Email update: SCPS FY15 Budget Adopted

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Last week the School Board adopted our budget for fiscal year 2015.   As I have indicated in previous updates, this year was a particularly challenging year on our budget.   We faced a number of challenges that primarily stemmed from mandates imposed on the school division by state and federal government.

While we were able to meet the additional mandates, such as required increases to the Virginia Retirement System imposed by the state government, we did have to make several sacrifices in order to do so.   I was particularly disappointed that in order to balance our budget we had to make significant negative impacts to the classroom.   Through this budget we will be reducing our teaching staff, which will result in an average class size increase by one student.  While adding one student to a classroom doesn’t sound that bad, many of our classrooms are already overcrowded and this change will make our classes even more crowded.   The budget also reduces the number of Math Specialists/Coaches we have in the county.   Math Specialists play a key role in ensuring our elementary and middle school students have the additional help with math to prepare them for high school and beyond.  We reduced the number of Math Specialists at the middle school level.   Next year there will be one math specialist for every two middle schools.   Students and teachers will still have access to these important resources, but time will have be shared between two schools for each specialist.  You can see more information about our budget here.  

Weighing the negative impacts on the classrooms I ultimately cast the lone vote against adoption of the FY15 budget.   The superintendent made proposals and provided options that would have reduced cost and staff elsewhere, but the majority on the School Board approved the budget with the reductions in our teaching staff and Math Specialists.   While I am disappointed the School Board took this direction I do believe this budget is the beginning of a process of improvement for the Stafford County School system.  The Free Lance Star published an article on the budget vote here.

I understand the importance of building a school system that provides a high quality education for our students and is efficient and a high value to our taxpayers.  While many of our county residents may not have children who currently attend Stafford County Schools, nearly everyone pays taxes.   It is very important, to me, that we spend those tax dollars wisely.  That is why I am encouraged that our School Board is ready to work on improving the organization of the school division to create a more effiecient and cost effective organization.  In the budget we did approve the Superintendent to do an efficiency report and find ways we can do business better.  Many are concerned this will result in just another report with no action.  I was clear in my statements during the last school board meeting that we must take action the efficiency report recommends.  I intend to ensure we do take action on what the report produces and if we do not we give clear indication on why we are not putting the recommendation into action.

Over the next year I expect you will see vast improvements on how the school division does business.   That will result an improved school system.  Taxpayers will see high value in the tax dollars that are spent to educate our children.   Improving our school system will also improve the county’s economic development efforts.  We all know when people move to an area and look where to buy a new home they often find where the best schools are.    As companies look to relocate they too look at the quality of school systems in areas they are looking at.   I want to ensure we build a school system that is a benefit to the county’s efforts to attract new jobs and grow our economy here in Stafford County.

In other news the new building for Stafford High School is starting to look like a school building.   Walls are going up and the unnamed.pngstructure is really taking shape.  I look forward to this building opening in the fall of 2015.   The new building will provide students with a high quality education facility.  Students at Stafford High School will have new science labs, larger classrooms, roomier hallways, and an asbestos free building.   This will be a real asset to our county and to the students of south Stafford.    This fall Stafford High School will also be one of the first schools in the county to have a competition synthetic turf field in the football stadium.  This new turf field will enable more practice time, more teams to be able to play and less cancellations and postponements due to weather.   The field will also be a safer and a lower maintenance surface for our student athletes to play sports on.  

Please feel free to contact me anytime if you have any concerns about Stafford County Schools.  I can be reached by email, on my website or on Facebook.


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@scotthirons tweeted this page. 2014-05-23 08:23:56 -0400
Scott Hirons, Stafford County School Board - Falmouth District posted about Email update: SCPS FY15 Budget Adopted on Scott Hirons, Stafford County School Board - Falmouth District's Facebook page 2014-05-23 08:23:56 -0400
Email update: SCPS FY15 Budget Adopted

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