Fairfax County schools face $140 million shortfall

FALLS CHURCH, Va. (WJLA) - An increase in class sizes and a cutback in central office staff could be coming to Fairfax County Schools due to a major anticipated budget shortfall.

One of the most respected school systems in the United States is facing a deficit of more than $140 million, Fairfax County Schools Superintendent Karen Garza said in a letter to the community.

School officials say potential ideas to save money include central office staff reductions and increasing class sizes.

“We will need the best thinking of our employees, families, and community members to help us find solutions," Garza said in her letter.

Garza will take her budget to the school board on Monday with the projected shortfall, which would lead to possible cuts for the 2014-15 school year. District officials say that enrollment at the county's schools has risen sharply and revenues are struggling to keep up.

In Garza's message, which was posted to the district's website, she says that enrollment will likely jump by 2,800 students in 2014-15, adding an additional $25 million in costs.

Other impacts to the school system's budget include rising costs of health care, increased contributions to Virginia's retirement system and a loss in state revenue.

"It is a pressure on teachers and the students as well," said Fairfax County parent Susan Filz. "If they don't get the individual attention that they might need, the increased class size is another detriment."

Garza's proposed budget will not include any new programs or pay increases.