Arlington Public Schools Superintendent Pat Murphy has proposed a $520.4 million budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year that attempts to cope with skyrocketing student enrollment and nearly flat revenue growth.
Murphy was slated to unveil his budget to the Arlington School Board at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.
The budget does not increase class size. Overall, the school system is adding about 30 positions, though some existing employees will be shifted to other jobs and 16 custodian positions will be reduced through attrition.
The superintendent's budget proposes increasing fees for the Montessori and Extended Day programs by 5 percent. Meals would increase by 10 cents. Building rental and summer school fees are also slated to increase.
"There were no easy decisions here," Murphy told reporters Thursday morning. "Some of these changes, I wish we didn't have to make."
No programs will be eliminated, though a few are being tweaked in how the school system provides them — the teen parenting program, for instance, would move to the Arlington Career Center on Walter Reed Drive.
Under Murphy's budget, school employees would receive up to a 5 percent step increase in their salaries — a $7.2 million proposition. About $446,000 of that will be offset by state funds.
The spending plan would bolster funding for dropout prevention coordinators, create a full-time security coordinator position and make the residency verification specialist a full-time job.
Arlington Public Schools expects to add about 1,000 students to its roster each year for the foreseeable future. The school system is replacing 10 buses and by next year will add a total of six buses by the end of next year.
Nearly 80 percent of the schools' budget is funded by local tax revenue through Arlington County.
Murphy's budget proposes using a little more than half of a $15.3 million reserve fund to cover one-time costs next year.
That will leave the school system with about $7.1 million in one-time funding that can be used in the case of lost federal funds through sequestration or else carried forward for future budgets.
The school system will hold a number of work sessions and meeting before final budget adoption in May. A public hearing o the superintendent's budget will be March 21. A public hearing on the school board's proposed budget will be April 18.
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