School Board Approves Final Budget Focused on High Academic Standards
The Final Approved Budget focuses on retaining skilled teachers and adding classroom supports to address growing enrollment and ensure high academic standards. It also focuses on expanding resources for facilities work, partner and business development, and community engagement.
“It is clear that our capacity needs outweigh the space we have in classrooms and the Final Budget targets that need. We will need to be even more creative and resourceful in the future to make sure our schools are able to continue to keep abreast of the increase in enrollment,” said School Board Chair Karen Graf.
Several additional teachers and classroom supports requested by principals to accommodate growing enrollment were inserted into the budget during the add/delete process.
“We are firm in our belief that a primary key to student success is having a high quality teacher, who is fully prepared to deliver an excellent education. The final budget directly supports our goal of achieving academic excellence and educational equity for all students,” said Superintendent Alvin L. Crawley.
This school year marks the first year that the ACPS student population has exceeded the seats available according to the Long Range Plan specifications for optimal learning environments. This school year, ACPS has 14,729 students enrolled, which is within 99.9 percent accuracy of projections.
Division-wide capacity based on the Long Range Plan is currently approximately 548 seats less than 2015-16 enrollment. This seating deficit is projected to increase further in school year 2016-17. Enrollment is projected to increase by 3.9 percent in FY 2016-17, taking ACPS to a total of 15,298 students. By FY 2026, ACPS is projected to have just under 19,000 students.
This increase in enrollment is already having an impact on 2016-17 kindergarten enrollment and some ACPS schools may be forced to carry out lottery procedures for student placement in the fall. This will be the first time in a number of years that ACPS has had to lottery students into schools and is a direct result of having more students than seats in certain schools.
The Final Budget includes additional funds to lease and retrofit office space to house a new elementary school in the West End, adding 700 seats for students. It also allocates funds to create a centralized preschool model in conjunction with city-wide partners to explore opportunities to provide a comprehensive network of services under one roof.
“We need to be mindful in the use of our community’s resources, while making progress on the pressing demands on our school division. This budget advances both. We look forward to working closely with the City Council, and our educational and business community to achieve our ACPS 2020 strategic goals,” said School Board Vice Chair Chris Lewis.