Red Apple Mom

April 12, 2011

Hooray Hooray for FDK & … an FCPS Audit?

The Board of Supervisors pulled an interesting play today by approving the following “independent auditor” amendment proposed by Supervisor Pat Herrity:

The Board of Supervisors encourages the Fairfax County School Board

to establish an independent auditor position that would report directly

to the School Board.  The Board of Supervisors has had an

independent auditor since the 1990s and their work has saved millions of

taxpayer dollars and resulted in more efficient delivery of services.

Fairfax County Board of Supervisors

An independent auditor for Fairfax County Public Schools? When can they start?! If the bi-partisan Board of Supervisors could agree on this common-sense idea, then certainly our School Board can too.  Let’s find out where that $2.2 Billion FCPS budget really goes!

Full-Day Kindergarten advocates should be happy too.  The Board of Supervisors forked over about half of the money needed to complete the FDK roll-out that FCPS never finished – mostly in the form of telling FCPS where to find the money in FCPS’ own budget.

Where is it coming from?

  • There’s $500,000 savings in the county-run SACC (school age child care) program.  This year’s half-day kindergarteners will be next year’s full-day kindergarteners who won’t need afternoon day care – so bingo – there’s 500K in immediate savings.
  • There’s also $641,904 in Cox Cable funding that Supervisors are telling the School Board they can put towards FDK instead.  This may mean the end to a majority of the useless programming that nobody watches on FCPS’ Red Apple Channel 21. One could argue that School Board meetings probably get a decent audience share.  But if you’ve seen the amateur FCPS “talk shows” hosted by FCPS administrators who just love to see themselves on television, then you’ll agree that money is waaaaaayyyyy better spent on educating kindergartners.  It would be most embarrassing if the School Board turns down this idea!
  • Supervisors also identified another $1.9 million in funding for the School Nurse Health Program that they will permit FCPS to use for FDK.  It will be interesting to see how this idea sits with School Board members.  It’s kind of like your rich old uncle giving you a wad of cash for your birthday and telling you to buy a present for your brother or sister with it.  It really isn’t a gift is it?  That’s how I feel about this proposal.  

If using this money for FDK means we lose even more school nurses, then it’s a no-go in my book.  In recent years, school nurses have already taken a large hit as a result of budget cuts. As it stands, there is only one school nurse for every 3000 FCPS students.  FCPS should find the funds for FDK elsewhere instead.

The budget battle now turns to the School Board.  How and where will they come up with the remaining funds for FDK?  How and where will they come up with the funds for the employee raises they’ve promised?  This could be a bumpy ride.

Related Articles:

Fairfax Eyes Cutting School Health Services to Fund Full-Day Kindergarten (The Washington Examiner, 4.2.11)

Fairfax County Budget Increases Fees, Cuts Spending Slighting (The Washington Post 4.12.11)

County Sets Real Estate Tax Rate at $1.07 (The Fairfax County Times 4.12.11)

Fairfax Supervisors Won’t Support Teacher Raises (The Washington Examiner 10.24.10)

© Catherine Lorenze and Red Apple Mom, 2001. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Catherine Lorenze and Red Apple Mom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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3 Comments

  1. Thanks so much for the information in this post. Here is an article about School Nurse Shortage from Parenting.com that I found interesting. http://www.parenting.com/article/school-nurse-shortage?page=0,1
    I would love to see FDK and more School Nurses.
    FCPS Parent.

    Comment by rshepherd8 — April 13, 2011 @ 8:50 am

  2. With all due respect, I am not sure how much savings you will get out of SACC. Plenty of SACC kids are in morning kindergarten, and the full day could actually encourage more stay-at-home parents to seek employment (and make SACC more worth it). Does the $500,000 savings take this into account?

    Comment by isophorone — April 13, 2011 @ 1:18 pm

    • You are correct it isn’t much, but it is something – so thank you Supervisors!

      Since SACC is a county-run program, the Board of Supervisors agreed to give those funds to FCPS for full day kindergarten as a direct payment in the transfer since next year’s half-day kindergartners will no longer need SACC (School Aged Child Care).

      Then the Supervisors “showed” FCPS where they could find additional savings – some 700K that comes from Cox Cable grants that FCPS currently uses for TV production.

      Supervisor John Foust – Dranesville – emailed me back yesterday when I asked for clarification about the school nurses. He told me the BOS also funds the school nurses at a cost much greater than $3.9 million. The county could have kept all this money and applied it to the existing school nurse costs. Instead, Supervisor Foust said the county is using half of that money to add 12 school nurses and spending $630,000 to fund support for medically fragile students. The county is letting the schools use the other half to help pay for FDK.

      So now FCPS has to come up with the remaining funds – if they want to follow through with the community’s desires for full implementation of FKD this coming year.

      Comment by Red Apple Mom — April 14, 2011 @ 11:03 am


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