News Bulletin: APS Makes Cuts To 2020-21 Budget

News Bulletin: APS Makes Cuts To 2020-21 Budget

Whitney Critchfield, Sentry Staff Reporter

Arlington Public Schools (APS) decided in late April to cut the budget for the 2020-2021 school year by $54 million as a way to offset expensive losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The school board has been meeting virtually to discuss the county’s economic changes and the future of APS in the wake of coronavirus. 

The major budget cuts imposed by Interim Superintendent Cintia Johnson were put in place due to funding cuts from the Arlington County government and the Virginia state government. In addition to the budget cuts, Johnson has also recommended increasing class sizes by one, enacting a temporary hiring freeze, furloughing staff without pay for one day and utilizing $14 million of APS reserve funds. A temporary hiring freeze would help APS save money by not having to pay the salaries of new staff and Superintendent Johnson also proposed reducing or cutting any planned salary increases. A furlough would be for all staff to have one day of unpaid leave. The furlough day is set towards the end of the 2020-21 school year so that it can be cancelled if the APS budget significantly recovers. 

Students will be affected by these budget cuts because the average cost per pupil is set to drop from $19,921 to $19,624. Since approximately 28,000 students are part of APS, this is a significant budget cut of about $8.3 million or $297 per student. 82.8% of the money APS spends on each student goes to schools, 3.7% to instructional supports, 8% to facilities and operations, 4.9% to management and support services, and 0.6% to leadership.