Fairfax County Public Schools opened the doors of its 198 schools and centers to over 181,000 students on Monday, Aug. 21, for the 2023–2024 school year. Superintendent Dr. Michelle C. Reid wrote in her message to FCPS families, "We are kicking off the new school year with FCPS’ new 2023–30 strategic plan. This student-centered plan focuses on ensuring excellence, equity, and opportunity for each and every student and serves as our North Star moving forward."
The Fairfax County School Board unanimously voted to adopt Fairfax County Public Schools’ Fiscal Year 2024 Approved Budget in May. It totaled $3.5 billion, a net increase of $221.7 million, or 6.7 percent, over the approved budget for FY 2023. Instruction receives nearly 86 percent of the approved budget, according to school board documents.
The Fairfax County Public School Office of Transportation Services is responsible for providing safe and efficient transportation to and from school activities for all eligible students on a daily basis. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, "the school bus is one of the safest vehicles on the road, with less than 1 percent of all traffic fatalities involving children on school transportation vehicles."
The division has one of the largest bus riderships in the country, reportedly transporting over 141,000 students each day on over 1,600 buses. The children and teens could be in danger as they walk or run to catch their bus. Unless separated from the bus by a median, all drivers must obey the law and stop in both directions for a stopped school bus. Passing a stopped school bus unloading children is considered reckless driving, which is a criminal offense.
On June 27 of this year, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved an agreement between the Fairfax County School Board and the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors relating to the installation and operation of a video monitoring system to enforce the law against passing stopped school buses. However, the division will not join other Virginia school systems with bus stop-arm cameras until 2024.
This year, students at Annandale, Davis Center, Falls Church, Justice, and Marshall will be able to enroll in the Free Student Bus Pass and Metrobus Program. This expanded program provides Fairfax Connector, Cue, and Metrobus access seven days a week from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. Students will be able to take approved routes. Visit the Fairfax Connector website for more information or complete the Permission Form.
Students can also enroll in the Free Student Bus Pass Program at any Fairfax County public high school or middle school and ride the Fairfax Connector for free. Signing up on the Permission Form requires parental or guardian approval. For more information on this program, go to the Fairfax Connector website.