FCPS budget takes a deep plunge for 2015

The Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) School Board is considering multiple options to address next year’s budget shortfall, and none of them are popular.

The recently proposed 2015 county budget reveals there will be a $140 million dollar shortfall for the 2015 school year. Last year the shortfall was $61 million dollars.  Officials are currently discussing their choices.

“At this point, everything is under consideration, but no decisions have been made.” Superintendent Karen Garza said. Class sizes could be increased, athletic fees could be reinstated, and positions such as counselors and technology specialist could be cut.

Class sizes might be increased by one student. This increase would save Fairfax County $19.5 million dollars. This budget cut would directly affect student and teachers. If this happened, student might have less one-on-one time with teachers.

“I wouldn’t like it [if they increased class sizes] because I feel that smaller class sizes gives more specialty to each individual student, therefore a better education overall,” sophomore Ryan Khan said.

A few years ago, students had to pay an athletic fee of $100 dollars, before they could play for any of the sports teams. The fee was taken away, but it could possibly be reinstated. The fee could scare away student from playing sports.

“It would make not want to play Robinson sports because I don’t want to pay more money for something I love at school, when I’m already paying for softball outside of school,” junior Alison McBride said.

Another fee that could be added would be the fee for the IB and AP tests. This fee would be $89 dollars for an AP test and $108 dollars per IB test and $157 dollars to get on the computer to take the IB test.

“I would be so mad. It would be such a pain to get an IB diploma. Teachers aren’t getting paid extra to teach IB, so why should I pay extra to take IB?” senior Lorenzo Mattesini said.

FCPS gets around 92 percent of its funding from the state and county level. This funding comes from the county and taxes. The other 8 percent of the funding comes from the federal level, through things such as the Federal Impact form.

FCPS makes about 3.5 billion dollars on taxes, so taxes constitute a significant amount of the budget. Real estate taxes make up 62 percent or $2.2 billion dollars of the tax revenue.

“One of the problems relating to taxes is in the last few years’ real estate prices have declined in Fairfax County so as a result, the county is receiving less real estate tax, which is a big percentage of our revenue for the county as a whole,” Aryan Bahrambeigi, Business and Technology Information teacher said.

Besides cutting and reducing programs, FCPS could ask the Board of Supervisors to give the school system more money. If the Board of Supervisors does that, taxes could increase, but fewer programs and jobs would be cut or reduced.

Possible budget changes will affect parents, students, and community members throughout the county. Students could see bigger class sizes or new fees instated.

“Having a shortfall in any organization is not a positive thing. I wish it didn’t exist,” Bahrambeigi said.