Superintendent Presents Proposed Budget for FY24
Frederick County Schools Superintendent Dr. George Hummer presented his proposed FY24 budget to the School Board during its meeting on February 7. The proposal includes initiatives to address the budget priorities adopted by the School Board in November 2022 and support the school division’s strategic plan “Inspire 2025: A Promise for Progress.” The Board’s budget priorities include:
- Instructional initiatives, professional learning, and necessary supports that inspire a collective responsibility for continuous growth, address student and employee needs, and are responsive to the voices of the school community.
- Compensation packages that enable the recruitment and retention of high-quality staff.
- Operational funding to address preservation of assets, replacement school buses, safety and environmental enhancements, and aging infrastructure. The proposed School Operating Fund budget totals $228.1 million. Dr. Hummer is seeking an additional $9.2 million in local funding from the Frederick County Board of Supervisors for the School Operating Fund which supports the day-to-day operations of the school division.
Dr. Hummer says, “Although I am new to Frederick County Public Schools, I have spent a great deal of time reviewing the School Board’s budget priorities as well as the work conducted by the budget committee prior to my arrival. The committee held many meetings with principals and department directors over the past several months to review and discuss the needs of the division. My proposal includes the needs that are of the highest priority. There are many other needs that will have to be assessed and addressed over time.”
The proposed budget includes a request for 21 new positions to address the division’s most pressing instructional needs and to provide additional mental health supports for students. The positions include two English language teachers, two middle school athletic trainers, one art teacher, one in-school assistance assistant, one parent liaison, one special services eligibility specialist, three behavior specialists, six behavior technicians and four school counselors.
Dr. Hummer says, “The new positions included in my proposed budget are necessary to enable us to adhere to the Virginia Standards of Quality and better serve our students and their families. Providing additional mental health supports for students was the top request from principals. The additional behavior specialists, behavior technicians and school counselors in my proposed budget will directly help to support students who have behavioral and mental health needs. These positions are not all that are needed, but they will help build upon what is currently in place and enable us to assist more students and ensure a positive, safe school environment for all students and staff.”
Dr. Hummer adds, “It is clear that Frederick County Public Schools is successful because of its high-quality teachers, staff and leaders. Being able to recruit and retain dedicated, highly-qualified staff is critical as we continue to deal with the challenges of the national teacher shortage and our proximity to larger school divisions who offer higher salaries. In an effort to help recruit and retain outstanding teachers and staff and recognize the increased cost of living that has impacted everyone, my proposed budget includes an average 6.8 percent salary increase for teachers with all other staff receiving an average 5 percent increase. As part of this initiative, the starting salary on the pay scales for school nutrition staff, custodians, instructional assistants, bus aides and administrative assistants will increase to 15 dollars per hour.”
The proposed budget also includes $230,000 to purchase two additional replacement school buses in the School Operating Fund; $24,000 to conduct a communications study to help determine ways to improve division communications with parents, students and staff; $7,500 to enhance employee recruiting efforts, and $30,000 to support teachers in getting the certifications needed to teach dual enrollment courses as well as maintenance technicians seeking plumbing, electrical and HVAC industry certifications.
Dr. Hummer’s budget proposal also requests an additional $8.5 million for the Capital Projects Fund in order to address some of the school division’s most critical facility maintenance needs. Projects scheduled to be funded through the Capital Projects Fund in FY24 include fire alarm replacements at the Dowell J. Howard Center as well as Apple Pie Ridge, Armel and Stonewall elementary schools; chiller/gas boiler and water heater replacements at the Dowell J. Howard Center as well as Bass-Hoover Elementary School and NREP at Senseny Road School; boiler replacements at Apple Pie Ridge and Stonewall elementary schools; a cooling tower replacement at Orchard View Elementary School; retrofit lighting at Apple Pie Ridge Elementary School and NREP at Senseny Road School; resurfacing the track at Sherando High School; resurfacing the tennis courts at Millbrook High School; replacing the stadium bleachers and restoration of track at James Wood Middle School; technology wiring renovations at Bass- Hoover and Middletown elementary schools; and building automation repairs at various school sites.
Dr. Hummer says, “As we go through the budget process over the next few months, I encourage members of the community to get informed and get involved. I am interested in receiving feedback on my proposal and plan to schedule some town hall meetings so school staff and members of the community will have the opportunity to gather additional information and pose questions about my proposed budget.”
Information on the Superintendent’s Proposed Budget for FY24 is available at www.FrederickCountySchoolsVA.net. Information about Inspire 2025: A Promise for Progress is available at www.inspire2025.net.