- Myth Busters
Below are questions regarding current topics of discussion; please click on the question or myth to view the answer.
The school division’s Technology Master Plan is NOT funded by the operating budget. It is funded by the Capital Improvements Plan, which CANNOT be used for the operating budget.
The $10-plus million is not being spent in one year; it will be spent over a five-year period.
The school division is legally required to have a technology plan.
The current CCPS plan incorporates (1) the integration of technology in a manner that allows for appropriate use to ensure that meaningful learning takes place for each student; (2) professional development as a critical element for student success as it directly affects what teachers know and are able to do; (3) connectivity of infrastructure, hardware, and software that serve as the backbone of the system that allows integration to occur; (4) evaluation of the technology system for effectiveness.
The proposed technology plan serves as a vehicle to empower all learners to execute the instructional objectives of the school division as defined by the curriculum and the Design for Excellence strategic plan. It is not one department’s plan but a collective initiative to be incorporated into every school’s actions for school improvement. The technology plan sets levels of expectation not only for equipment and infrastructure but also for student learning, instructional delivery and school leadership.
Myth: There is too much fat in the budget.
Fact: Chesterfield’s per-pupil costs are among the lowest in the state.
Did you know? A 2008 analysis by the Auditor of Public Accounts showed that Chesterfield ranked 102nd out of 134 Virginia school systems in per-pupil costs. According to the same audit, Chesterfield had the lowest per-pupil expenditure of the 15 localities in Virginia with a population of 100,000 or more.
Fact: Chesterfield County Public Schools’ administrative costs are less than 3 percent of the school division’s operating budget.
Did you know? The school division’s administrative costs are less than the state average of approximately 4 percent. A 2008 analysis by the Auditor of Public Accounts showed that Chesterfield ranked 107 out of 134 Virginia school divisions in terms of administrative costs. Not only are CCPS costs lower than state average, they are substantially lower than the business community. The average mid-size business’ administrative costs are 12-15 percent.
Myth: The school division is not being efficient with its use of taxpayer dollars.
Fact: Not only does the school division have one of the lowest per-pupil expenditures in the state, but it also has received recognition for the substantial academic achievement and progress made while being frugal with funding.
Did you know? Standard & Poor’s compared reading and math proficiency with money spent and determined that Chesterfield schools are extremely effective. Chesterfield ranks third in return on spending among Virginia’s 15 largest school systems.
Myth: Local and state governments have not chipped in to meet educational needs.
Fact: The school division has received adequate funding for public education during the past 10 years that has helped CCPS meet state and national mandates.
Did you know? The most notable change in education during the last 10 years has been the Elementary and Secondary Education and No Child Left Behind acts. State leaders should be commended for fulfilling their commitment to education, with an investment over the last 10 years in helping Virginia’s public school system’s meet the state and federal requirements of NCLB. As a result of this commitment to meeting applicable benchmarks, state spending on public education in Virginia has increased during the last 10 years. During that same timeframe, Virginia’s ranking as a state that provides quality educational experiences has continued to move toward the top. The requirements of No Child Left Behind have not been scaled back. In fact, the requirements continue to increase.
- The starting point for Annual Measurable Objective for reading and language arts was 60.7 percent in 2001-02; the AMO for reading and language arts in 2009-10 is 85 percent. That is a 40 percent increase in less than a decade. This type of sustained growth in academic achievement requires additional resources. Remember the closer students get, the harder that gap is to close.
- The starting point for Annual Measurable Objective for math was 58.4 percent in 2001-02; the AMO for reading and language arts in 2009-10 is 83 percent. That is a 42 percent increase in less than a decade. This type of sustained growth in academic achievement requires additional resources.
Myth: The school division spends money without a plan.
Fact: The school division’s expenditures are in line with the Design for Excellence strategic plan.
Did you know? Since 2000, Chesterfield County Public Schools’ student enrollment has grown by more than 8,505 students. That means we have 17 percent more students than we did in 2000. It would be an incomplete equation to just compare just funding-level increases and student growth. In addition to using funding to meet increasing student achievement benchmarks, the funding from state and local governments has been wisely invested in other areas:
- To accommodate the growth referenced above, we have opened six new schools since 2000: Cosby and Matoaca high schools, Tomahawk Creek and Elizabeth Davis middle schools, and Winterpock and Elizabeth Scott Elementary schools. There are new operational and human resources costs each time you open a new school.
- Chesterfield County Public Schools attracts and retains highly qualified teachers and staff. As a result of this staff, CCPS is the largest school division to have been fully accredited for two straight years, made Adequate Yearly Progress as a division for the third straight year and continues to have state-mandated test scores that are higher than the state average.
Myth: The school division spends every penny it is allocated.
Fact: The school division returns unspent allocations to the county.
Did you know? The school division returned approximately $8 million in unspent FY2009 funds and more than $5 million in unspent FY2008 funds. This funding remains in the county’s reserve coffers. School division leaders are hopeful the county will allow CCPS to use this previously allocated but returned unspent funding on one-time expenses in the FY2011 operating budget.
Myth: Chesterfield County Public Schools’ workforce has increased for no strategic reason.
Fact: The school division’s workforce increased by 585.8 positions from FY2005-10.
Did you know? Of that total, 367 positions were added to accommodate student growth and 219 positions were added to support student achievement and increasing state/federal benchmarks.
Myth: The school division is not accountable for its operations.
Fact: The school division has undergone several audits recently designed to ensure efficiency and effectiveness in its operations.
Did you know? Results from curriculum management and communication audits completed during the past two years are on the school division’s web site for review. In addition, the school division also is undergoing an efficiency review as part of a state-led initiative to ensure taxpayer dollars are put to best use. An independent auditing firm – MGT of America – is preparing a final report for the school division that will be released within the next two months.
Fact: The only locally generated revenue stream the school division receives from is the property tax.
Did you know? The percentage of property tax revenue used to fund public education in Chesterfield has decreased consistently during the past 10 years – from 70 percent in the FY2000 operating budget to approximately 59 percent in the FY2011 operating budget.
Fact: Chesterfield County Public Schools is one of the most transparent organizations in the county. The school division’s efforts to inform citizens of its fiscal efficiency and effectiveness are being copied by other school divisions in Virginia.
Did you know? Modeling and enhancing its efforts to share budget-related information with citizens, the school division has
- Participated with county leaders in a series of community budget engagement sessions.
- Hosted meetings with parent, business and faith leaders.
- Sought input from internal and external stakeholders on the budget process.
- Posted its FY2010 expenses by category online for the public to review.
- Created this MythBusters document to provide timely, accurate information; this product is now being modeled by other school divisions in Virginia, Maryland and West Virginia.
Myth: CCPS administrators received a salary increase during FY2010.
Fact: No CCPS administrator, including the Superintendent, received a salary increase unless he/she received a promotion within the division.
Did you know? During budget deliberations last year, a furlough for employees was proposed when the budget gap was $52 million. Administrators would have taken a five-day furlough; all other employees would have received a two-day furlough.
Myth: With all of this talk about budget deficits, the county needs to strive to have a balanced budget.
Fact: The school division does have a balanced budget.
Did you know? State law requires the school division end each year with a balanced budget. As noted in an above myth, the school division has returned more than $13 million in unspent allocated funds during the two most recently completed fiscal years.
Myth: There are no opportunities for engagement with staff/community on budget-related concerns.
Fact: There are multiple venues for communication.
Did you know? In addition to a survey that was distributed to staff in January, there are other opportunities to communicate with the Superintendent and/or School Board
Did you know? The school division’s Technology Master Plan, which is required by the state, is NOT funded by the operating budget. It is funded by the Capital Improvements Plan, which CANNOT be used to cover costs in the operating budget. The $10-plus million being spent during the next five years on the Technology Master Plan is not being spent in one year.
Myth: Chesterfield County Public Schools is the same school division it was 5-10 years ago.
Fact: The face of Chesterfield County Public Schools is changing.
Did you know? Students are entering our schools with different skills sets and knowledge bases, yet we are required to bring them all of to the same level of proficiency and beyond.
- Five years ago, our free and reduced lunch rate was 20.68 percent. Today it is higher than 27 percent.
- Five years ago, the number of limited English proficient students served was 1,439. Today it is more than 2,100.
- Our special education population has grown during the past 10 years ago as well, with a variety of Individualized Education Plans in place with different mandated requirements for each.
- Our gifted populations have grown during the past 10 years as well.