Yes, it’s fun with numbers time again at the all-Republican Loudoun Board of Supervisors, who last week voted at a final budget work session to cut next year’s school budget by $35 million and then sent out a press release congratulating themselves on having increased the budget.
The funding the Board approved in fact does leave the schools with a $35 million shortfall from the $952 million that the School Board needs just to cover the costs of increased enrollment (an additional 2,400 students added to the rolls next year) and other non-optional expense increases (such as additional contributions required by the state to the retirement system).
The press release also failed to mention that three supervisors — Janet Clarke (R-Blue Ridge), Suzanne Volpe (R-Algonkian), and the ever-reliable Eugene Delgaudio (R-Sterling) — opposed even spending that much on the schools and were demanding further cuts.
And Supervisor Shawn Williams (R-Broad Run), once again ignoring the fact that Loudoun already has by far one of the lowest per-pupil expenditures of any Washington-area school district and the highest percentage of classroom-based employees (93.1 percent), repeated his favorite mendacious assertion that the “increase” will be “prioritized to go where it is needed most — for the teachers and in the classroom.”
The problem is that if you don’t give enough money to cover the non-negotiable increased costs, it will not be available for teachers and instruction, period. (The Supervisrs also had the chutzpah to offer their own helpful suggestions of how the Schools ought to allocate their “increase,” thereby directly intruding on the statutory role of the School Board in setting the school budget.)