The Loudoun County school system has unveiled its spending plan for the upcoming 2021 fiscal year.
At a school board meeting on Thursday, Loudoun County Public Schools Superintendent Eric Williams said his budget proposal is $1.395 billion, representing about a 9% increase from the current budget.
Williams requested a $94.1 million increase in funds from the county, with the rest coming from an anticipated increase in state funding.
“Students only get one shot at a K-12 education so adopting a budget that meets our students’ needs is key,” said Williams.
Williams said $32 million is needed to handle enrollment growth, maintaining current class sizes and services for students.
The school system anticipates having about 85,755 students next school year, an increase of more than 1,500.
“This is the money we need because we’ve got more students coming,” Williams said.
The school system’s staff is expected to grow to 12,320 employees, which is an increase of 530.
Williams called for $54.3 million to improve salaries and benefits, saying his plan would provide salary step increases averaging 2.2% to all eligible employees.
“We’ve had multiple years of significant investments in teacher salaries but it is no reason to sit back and rest on our laurels,” he said. “One of the most important things we need to do is to seek to have excellent teachers, and compensation is an important part of that.”
More than $25 million would be spent on enhancements, such as better school security systems and increased staffing for special education programs.
The school board has budget work sessions planned throughout January and is expected to approve the budget in early February. After that, the board will need to work alongside the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, which will ultimately determine how much money the school system receives.
“Our next five weeks of intense work is incredibly important,” said Williams.
Members of the public can comment during school board meetings Jan. 14 and 28 and Feb. 4.
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