Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Budget Me This

Several of the Board members of Friends of the Reston Regional Library attended and participated in the Community Dialogue on Budget for FY2011 that was held at the library last Saturday, October 24. After presentations by the County Budget office and the Schools counterpart, we broke into smallish groups to work out what each group believed the priorities should/ought to be. A shout out to Hunter Mill FCPL Board Trustee Stephanie Abbott, who attended and represented library interests in one of the small groups. Other Friends board members and friends who were there: Rik, Charly, Pam, Jen, Kelley, Mike S and Lindy. Our branch manager, Andrew Pendergrass, also stayed in the room and participated in one of the small groups.

Many of the people attending were anxious parents who had heard that the Language immersion programs are on the table for cutting back. The representative from the Schools budget office confirmed that everything is on the table right now, which is why these meetings are so important.

One handout was a pie chart that showed the percentages of funds allocated last year to various parts of the county budget.

Library/Parks/Recreation are all one category. The total they shared was 2.2% -- remember, that's SHARED, not each.

To provide contrast:

53.8% Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS)
13.0% Public Safety
10.5% Health & Welfare

The back of that handout had an overview from FCPS. Some highlighted statistics:

73.8% of FCPS funding comes from Fairfax County
19% of FCPS funding comes from the State
The FY2009 cost per pupil was $13,340. In FY 2010 this was cut to $12,898.

In the small groups, we were asked to answer two questions.
1. Based on your experience, which FY 2010 budget decisions were a) most acceptable and b) least acceptable?
2. Budgeting requires a balance of priorities based on what community members value about Fairfax County. Considering what you heard as part of your group's discussion in question 1, discuss strategies, and, as a group, recommend a framework and rationale for balancing the FY2011 budget that addresses group priorities.

Some strategies were also suggested on the page. More on that another day.

Our question to you is: what impact did you see/feel/experience as a result of FY2010's budget cutbacks? In the schools? Libraries? Parks? Recreation? Public Safety? Judicial Administration? Other? Comment here or e-mail us via the link.

Talk to us! If you would like a copy of the handouts e-mailed to you in a PDF, please use the talk to us link to ask for them.


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