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Joint Community Forum on FY2014 Budget

On Thursday, November 29 the County Manager and School Superintendent held a Joint Community Forum on the Fiscal Year 2014 budget.  The County expects a $49.2M budget shortfall for 2014, assuming tax revenue growth of only 1%.  The primary source of the shortfall is slow growth in tax revenues relative to growth in expenditures.  The County Board has provided guidance that the operating costs of new projects (Arlington Mill, ConnectArlington) and school enrollment growth be covered by tax revenue increases.  Half of remaining shortfall should be covered by tax revenue increases while the other half covered by spending cuts.  The guidance also calls for the county and schools to maintain the revenue sharing adopted in the 2013 budget (54.2% by the county, 45.8% by the schools).  Dr. Murphy mentioned several possible sources of cuts in the school budget: one-time employee payments, eliminating/outsourcing employee benefits, deferring maintenance/minor construction, reducing building custodians, reducing “overlay” staffing, increasing class size, and program adjustments or changes in level of service.  Break-out sessions were held for community members to give feedback on sources of revenue and potential spending cuts.  APS will be holding a forum for feedback specifically on the school budget on December 5 at the Education Center.  This is an opportunity to give input on spending cuts that will be considered in February’s budget.  More information about the budget will be posted at www.apsva.us/budget.