Fairfax County Public Schools to hire 50 positions to support ESOL students

As students transition to in-person learning, a major focus for Fairfax County Public Schools is helping families in the Virginia county recover from coronavirus challenges, including non-English speaking students.

The Fairfax County School Board approved a $3.4 billion budget with a focus on helping students struggling with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Fairfax County is Virginia’s largest school system with more than 188,000 students. Among those students, more than 200 languages are spoken.

Of that budget, 86% will fund 50 new positions to support English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) students, and will pay for funding for technology specialists and 18 new social worker and psychologist positions.

“These specialist positions will help meet the needs of our many newer diverse students and to help bring trauma informed learning approaches so that children can achieve their academic success,” said school board member Melanie Meren.

The new budget, which begins July 1 will absorb technology support fees that were previously charged to families.

“One of the things I’ve been very concerned about is the impact these fees have on our families,” said school board member Megan McLaughlin.

The FY22 budget represents an increase of 0.5% from the FY21 budget. That excludes one-time allocations from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund. That fund helps address the impacts of COVID-19 on students.

The county and state provide 87.4% of the school division’s operating revenue, with the county contributing 64.3% and the state contributing 23.1%.

The new budget also includes a 2% salary boost for employees.

Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk started working at WTOP in 2016 and has lived in Howard County, Maryland, her entire life. She's thrilled to be a reporter for WTOP telling stories on air. She works as both a television and radio reporter in the Maryland and D.C. areas. 

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