FCPS Seeks 2% and 6% Pay Hikes

FCPS Seeks 2% and 6% Pay Hikes

Could county taxpayers shoulder a quarter billion dollars in school raises?

It would be unusual for someone in Fairfax County to argue that the public school system should not provide excellence in education and competitive compensation, which are two of the division's most pressing needs, according to the FCPS FY 2025 Proposed Budget. However, county taxpayers will likely face higher real estate taxes; a 4-cent real estate tax increase is proposed in Fairfax County’s FY 2025 Advertised Budget presented by the county executive on Feb. 20, 2024. The Board of Supervisors will set the tax rate.

Only so many tax dollars and other revenue sources are available to fund county and public school needs. The county’s budget fund limitations may force leadership at Fairfax County Public Schools to consider alternatives and their consequences, such as achieving competitive pay scales focusing on greater equity.

 Already, high-end leadership pay could be limited, particularly since the superintendent has the authority to set pay with the supervisors’ final approval. Continued growth for the top percentages leaves fewer gains for lower-level school employees and widens the gap between high and low earners.

On March 5, the Board of Supervisors advertises the tax rate, and on April 16-18, holds public hearings on the budget. 

The Fairfax County Public Schools Fiscal Year (FY) 2025 Advertised Budget, adopted by the school board in February, emphasizes providing “competitive compensation and excellence in education.” Compared to the FY 2024 approved budget the school board adopted nearly a year ago in May of 2023, Dr. Michelle C. Reid, division superintendent, is requesting a 6 percent “compensation adjustment” and a 2 percent “required adjustment compensation supplement” for all employees, herself included, in the Budget. The Board of Supervisors will adopt the county budget, tax rates and transfer to FCPS on May 7, with fiscal year 2025 starting on July 1, 2024.

The Executive Summary of the public school system’s Budget includes a Message from the Superintendent. In it, Reid requested $170.7 million to give all division employees the 6 percent pay raise. Reid also requested an additional $55.3 million to fund the recurring cost of the 2 percent raise for all FCPS employees effective January 1, 2024, ending on June 30. 2024. The 2 percent raise in place now results from the Virginia General Assembly’s final budget adopted on Sept. 14, 2023.

Virginia lawmakers belatedly passed the state's fiscal year 2024 budget agreement on Sept. 6, 2023, slightly more than two months late. Virginia's fiscal year 2024 began on July 1, 2023, and runs to June 30, 2024. Gov. Glenn Youngkin signed the state’s budget on Sept. 14, 2023. The Virginia State Budget FY 2024 included an additional $645 million to state public schools and gave a 2 percent raise on top of the 5 percent raise last year. In the News Release from the Office of the Governor, Youngkin discussed putting politics aside, focusing on "common-sense solutions," and committing to students and teachers. 

On Oct. 26, 2023, the Fairfax County School Board approved the Fiscal Year 2024 Revised Budget, which included the state’s 2 percent compensation increase. All division employees saw the increase on their January 2024 pay stubs. The 2 percent increase expires on June 30, 2024, according to Virginia's FY 2024 budget.

Reid's proposed FY 2025 6 percent compensation adjustment and the 2 percent compensation supplement for all FCPS employees results in an 8 percent increase over what employees earned on their last paycheck in December 2023. Fairfax County Public Schools is one of Virginia's largest employers, with an estimated 25,175 full-time workers.