Email Update: First Day of School 2014-2015

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

It’s that time of year again, time for our schools to open their doors for the start of another school year.  I know my children are anxiously awaiting their alarm clocks going off tomorrow morning signaling to them that summer is officially over.   Yeah, my kids probably aren’t anymore excited than yours are to be headed back to school.

While Stafford County Schools will have their challenges year we are ready to have a great year.  With last year’s budget negotiations we did have to make the difficult decision to reduce our teaching staff.  That has caused a slight increase in class sizes throughout the county.  Unfortunately from reports coming in there are some areas affected more than others.   Our division leadership and the School Board are keeping a close eye on school and class populations.  Where we can, we will make adjustments to make things work.

The School Board has already started looking at the Fiscal Year 2016 budget.  The Finance and Budget Committee of the School Board is meeting monthly on the first Thursday of the month to discuss the upcoming budget.   One of the biggest things we hope to work on this year is teacher and other staff compensation.   For too many years we have continued to battle to ensure our staff is properly compensated using a compensation model that is out of date.   We hope to make changes to the model, which will in turn improve compensation for all of our division staff.

 We continue to be challenged by mandates pushed down by the state and federal government.  This year, among other things, we are working on guidelines to adhere to the federal Health Kids Initiative, which dictates school nutrition standards.  While ensuring our students get a well balanced diet and we do our part to fight childhood obesity, guidelines in the federal legislation create many challenges to include hampering fundraising efforts by PTOs and athletic boosters.   We are currently reviewing the guidelines and determining if we are applying too strict of guidance to our schools based on the federal guidelines.  In the end we want to ensure we have healthy kids, but also keep food costs at a minimum and do not hamper fundraising opportunities. 

From the state we have received bad news in the form of their announcement of an over $2 billion budget deficit.  The Governor has already announced that even K-12 education will not be able to avoid negative impacts from this year’s state budget issues.    As those cuts trickle down to the school division we will be forced with many additional difficult decisions as we work on our FY16 budget.

On the side of good news, many of our fall athletic programs are off and running, including Stafford High School football who opened their season this past Friday night on a new turf field.  I was happy to attend the game and see the field was complete and our student athletes on the football team were thrilled to play on the new surface.  While installing turf fields at high schools can 10540709_10152355982258155_6395944966598096954_o.jpgbe controversial if we decide to buy turf fields at the expense of other spending in education I am happy that was not the case with the field at Stafford High School.  That field was paid for with proffers from the Leeland Station development that was in exchange for park proffers the developer was already obligated to pay the county.  It’s a great way to enhance our facilities without risking additional costs to the school division.   Unfortunately the football team fell just a couple of inches short of beating cross town rival James Monroe High School; but with the sense of excitement for the players to have the premier field in the county to play their games on there was a true sense of “This is Our House” and they were proud to fight to defend their home field.

As students fill the halls of our schools tomorrow the School Board will continue to work hard to improve our school division. 

Please remember school is back in session.   Be aware of kids waiting for school buses and please observe the laws of the road around school buses.  Safety of our children in paramount, please do your part and drive safely.

 

Sincerely,
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Scott Hirons

 

 p.s. if you need any information about your school, bus routes, nutrition, etc. please visit the Stafford County Public Schools website at www.staffordschools.net.

 

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@scotthirons tweeted this page. 2014-09-01 22:11:44 -0400
Scott Hirons, Stafford County School Board - Falmouth District posted about Email Update: First Day of School 2014-2015 on Scott Hirons, Stafford County School Board - Falmouth District's Facebook page 2014-09-01 22:11:44 -0400
Email Update: First Day of School 2014-2015

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