Fairfax Co’s proposed school budget would boost security, bring officers to elementary schools

Fairfax County Public Schools’ $3.5 billion budget for fiscal year 2024 includes funding for elementary school security, which will allow elementary school officers.

Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent Michelle Reed unveiled her proposed $3.5 billion budget for fiscal year 2024 Thursday night, which includes elementary school security funding and a 3% cost-of-living increase for all employees.

Reed’s proposed budget allocates $400,000 for “school safety and security officers” to increase security at elementary schools. Elementary schools in Virginia’s largest school system are currently out of school resources, a district spokeswoman said.

The district is budgeting for at least one officer to be assigned to elementary schools in each of the five regions to be what Reid called a “responsive officer.”

Reid said the plans are “the beginning of actually starting to provide adaptive lighting to our elementary schools by region.” Fairfax County also progress in providing each school with entrance lobbies.

Elementary school safety has been in the spotlight since the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uwald, Texas last spring.

Parent Matthew Shemp called on the district to take steps to improve safety at elementary schools.

“In Fairfax County, we seem to have adopted a strategy of hope. We hope that next time it will not be our school, but our children. Of course, resources are limited and the Fairfax County Police Department has many responsibilities, but as someone who has witnessed this kind of carnage in person, I’m here to tell you that hope is a bad plan.”

The proposed budget also includes $1 million for annual employee background checks. The district promised to make changes after a A Glasgow high school guidance counselor has remained on the job despite being convicted of molesting a minor and ordered to register as a sex offender.

Reid also earmarked $3.5 million for cybersecurity and $15 million for what the district calls an “equal access literacy plan,” which he said will focus on a science-of-reading approach to reading instruction.

The budget provides funding for high school cross country and track and includes a 3% market scale raise for all employees.

A school board meeting on the budget is scheduled for next week, and a public hearing is scheduled for January 23.

Additional information about the manager the proposed budget is available online.

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