Friday, February 12, 2010

More School Cuts Are Coming

Governor McDonnell recently announced that he would support the rebenchmarking of the Local Composite Index. This will restore about $61 million of Fairfax County education funding. This still has to be agreed to by the House and Senate.

However, the Governor has also refused to support any revenue adjustments so there are another $2 billion in cuts that need to happen. People have started to ask me what that means for Fairfax County. The budget is a fluid document and these things are hard to calculate. Additionally, when you are in the minority party in a Chamber, it is hard to get good information.

Here's an idea of how you can start to get at the numbers. Governor Kaine's Budget says the State and Fairfax County are budgeted for the following Direct Aid to Public Education:

YearCommonwealthFairfax County
2012$5,777,515,603 $504,898,114

The Washington Post is reporting that the McDonnell Administration is discussing a $700,000,000 cut to K-12 Education. If this cut were only to Direct Aid to Public Education, this would equate to about 6% cut ($700M/$11.6B). A 6% cut to Fairfax County's funds would be $26 million per year, $150 per Fairfax County student per year. My guess is that we are heading for at least $20 million or losing about a third of what Governor McDonnell just proposed to restore in by changing the LCI rebenchmarking decision.

On the other hand, these cuts will be much more significant to other jurisdictions that are more dependent upon state funding for their local education. When these cuts hit, the rest of the state is going to be looking at cuts similar to what Fairfax County has been talking about for the last three months.

We will see the final numbers in about one week. These budget cuts are significant, unprecedented, and very serious business.

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