The Falls Church School Board adopted the bulk of its positions for the coming Richmond legislative session tonight, informed by its participation in a regional school boards’ breakfast with area legislators this morning. While the package covered a number of areas, it was the section on the Virginia Retirement System (VRS) that drew the most concern, with the School Board adopting a stance echoing that of the F.C. City Council, namely, that the state should assume responsibility for “the proper funding” of the VRS.
“By continuing to pass employer contribution increase to municipalities for Commonwealth has put at risk the financial sustainability of many communities and, consequently, the VRS itself,” the School Board policy statement read. Lilla Wise, the legislative liaison in Richmond for the Falls Church, Arlington and Alexandria school systems, told the F.C. Board tonight that based on legislation passed last spring, unless the state assumes a greater burden of responsibility, Falls Church and other local jurisdictions could face a 20 percent jump in financial obligation to the VRS within two years.
The full F.C. School Board statement on the VRS reads:
“We recognize that increases in VRS rates are required to retain the soundness of the system and recommend a long-term plan that would minimize the fluctuations that occur from year to year. We request that a plan be implemented to ensure the sustainability of VRS and its benefit for public employees. The Commonwealth should be responsible for paying some fixed portion of the VRS Trustee determined employer share and localities should not be asked to bear an increased share of VRS costs now or in the future due to the Commonwealth’s unwillingness to properly fund the VRS. By continuing to pass employer contribution increases to municipalities the Commonwealth has put at risk the financial sustainability of many communities and, consequently, the VRS itself.”