’s degree working in Loudoun County will make about $539,000 more than a teacher working in Frederick County.”

Sovine adds, “Offering professional development designed to support operational efficiencies, evidence-based instructional practices and student needs is another of the Board’s budget priorities and an important factor when it comes to attracting and retaining high-quality staff and serving students well. This year, we benefitted from about $50,000 provided through the Chain of Checks Campaign which enabled us to provide professional learning regarding student mental health issues. We are continuing to see an increasing number of students with mental health needs and I’ve included $50,000 in my proposed budget to support continued professional development in this area.”

Sovine has also included an additional $4 million in his proposed budget to address the preservation of assets, the need for new and replacement school buses, safety and environmental enhancements, and aging school infrastructure/systems. In addition to funding the purchase of eight school buses, as well as new and replacement Chromebooks, Sovine’s request includes funding to support a new Capital Asset Preservation Plan (CAPP). He says, “The new CAPP will enable the school division to systematically identify and fund major system replacements and maintenance projects. The plan, which identifies maintenance needs over the next 10 years, was created in order to provide the Frederick County Board of Supervisors with a funding plan so we can keep the school division’s assets in good working order.”

In addition to the $11.6 million in new funding Sovine requested to address the School Board’s budget priorities, his proposal includes an additional $2 million to continue current programs and services in the upcoming fiscal year. The “cost to continue” includes the funding needed to participate in regional programs; address expected increases in utilities, fuel and materials; and a $133,000 required local match to supplement the state funding being provided to sustain the school division’s preschool program that serves 54 at-risk students.

Sovine says, “Although fiscal realities don’t allow me to request the funding needed to address all of the school division’s needs in the upcoming fiscal year, it’s important that we have the resources necessary to address important challenges such as increased student enrollment and class sizes, facility maintenance, and the recruitment and retention of outstanding teachers and staff members. One of the Board of Supervisors’ core values noted in Frederick County’s 2035 Comprehensive Plan is “A government that emphasizes a quality education through a cooperative effort with the School Board.” I, along with the members of the School Board, look forward to working together with the Board of Supervisors and members of the community in an effort to determine how to best address the school division’s needs now and in the future.”

Get more information on the Superintendent’s Proposed Budget for FY20.