1. Alison, dear and tireless community activist, thankyou for your reporting. The topic of fiscal accountability by our school board is very relevant still, since we have yet to see it. The departure of Dr. Jones is a good segue into a next chapter, but old habits die hard. These special programs strike me as a exclusive, not to mention expensive! Let’s see the data to prove their worth!!!

  2. I agree with the conclusion of this article 100%. The vast majority of the budget is spent on personnel and any and every budget conversation should include an analysis of how personnel are deployed.
    What are our explicit, measurable goals for the students in our community? How and where are we deploying personnel and to what what extent have these decisions contributed to our goals? What kinds of trade offs are we making and do we need to make to cover the costs of the things we want and need?
    I cannot, for the life of me, understand why our school board members are not asking these questions. Discussing parking fees, etc is an attempt to tweak around the edges and fails to address the real costs of educating our kids and the ROI of those costs.
    I would certainly expect an incoming superintendent to ask these questions either during the interview process or day 1 on the job.

  3. So FCCPS has released this chart on IB costs. It is a start but it does yet include the loaded rate (cost of benefits for which we pay) for the staff listed and it does not include any of the teaching staff associated with the program – required by the program. Also not on the list is the cost of teacher time over the last two years while they were required to re-write and align the curriculum. That labor cost, while paid for, is not free.


    Listing the staff would enable us to assess the trade-offs we might be making and so budget decisions can be informed. Such as do we relieve overcrowding in the 5th grade or do we service 6-8 students with a second year higher level chemistry class. Could they not just enroll in a NCC chemistry class if they are ready for college work? Obviously not that simple or a straight forward trade but decisions would be informed.

    1. Looks like this was put together to tell people that it doesn’t cost that much to have IB courses in the curriculum. Especially if you don’t include all the costs! No teacher costs are included and I don’t believe it is an online curriculum.

      What I would like to see is a list of all the classes at George Mason: which are general education, IB and AP and how many students are in each class. The data should be analyzed to see if it would impact 1) the number of teachers we need, 2) the number of physical space we need, 3) if it is feasible to continue offering multiple programs.

  4. The last Super told us many times that the school systems is a people business, that more than 80% of the costs to run the system are payroll related. But, we never hear any discussion about eliminating any positions – even admin staff. We never hear any discussion about eliminating one of the several “high achiever” programs concurrently offered (IB, Dual, AP…) to reduce the number or teachers and administrators needed in our system. What we do hear is the need for a new school for $ 110 Million. It seems like there is real disconnect about what people want and what they can realistically afford.

  5. I would totally support an audit of the schools. There are so many benefits to having a reputable company look for cost savings and improvements.

    It’s also a good idea to ask teachers and principals for their suggestions, without ramifications, where they would make changes.

    Lastly, I would recommend that the school district look at reducing administrative positions. They tend to be high paying jobs that do not improve educational outcomes. I was surprised to see the top heavy administrative staff for this little city: their own attorney, business partner position, communications, IT, etc. It really makes sense to share some of these departments with the city to create efficiencies, reduce duplication and ultimately save money.

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