F.C. School Board Zeroing In on Budget With 9% Increase

February 25, 2014 10:53 PM34 comments
Members of the FC School Board deliberated over their proposed budget tonight. (Photo: News-Press)

Members of the FC School Board deliberated over their proposed budget tonight. (Photo: News-Press)

The Falls Church School Board went round and round in a work session Tuesday night on five scenarios devised by Superintendent Dr. Toni Jones for budgets she could work with to present to the City Manager on March 4, settling in on one calling for about a nine percent increase over last year, but still almost twice the increase that some on the City Council have said they would support.

The explosive enrollment growth of the F.C. School System, growing at a faster pace in the last four years than any other system in the region, has accounted for the need for the increased funding beyond what City Council members say they’ll be willing to support to date. As School Board members deliberated on their numbers, they were reminded that their budgets are almost entirely “people centered,” based on compensating teachers and staff, and maintaining small classroom sizes with world-class instruction. “We have hardly and ‘stuff’ beyond people needs,” Superintendent Jones reminded the board.

The School Board’s final vote on the budget request it will send to the City Manager, and eventually to the City Council, will come next Tuesday at the School Board offices conference room, where more than a dozen on-lookers followed carefully the deliberations of the board.

Board vice chair Justin Castillo told his colleagues that he’d heard at least four (out of seven) Council members are committed at this stage to no tax rate increase in the Fiscal Year 2015 budget, because a robust increase in real estate assessments will already cause tax bills to rise, on top of a new Storm Water Utility fee that all property owners will get tagged with.

But in the end tonight, the board was in agreement that its job was to pass onto the Council what the school system’s needs actually are, and not to try too hard to conform their request with the City Council’s wishes.




  • I wonder when the breaking point for Falls Church taxpayers will be reached.

    • For many, it has been surpassed. At a tax rate of $1.30+, we are off the charts.
      The original founders who wanted a better education for children built a model that now many years later cannot be sufficiently funded. The best solution is to annex with Arlington (or FFX C0). Both those jurisdictions offer great schools and diverse school populations that in the end will be just fine for children here.
      And, if that doesn’t work for some, those households have options in the private school marketplace to rely on for a “better education”.

      • Aghast AtYou

        They did not build a “model.” Our City founders built a city whose purpose was to create an exceptional school system. I have no idea why you would move here not knowing that!

        • Many of us moved here years ago for a variety of reasons. What you imply is we move along and make way for those who have limitless funds to put into a school system that is no longer financially viable given our commercial tax base, etc. Furthermore, it appears to me we are creating a community that’s not diverse enough for our children to be in a “real world”.

  • What? They have plenty of “stuff.” Remember last year when Dr. Jones went on the Apple iPad and Mac Air buying spree? Some of those are still sitting in unopened boxes.

    • CORRECTION: There are no unopened boxes of Apple iPads, Mac Air, etc. There is, however, a growing list of unmet requests from faculty who are desiring these and other tools for their classrooms. Because of the scarcity, deployment is methodical.
      The FCCPS Instructional Technology Plan for the next four years is available at http://www.fccps.org/technologyplan

      • Well, with respect, I read that these Apples’ “deployment is methodical” as “we aren’t putting those Apple products to use yet.” To me, that’s splitting hairs, and it underscores the reason why no further computer upgrades are being requested.

        • To clarify further: All devices on hand are in use. We have a growing list of requests from faculty for even more. The FY15 Budget plan as well as the 2014-2017 Technology Plan spell out FCCPS plans for future purchases and use…in other words a carefully though-out program that maximises use with limited funding.

    • Troll

      • JFallsChurch

        Define Troll

        • Aghast AtYou

          In Internet slang, a troll is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people,by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a forum, chat room, or blog), either accidentally or with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.

  • Let’s see…your house assessment went up 7.5% and inflation is 1.5% so yes, a 9% increase in the budget is fair. Oh, wait, that can’t be right.

  • Let’s see: the valuation of your home goes up. You can sell or borrow against the increased valuation. You have to pay to improve your city’s drainage system, and you might have to pay increased taxes to support the schools. And the problem is?

    • The problem is: 1. Some folks cannot borrow and even if they can why should they? 2. Your city’s drainage system could have been funded with bonds..we chose not to do that..bad choice. 3. Selling for some is like “blockbusting” in disguise….ferret out the weak and poor so the wealthy can swoop in. And the problem is????? you and those who think like you are the problem.

      • Aghast AtYou

        The problem is folks like you who somehow think they are apart from the community here. You can move and make a fortune! Why did you ever come here in the first place?

        • I came here to enjoy myself and make a life. I can move and make a fortune? Do you think that is all that matters? How elitist and arrogant of you to suppose we all just want to sell and make a bundle of money. Really sad sir (or madam) as you never identified your true self.

  • Have you heard of the free market economy? Do you want us to artificially reduce tax rates for you? Shall we lower real estate values to satisfy you? Perhaps we should just ignore the damage done by your houses?

    • I am a real estate agent and yes, lowering values actually would benefit the city in the long run because it would create a more DIVERSE community with even city workers being able to live here . The prices here are not healthy at all..they have created an artificial island of well paid homebuyers who, in turn, expect everything to be provided to them..and their children…without any sympathy for others not so fortunate. A free market economy is not what you have here….instead you have an oligarchy like economy with representatives on the school board and city council promoting interests of the better off….cry me a river that your Little Johnny doesn’t get served on a sterling silver education platter…..

      • Aghast AtYou

        Well, tell us your real name so we can steer folks selling your way.

        • My real name is as posted. …cpplymire. Or..if you need more specifics, that would be Charles P. Plymire. I live at 115 West Marshall St. Perhaps you would like to give us your real name. I do plan on speaking at a soon to be City Council meeting about this taxation. If you attend, please make sure to introduce yourself so I can tip my hat.

  • What it comes down to Dear Citizens is this: Are you willing to improve the education of our students? Obviously the School Board has already caved into the demands of the fringe lunatics. If the school board and the city council is going to base their decisions on some BS perceived public opinion then we should just quit and let Fairfax annex our school system.

  • This discussion only exposes the rich, fat cats on the school board and city council for the selfish people they are. This is a very wealthy school district. If you cannot figure out how to pay your teachers a comparable wage and your support staff a livable wage because of your narrow mindedness then it is time to call it quits.

    • JFallsChurch

      How to you define a “wealthy school district”?

      • Good question. We already are…and have been….a wealthy district. The problem is the well to do…and many in middle class…expect more and more. They do not realize that many systems in our own state don’t even have a fraction of what our kids get here. Yet, it isn’t enough. This is what I call “the spoiled syndrome”. There is a reason private schools like Sidwell Friends and others exist in the free marketplace. If you want an Ivy Prep School education, then you need to fund it on your own.

    • I have read so many of your posts and they completely disgust me. Why? because you, like so many other people in this town, expect everything to be provided to YOU on the backs of paying taxpayers. What you don’t seem to understand is the MODEL that was created by becoming an independent City is no longer viable. At what point do you expect people to NOT pay per student? We are already well above the per capita cost per student compared to our peering jurisdictions. For example, let’s double our tax rate to say $2.60 per $100 and give it all to the schools for a budget of over $70M…is that enough for you? Hah! My taxes have increased 400% in less than 20 years. All around me I see wealthy families with their kids driving nice cars coming in. Tell me….should I borrow against my house so your kids can go to Harvard for you?
      Or, should you pay that? Do I have ANY say so for example on HOW MANY children you can bring into this world and subsidize with my hard earned money? No, I don’t! So, don’t you TELL THE REST OF US with no children in the darn system to pay up more so you can have the best. YOU PAY IT!

      • Aghast AtYou

        Again the reason there is a Falls Church City is for the schools. Get a grip. Move. Take some chill pills. Whatever you do. you will never change the fact that this city was built for the schools!

    • ONe more thing…try posting your real name and not hide behind some “aghast at you” handle. At least be forthright and state who you are. I am not afraid of standing in here with my real name as posted.

      • Aghast AtYou

        Your real name is cpply? Tool!

        • No. My real name is Charles Plymire and I llive at 115 West Marshall St. in the City. Who are you? Calling me a tool weakens your position and shows me that you have no care for those who are burdened with these taxes. Furthermore, all of your snit comments reek of arrogance, elitism when you tell people “just move”…HOW DARE YOU! Many of us have been here for 20+ years and funded many rounds of children in the school system, etc. I was glad to do it, but now your types are asking for TOO MUCH. I have been here for nearly 25 years. When you treat fellow citizens with off the cuff remarks like you do, you strengthen my argument. Have a nice day.

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