Arlington: Minding the Budget Gap

Arlington: Minding the Budget Gap

Quick look at the Arlington County Schools budget.

Enrollment and cost per pupil since FY 2009

Enrollment and cost per pupil since FY 2009 Photo Contributed


Expenditures within the school operating budget.


Breakdown of school expenditures.

Arlington County has a revenue sharing agreement with the school system, where the schools automatically receive 46.5 percent of the local taxes revenue. For FY 2017, the County Manager Mark Schwartz set that number at $462.5 million, with an additional $2.4 million in one-time funding, totaling $464.9 million. Superintendent Dr. Patrick Murphy’s plans for FY 2017 assumes a $579.4 million budget, 80 percent of (463.5 million) which comes from the Arlington County transfer. However, before the County Board adopts its budget on April 16, either Murphy or Schwartz will need to find $1.9 million in their respective budgets to close that gap.

This year’s school budget is a $22 million (3 percent) increase over last year’s $557.3 million budget. According to Murphy, the core of the increase is $10.8 million to deal with ongoing student enrollment growth and $9.6 million for a step increase for eligible staff. Enrollment is expected to grow by 1,135 students to a total of 26,372 students. Since 2009, every two years the school faculty and staff have received step increases, including an increase in the FY 2015-2016 school year. The budget also includes a $2 million one-time payment to eligible employees not receiving a step increase or other adjustments for hourly employees.

$4.4 million is devoted to instructional/student support initiatives, and $3 million to rebuilding school infrastructure.

One of the smaller new expenses is $750,000 in funding for Arlington Tech, a new technical and engineering focused program at the Arlington Career Center.

The School Board now moves into the add/delete phase of the budget process, towards final approval by the board on May 5.