Alexandria City Public Schools is entering a tricky budget season.
As student enrollment and expenditure increases outpace revenue, ACPS faces a $12 million deficit in the run up to the fiscal year 2024 budget, according to a budget presentation to the School Board on Thursday, September 22.
“Over the previous decade, student enrollment and expenditures have increased at a far quicker pace than the corresponding revenue has grown,” ACPS said in a staff report. “ACPS Staff analysis shows that this trend will continue into the future, requiring a combination of revenue enhancements and expenditure reductions to balance a projected budget gap.”
For FY 2024, the projected budget deficit is $12.05 million. Each year, as expenditures outpace revenues, the estimated budget gap will continue to expand. By FY 2028, the annual funding deficit projection grows to $37.83 million, according to ACPS.
Still, the school system is proposing a 2.64% step increase and 2.5% market rate adjustment for all staff. Healthcare costs are projected to increase 8% and dental care costs will increase 2%.
“We assume that we’ll get the same per-people dollar amount at both the state and city level (as approved the FY 2023 budget),” ACPS Chief Financial Officer Dominic Turner told the School Board.
There are 15,700 students at ACPS at this time, according to interim Superintendent Melanie Kay-Wyatt. That’s about 100 students more than was forecasted in January, and some parents are concerned that elementary school class sizes are getting too big. Last spring, the school system adjusted the caps on elementary school class sizes by an increase of two seats so that kindergarten classes now have 24 students, first and second grades are capped at 26, and grades three to five have 28 students — still below maximum state standards.
Jenica Patterson, the PTA president at Patrick Henry Elementary School, told the School Board that the school is contending with 950 students — about 65 more than what was projected.
“The discrepancy in teacher-to-student ratios among ACPS elementary schools is a major barrier to learning.,” Patterson said. “Teachers are simply managing the large, crowded classrooms instead of dedicating their time to education and learning.”
Kay-Wyatt said that the community has grown over the years, and that ACPS is experiencing a teacher and bus driver shortage.
“It’s very hard right now,” Kay-Wyatt said. “The HR staff is out recruiting, they continue their recruitment efforts. I also want that to be known that we never stop recruiting, and we still have a shortage.”
Next month there will be several budget-related work sessions and meetings:
Alexandria City Public Schools expects its interim superintendent to serve for the entire 2022-2023 school year, according to a new job listing for the position.
“It is anticipated that this opportunity could last for the entirety of SY22-23,” ACPS said on the job listing, which was posted on Thursday (June 30). “The Interim Superintendent will report to and work in partnership with the Alexandria City School Board to carry out the vision and strategic goals of the division to ensure the success of students, employees, and the overall school community while the search for the permanent superintendent is underway.”
ACPS asked for community input on the superintendent selection earlier this week, with the goal of filling the job by July 28.
The interim superintendent’s contract would last “Up to six months or until a permanent superintendent is in place,” ACPS said.
Superintendent Gregory Hutchings, Jr.’s resignation goes into effect at the end of August, and the interim superintendent will be chosen by July 28.
Hutchings was hired in 2017, following a one-year stint by former interim Superintendent Lois Berlin, the former superintendent of Falls Church City Public Schools.
ACPS posted than 70 positions to its career site last month, including principal jobs at George Washington Middle School and Samuel W. Tucker Elementary School, media relations specialists, school security officers, teachers, counselors and bus drivers.
— Alexandria City Public Schools (@ACPSk12) June 30, 2022
The full interim superintendent job description below the jump.
Recruiting started in September for the new 81,300 square-foot space at 150 Stovall Street. The store is part of the massive mixed-use Carlyle Crossing development, and will employ upward of 450 employees.
“Hiring and training are well underway, and we’re looking for more enthusiastic candidates to round out our team before opening day,” said store manager Mike Anthony. “We’re thrilled to begin the countdown to May 11 when we can welcome the Alexandria community through our doors.”
Alexandria teen shot to death in D.C. — “According to a news release from D.C. police, officers responded to reports of a shooting in the unit block of Chesapeake Street in Southeast D.C. around 8:09 p.m., where they located Francis suffering from multiple gunshot wounds in a parked car.” [Alex Times]
Alexandria Schools start ‘Test to Stay’ program — “The new program will allow some students to return to school following five days of quarantine under a variety of conditions.” [Alexandria Living]
8 new and must-do black history experiences in Alexandria — “From a self-taught mathematician who mapped out the nation’s capital to abolitionist sisters who partnered with Frederick Douglass to the first Black player in the NBA, African American changemakers have shaped the history of Alexandria, VA and the United States.” [Visit Alexandria]
BoomChicky, ALX Pizza join Bee Street Eats — “The Beeliner Diner is open for take-out and delivery with a limited menu — but while eager diners await a full opening, there are more treats to try.” [Alexandria Living]
New job: Government relations manager — “The Vision Council (TVC) seeks an individual to lead the association’s advocacy to state and federal policymakers on issues importance to the optical industry and our members.” [Indeed]
Today’s weather: “Occasional light rain. High 64F. Winds S at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 70%… Considerable cloudiness. Occasional rain showers later at night. Low 62F. Winds SSW at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 40%.” [Weather.com]
The City of Alexandria is launching a new program to connect businesses with locals looking for work experience.
Alexandria’s Workforce Development Center (WDC) is hosting a “Work-based learning” program that will connect pre-screened candidates looking for job experience with various businesses around Alexandria. The program is scheduled to start on Monday, Jan. 3.
“Companies can save time and money by investing in local talent and identifying and recruiting future employees,” the WDC said in a press release. “Companies benefit from increased brand awareness and their status as locally preferred employers thanks to the relationships they develop with local talent and the Alexandria community. Our Workforce Development staff assist by prescreening qualified candidates, case management, and matching employers with local talent who are interested and have related technical and soft skills, and serving as the primary point of contact at our Workforce Development Center.”
Work-based learning programs are typically apprenticeships or internships, and the WDC said it’s a way of applying academic and technical skills to increase employability.
“It also serves as an opportunity for employers to be able to hire talent after the WBL experience,” the WDC said. “By matching talent with workplace mentors and positive employment through WBL, participants receive a positive and rich work experience.”
A veritable who’s who in Alexandria will interview the final candidates looking to succeed retiring City Manager Mark Jinks.
On Tuesday night, City Council approved the formation of three advisory committees that will interview the final candidates selected after a five-month-long national search.
“We appreciate all the folks from both staff and and from the community who have been willing to step up and help us advise us through this process,” Mayor Justin Wilson said.
The city manager is the highest-ranked public employee in Alexandria, and makes more than $250,000 a year.
Council unanimously approved the formation of a stakeholder (citizen) committee, with two representatives chosen by each Council member, and two employee committees, the latter two made up of rank and file city staff and leadership.
Councilman Canek Aguirre said that there is no Latino representation in the committees.
“Our city is 18% Latino, and yet with the two employee committees, there’s virtually no Latino representation,” Aguirre said. “I know that we have Latino staff here in the city. So, I just want to bring that to the attention of my colleagues, and I know (there is) some work that we have to do in that area.”
The interview process for candidates will conclude this month and a new city manager will soon after be announced, according to the city. City Council contracted with talent acquisition firm POLIHIRE to find candidates after Jinks announced his intent to retire in June, and the new manager is expected to begin work in December/January.
Members of the Ad Hoc Committees and the Council member who chose them are below.
- Agnes Artemel – (Councilmember Pepper)
- Jennifer Atkins – (Councilmember Chapman)
- Kevin Harris – (Vice Mayor Bennett-Parker)
- Matt Harris – (Councilmember Seifeldein)
- Nishita Henry – (Councilmember Jackson)
- Matt Keough – (Councilmember Jackson)
- Merrick Malone – (Councilmember Chapman)
- Nicole McGrew – (Vice Mayor Bennett-Parker)
- Michelle Millben – (Mayor Wilson)
- Ericka Miller – (Mayor Wilson)
- Mindy Lyle – (Councilmember Pepper)
- Ingris Moran – (Councilmember Aguirre)
- Honorable Joe Sestak – (Councilmember Seifeldein)
- Antonio Tamariz – (Councilmember Aguirre)
- Rick Aslanian, Department of Transportation & Environmental Services (T&ES)
- Carrie Beach, Planning & Zoning Department (P&Z)
- Shawn Brown, Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities (RPCA)
- Allyson Coleman, Department of Human and Community Services (DCHS)
- Kadira Coley, Department of Finance/Retirement
- Audrey Davis, Office of Historic Alexandria (OHA)
- Capt. Patrick Evans, Alexandria Fire Department (AFD)
- Barbara Farrington, Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities (RPCA)
- Kevin Greenlief, Department of Finance/Revenue
- Brian Hricik, Alexandria Fire Department (AFD)
- Travis MacRae, City Attorney’s Office
- David Miller, Office of Human Rights
- Sgt. Charlette Mitchell, Alexandria Police Department (APD)
- Tarrence Moorer, Department of Transportation & Environmental Services (T&ES)
- Dr. Grace Page, Department of Human Resources/Wellness (DHR)
- Marvin Paz, Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities (RPCA)
- Rebecca Pica, Department of Information Technology Services (ITS)
- Emily Poly, Office of Management and Budget (OMB)
- Keia Waters, City Clerk’s Office
- Dana Wedeles, City Manager’s Office (CMO)
- Arthur Wicks, Office of Management and Budget (OMB)
- Liz Williams, Office of Historic Alexandria/Gadsby’s Tavern (OHA)
- Matt Wise, Department of General Services (DGS)
- Joanna Anderson, City Attorney
- Rose Dawson, Director, Libraries
- Pamela Dudoff, Organizational Effectiveness Consultant, Office of Organizational Excellence (OOE)
- Kate Garvey, Director, DCHS
- Renee Gordon, Director, Department of Emergency and Customer Communications
- Dr. Alicia Hart, ACPS
- Don Hayes, Acting Chief, Alexandria Police Department
- Jen Jenkins, Acting Director/CHRO, Department of Human Resources (DHR)
- Yon Lambert, Director, T&ES
- Dana Lawhorne, Sheriff
- David Lord, Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney
- Helen McIlvaine, Director, Office of Housing
- Karl Moritz, Director, Planning and Zoning
- Greg Parks, Clerk of the Court
- Vanetta Pledger, Director/CIO, Department of Information Technology Services
- Gloria Sitton, City Clerk
- Corey Smedley, Chief, Alexandria Fire Department
- Jim Spengler, Director, RPCA and OOE
- Terry Suehr, Director, Department of Project Implementation (DPI)
Alexandria political cartoonist shifts to radio — “Following a 30-year political cartooning career, Steve Artley has transitioned his satirical prowess to another form: radio.” [Artley Cartoons]
National Industries for the Blind awarded $8.9 million contract — “National Industries for the Blind, Alexandria, Virginia, has been awarded a maximum $8,898,968 modification exercising the third one-year option period of a one-year base contract with four one-year option periods for moisture wicking t-shirts.” [Defense Daily]
Alexandria Times reviews local cappuccinos — “That’s why, for this edition of the Alexandria Times’ Port City Flavor section, I thought I would embark on a caffeine-infused adventure to compare cappuccinos at three of Alexandria’s most beloved coffee shops. I chose to stick to cappuccinos because I have a soft spot for them and honestly, who doesn’t enjoy a good cappuccino?” [Alexandria Times]
National Society of Professional Engineers looking for advocacy manager — “Initiate and lead NSPE Advocacy programs, overseeing all federal, state, and PAC activities and supervise Policy Associate with final approval from Senior Director.” [Roll Call]
River Farm gets taken off the market — “Local residents cheered over email and text messages Wednesday after learning that the American Horticultural Society’s board — or what remained of it — decided not to sell its 27-acre property overlooking the Potomac River.” [Alexandria Living]
Northern Virginia AFL-CIO presents award to Rep. Don Beyer — “When the bus drivers in Alexandria – the DASH workers (who had been trying to unionize over decades, actually), Alexandria City hired a union buster and Congressman Beyer stepped in and was very forceful with his language in making the city aware that the DASH workers had a right to organize.” [Zebra]
Let’s Meat On The Avenue is restocked again after Saturday outage — “It wasn’t just restaurants impacted by Saturday’s #ArtOnTheAvenue outage. After having to toss much of their inventory, @LetsmeatDelRay is restocked and open! Picked up some beautiful pork chops for dinner. What’s your #artontheavenueafterparty stop today?” [Twitter]
Free food pop-up distribution points announced — “ALIVE! provides bags of food for specific neighborhoods or apartments, in collaboration with community partners, in the parking lot at each pop-up emergency food distribution location.” [City of Alexandria]
Today’s weather — “Mostly cloudy skies. High 77F. Winds E at 5 to 10 mph… A few clouds. Low 63F. Winds light and variable.” [Weather.com]
New job: Lot attendant/Porter — “We have full and part time positions available.” [Indeed]
Frank Pepe’s Pizzeria Napoletana to open Alexandria location— “The Alexandria location will be at the Alexandria Commons Shopping Center, 3231 Duke Street. Frank Pepe, an Italian immigrant from just southwest of Naples, founded the pizzeria in 1925 in Connecticut after working for a macaroni manufacturer and a bakery… The thin-crust pizzas are fired in a coal oven. Small pies start at less than $10 (the tomato pie), and the menu also includes salads, beer and wine. The company has not yet announced an opening date for the Alexandria location.” [Alexandria Living]
Fire Department rescues Golden Retriever with head stuck in Old Town fence — “On Saturday, Engine 201 arrived on a call to find a dog stuck on an iron fence experiencing distress. After requesting Rescue 209, first responders worked to remove the fence from the dog’s neck & return to the owner. The dog was uninjured. Great job by E201 & Rescue 209 B shift!” [Twitter]
Energy Efficient Day is October 6 — “Join the City in celebrating Energy Efficiency Day on October 6, and Energy Awareness Month during October. Energy Awareness Month highlights opportunities to help the community to sustainably use energy resources and reduce climate change.” [Twitter]
Leaf collection program returning to Alexandria — “Nov. 1 the annual leaf collection program returns! Visit alexandriava.gov/LeafCollection to get a refresh on all the details. We’ll post weekly status updates here and periodic operational updates as needed.” [Facebook]
Drug Take Back Day is October 23 — “Dispose of your expired medications during Drug Take Back Day on Oct. 23. There are various locations across the City to dispose of medications you no longer need. Learn more about how to safely dispose of medications.” [Twitter]
Today’s weather — “Overcast with rain showers at times. High 72F. Winds ENE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 70%… Cloudy (in the evening). Slight chance of a rain shower. Low around 65F. Winds light and variable.” [Weather.com]
New job: Property Maintenance Code Inspector — “Employees selected for this class are assigned to the Property Maintenance. Maintenance Code inspectors are responsible for conducting proactive inspections, reviewing complaints, and identifying applicable code violations. Inspectors in the class also perform on-site inspections; negotiate compliance solutions with property owners, tenants, and business owners when violations of the codes are discovered and recommend effective, corrective abatement actions. The Code Inspector I class serves in an entry-level capacity within the Code Inspector career ladder.” [Governmentjobs.com]
Local teen with cancer knits blankets to raise awareness — “West Potomac High School senior Jessica Foss should have been thinking about prom, graduation and heading off to college in the fall. Instead, in May 2020, in addition to missing out on typical senior year activities because of the global COVID-19 pandemic, Foss received a diagnosis that would turn her world even more upside down – cancer.” [Alexandria Living]
Deadline nearing to register to vote in November election — “Oct. 12 is the deadline to register to vote in the Nov. 2 General Election. Any eligible US citizen who will be 18 by 11/2/21 can register to vote. Questions about your registration status? Call us at 703.746.4050. vote.elections.virginia.gov” [Twitter]
First City Council candidate forum is Wednesday — “The Seminary Road Civic Association will hold two question and answer forums for the nine candidates running for City Council and the two candidates running for mayor. The first of these forums takes place on Oct. 6 from 7 to 9 p.m. and will include all candidates for City Council. The second SRCA forum will be held on Oct. 19 from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. and will be between incumbent Mayor Justin Wilson and challenger Annetta Catchings. Both forums will be held on Zoom.” [Alex Times]
7 can’t miss Instagram spots in Alexandria — “Autumn in Alexandria, VA means show-stopping trees sweeping historic streetscapes with autumn hues, photo-ready rowhouses decked out with seasonal décor and gas lamps flickering above red brick sidewalks. Find timely artwork, sip a rainbow cider flight and more this fall–camera in hand. Pack a mask, put portrait mode on and get inspired with our ideas below” [Visit Alexandria]
Today’s weather — “Considerable cloudiness (during the day). Occasional rain showers in the afternoon. High near 80F. Winds light and variable. Chance of rain 50%… Variable clouds with showers and scattered thunderstorms (in the evening). Storms more numerous during the evening. Low 67F. Winds light and variable. Chance of rain 50%.” [Weather.com]
New job: Professional pet sitter — “Alexandria Pet Care seeks a career pet expert to work with animals in their homes, dog walking and pet sitting. We are the most trusted and most experienced team in town, and we’d love to add you to our team of experts!” [Indeed]