The following is my column that will appear in the Mt. Vernon Gazette, The Mt. Vernon Voice and Patch in the week of February 24, 2014.
Schools, Medicaid at Issue in the State Budget
Last week, the initial skirmish over the state budget erupted in the Virginia legislature.The proposed House and Senate budgets are significantly different in how they address elementary-secondary education. Virginia provides about 23% of Fairfax County’s public school funding. The federal government pays about 5% and the remainder comes from Fairfax County, which is largely funded by real estate taxes. The only Northern Virginia County with lower real estate taxes is Arlington County.Aside from Mount Vernon Supervisor Gerry Hyland, most members of the County Board of Supervisors appear to be unwilling to raise taxes of any kind to come close to our neighboring jurisdictions and meet the Fairfax County Public Schools’ (FCPS) request for an increase of $98 million. Therefore, the state’s contribution is critical to enable FCPS pay teachers and staff competitive salaries.