Letter from Superintendent Peter Noonan to FCCPS Faculty and Staff Regarding the Budget

January 9, 2018

Dear FCCPS Faculty and Staff,


Tonight I will be presenting the Superintendent’s Proposed FY19 school budget and I want to give you a “heads up” before I do. Over the past months we have been working diligently to craft a budget that reflects the priorities of our school system that is responsive to our collective needs now and into the future. We have held numerous meetings in the community, with staff and faculty, and with the governmental bodies to discern what each respective group’s priorities are in an effort to meld them together into a plan that ultimately is in sync with our FCCPS Triennial Plan. The Triennial Plan has become, and is, the driver of where our school system will move over the next several years and serves as a “North Star” when it comes to the decision making of where we put our resources. The input received from the multiple stakeholder groups I’ve met with in the past two months is in line with what our division priorities are from that plan. These priorities include:

Student-Centered Teaching and Learning

  • Ensure equity of access to quality core instructional programs and resources for all students.
  • Ensure all students develop critical thinking and creative problem‐solving skills through the International Baccalaureate Programmes.
  • Empower principals as collaborative instructional leaders to ensure fair and equitable student outcomes.
  • Make instructional programming decisions by measuring the performance of all students, including special populations, to ensure all students meet or exceed local, state, and federal accountability standards
  • Integrate and leverage technology as an instructional tool.

Excellent Staff

  • Attract, hire, and retain an exceptional, diverse staff to meet the needs of all students.
  • Provide ongoing quality professional learning to ensure instructional best practices are consistently implemented  in our classrooms.
  • Ensure FCCPS salaries remain regionally competitive.

Optimal Facilities and Learning Environments

  • Maintain safe and secure facilities.
  • Educate students in  innovative, energy efficient, healthy, and sustainable facilities that support best practices for teaching and learning.

Fiscal Management

  • Align financial decision-making with the FCCPS vision, mission, and priorities.
  • Ensure all stakeholders have a role in developing the annual budget.
  • Maximize resources entrusted to FCCPS, remaining accountable to and transparent with the community.

Community Engagement

  • Encourage and support opportunities for parent and citizen involvement.
  • Collaborate with City Council, Planning Commission, and school stakeholders – students, staff, parents, and other community members – around FCCPS policies and activities.
In any budget process there are more requests than there is money available and as a consequence, competing interests need to be weighed against the priorities and hard decisions need to be made. As a reminder, our FCCPS budget, like the Triennial Plan, is not a one year only process and while some things weren’t funded this year, they can be considered in the coming years.
 
Proposed additional spending
 
The center piece in this year’s proposed budget is a 3% cost of living adjustment (COLA) for all of our employees. Our number one resource in our system is you, our people. Our “human capital” is vital to the health of the system and as a consequence needs to be provided a fair and competitive wage. With this proposed COLA we will continue to to not only make gains on the surrounding jurisdictions with respect to compensation but in some cases we may be exceeding what the closest divisions are able to pay.
 
“All means all” is an expression that many of you have heard me say in my tenure as superintendent. As a division we are not as well positioned as many would like to support the needs of the diverse population we serve. Therefore, I am proposing a resource teacher in Special Education that will support team collaboration, professional development, and overall capacity building for the division. Additionally, I am proposing that we “repurpose” one of our LEIP teacher positions in the division to also serve as an ESOL resource teacher that will provide similar support for our division and serve as a community point of contact (this position would be without additional cost). These two positions, along with the position that Summer Manos occupies, would create a “support triad” that focuses on instruction for all students in the division. 
 
Additionally, we are all keenly aware that the nature and needs of our students, from an emotional and social perspective, are changing and our current resources are not sufficient to meet those needs. I am proposing an additional school psychologist that will serve the division as well.
 
We have made a significant commitment to becoming a PK-12 IB school division. Further, our stated mission is to be the premier IB school division in the country. At the elementary schools our resources are not aligned to make that happen. I am proposing a .5 PYP coordinator at TJES and at MDES. This person will provide IB curriculum support half time in each of the two buildings.
MEH staffing has been out of balance when we look at the planning factors for the division and to bring the staff to a consistent place with the planning factors I will be proposing a 1.0 math specialist position and a .5 school counselor be added.
 
Division-wide I am not proposing any classroom teacher reductions which, based on projections, should keep our student teacher ratios consistent with School Board guidance. I am, however, proposing one additional special education teacher for the division based on updated projections.
 
Other items I am proposing include additional clerical support at JTP, additional curriculum resources for HY-C and CTE, a small amount to begin building a band equipment replacement fund, additional technology funds (for web security, laptop cart, software licenses), an increase of time for a transportation staff member, the addition of one transportation van (the old one finally broke down), and a small “superintendent’s reserve for innovation” that will be used for curriculum and instructional innovation grants next year.
 
All of these proposed spending additions are tied directly to our triennial plan and support our human capital, “all means all,” and our work to be the premier PK-12 IB division philosophy.
 
Tonight is the first step of the budget “journey” with my presentation of a needs based budget. There will be multiple opportunities for you and the community to weigh in before the School Board adopts the budget and sends it to the City Council for consideration. The following are the key dates to consider:
 
Budget Work Session #2
January 16, 2018
Public Hearing #1
February 13, 2018
Budget Work Session #3 and
February 20, 2018
School Board Proposed Budget
February 20, 2018
City Manager Proposed Budget
March 12, 2018
Public Hearing #2
March 13, 2018
Town Hall Meeting
March 17, 2018
Budget Work Session #4 (if needed)
March 20, 2018
Town Hall Meeting
April 7, 2018
Public Hearing #3
May 8, 2018
FY 2019 Budget Adopted
May 8, 2018
 
The amount I am requesting exceeds the guidance provided by the City Council. I am committed to the proposed budget as it is, in my estimation, needs based. Thank you for your support and understanding of this process. I wish we could do it all but this seems to be a very good place to start.
 
Sincerely,
 
Peter
 
Peter J. Noonan Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

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Falls Church Elementary PTA- Budget Priorities

School Board Meeting

December 19, 2017

Public Comments by Laura Downs, President, FCEPTA

 

 

Thanks for the opportunity to speak with you this evening.  In terms of budget, there are certainly a few themes that the PTA sees as priorities for our elementary schools, primarily focused on PYP support, staffing needs and staff compensation.

 

PYP

Our top priority is to have the funding for a full-time K-5 PYP coordinator to be shared by Mount Daniel and TJ. As a school district who prides itself as being a PYP/ MYP/ IB school system, we need to adequately support the initiative.  It is a responsibility that currently resides with the vice principals.  It is understandable that due to their other, more pressing responsibilities, they often cannot give it the time it needs to become a thriving program. Teacher training for PYP will also be greatly enhanced by having a staff member dedicated to the program.

 

Staff Needs

In addition to the PYP Coordinator, there are two additional staff positions that we would like to see funded in this budget.  First, we would like to see the Spanish Coordinator at Mt. Daniel be moved from a .8 to a full-time position.  It is very difficult for the current Coordinator to serve all 18 classrooms at Mt. Daniel as a .8 staff member.

Secondly, we would like to have a .5 clerical office support staff position at JTP.   It is my understanding that JTP has seen the greatest enrollment growth this year and we need additional additional support in that building.

There are some staffing needs at TJ but due to the lack of physical space currently and because Paul Swanson does not want more Encore teachers on carts, we are holding off a request for increased staffing at TJ.

Clearly, staffing both at TJ and MD will be need to be discussed in depth when second grade moves to Mt. Daniel.

 

Staff Compensation

We are advocating for a compensation increase for staff members- either a step increase or cost of living.  Governor Mc Auliffe recently declared that Virginia was in a state of emergency due to its teacher shortage.  In the Northern Virginal area where the cost of living is high and competition for great teachers is stiff, we must take steps to keep our teachers and attract new ones with strong salary and benefits packages.

 

In the “Nice to Have” Column

A STEAM teacher for MD and a Special Education Administrator would be a tremendous addition to Mt. Daniel especially when second grade moves to the building.