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Mayor Justin Wilson (left) and School Board Chair Michelle Rief (right) (image via ACPS)

As Alexandria’s City Council and School Board work to reconcile their budgets, Mayor Justin Wilson scolded School Board leadership for not taking a longer view of budgets and planning.

Alexandria’s School Board is asking for $21 million more than it received in the previous budget — for a total of $384.4 million — with School Board members adding $10 million in additions to Superintendent Melanie Kay-Wyatt’s proposed budget. City Manager Jim Parajon fully funded the Superintendent’s budget, but did not include funding for the additional $11 million requested by the School Board.

The issue started with 1703 N. Beauregard, a swing space building to be used for George Mason and Cora Kelly students while those schools undergo renovation. But as the School Board asks the City Council for more funding to address capacity issues, Wilson said it’s frustrating not to see a longer term plan for what happens to that building after it’s finished as a swing space in 2029.

“I want to be able to tell people 1703 N. Beauregard is going to be swing space and then it’s going to be this, whatever this is,” Wilson said. “I saw from staff they say it’s going to be a middle school, you [School Board chair Michelle Rief] say it’s going to be Chance for Change, I hear from other board members it might be an elementary school.”

Wilson said that the City Council, which is dealing with its own budget woes, needs to see a clearer vision from the School Board as the two bodies collaborate on long-term planning.

“At some point, the Board needs to make a long-term set of decisions bout how we’re going to configure and align capacity,” Wilson said. “I recognize things are going to change and we need to evolve and adapt, but we need a direction. It can’t be nine people saying ‘maybe we will do this’ but we need to make decisions.”

Rief answered that the School Board is hesitant to plan too far in advance given how quickly some of the major issues can change.

“If you look back at 2019, we didn’t know the pandemic was going to hit,” said Rief. “We don’t know what’s going to happen with the arena deal. I remember back when we had this conversation in November, you were asking about how we plan after ten years… When you get beyond five to seven years it gets harder to plan. I think situations and circumstances change.”

Wilson called Rief’s answer “unacceptable”:

The answer that we can’t plan past five or seven years is not an acceptable for me. We have to. We have to figure that out.

These are generational investments. We are spending a generational amount of money. It takes us five to seven years in order to even plan and budget for a project of this size.

Think about how long Minnie Howard was in the plan. Think about how long Douglas MacArthur was in the plan. The MacArthur funding, which just opened, was a decision we made in 2016.

This stuff takes a long time. I agree that we have to be flexible and adapt and change, but we need to at least have a vision for what this is going to look like.

If you’re expecting us to raise billions over a period of time, we need the runway to be able to do that.

Battles between the two governing bodies, particularly over the budget, aren’t uncommon.

When it came to cost cutting, the Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) said one of the biggest areas schools could cut is on “green building” initiatives. The tradeoff there, staff said, is that what’s gained in capital funding may be lost in long-term operating costs.

“The expectation is that we are meeting the City’s Green Building policy and Net Zero… we cannot do that with a $20 million reduction,” Kay-Wyatt said.

ACPS staff said geothermal wells could be removed from new schools, saving millions in capital costs, but it’s unclear how that would impact long-term operating costs.

While those cuts to the environmental efficiency of the buildings would still need to be studied and considered, City Council leadership said the top priority in those buildings needed to be on providing educational space.

“When we’re talking about schools and sustainability and green buildings and how much those things cost,” Vice Mayor Amy Jackson said, “I’ll be the other side right now and say: our education of our kids is really what the need is in these buildings; first and foremost.”

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(Updated at 4:30 p.m.) With a handful of schools exceeding 110% utilization, the Alexandria School Board is moving forward with a lengthy redistricting process to redraw elementary and middle school boundaries.

The School Board, which is now starting its redistricting process from scratch, wants any changes to go into effect at the beginning of the 2026-2027 school year, according to School Board Vice Chair Kelly Carmichael Booz.

On Tuesday, the ACPS Redistricting Steering Committee held a work session to map out its priorities, which include capacity reassignments in schools, as well as a balanced distribution of students riding on buses and participating in special programs.

“The new timeline right now is targeting the 2026-2027 school year, not 2025-2026,” Booz said at the meeting.

A number of elementary schools have more than 110% utilization, including John Adams, Mount Vernon, Patrick Henry, and Samuel W. Tucker Elementary Schools, according to a 2023 boundary analysis.

At the same time, enrollment at Cora Kelly, Douglas MacArthur, George Mason, and William Ramsay Elementary Schools is below 90%.

Alexandria City Public Schools is required by law to conduct a boundary analysis every five years or if a school opens. The analysis was initiated due to the opening of the new Douglas MacArthur Elementary School opened in August.

It’s been six years since the last shift of elementary school boundaries impacted approximately 1,351 students, according to ACPS. That 2018 redistricting was the result of a year-long process.

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Students get on school buses at Alexandria City High School’s Minnie Howard Campus prompted an evacuation and early dismissal, Dec. 10, 2021. (staff photo by James Cullum)

The Alexandria School Board approved its fiscal year 2025 $384.4 million combined funds budget on Thursday night and it is asking City Council for $21 million more than the previous budget. If it goes forward, Mayor Justin Wilson says that the request could mean a reduction in city services.

School Board Members tacked on more than $10 million in additions to Superintendent Melanie Kay-Wyatt’s proposed budget, a move that prompted Board Members Meagan Alderton and Chris Harris to vote in opposition to it.

Alderton said that the budget is difficult for the Board to defend.

“For our add/delete session, the board essentially doubled the superintendent’s proposed increase, shifting our ask to an 8.1% city appropriation,” she said at the Board meeting. “City appropriations for the operating budget are not one-time asks when you’re asking for an additional appropriation in any fiscal year. You’re also asking for a promise that this level of funding can be sustained every fiscal year thereafter. So, an additional $10 million dollar promise is one thing, but the additional $21 million promise changes the game entirely.”

City Manager Jim Parajon’s draft FY 2025 budget will be unveiled next Tuesday.

Wilson said that he has not yet reviewed the ACPS budget, but said that the city must be clear about the details of this year’s budget process.

“The School Board’s recent budget decisions more than doubled the superintendent’s request for additional City appropriation, without any offsetting spending reductions in other areas of the budget,” Wilson said. “Funding that increase will require deep spending reductions to other critical services (public safety, human services, transportation or infrastructure), significant tax increases, or both. I look forward to dialogue with the School Board about the details of their request, and the options available for the two bodies as we begin our budget process next week.”

School Board Chair Michelle Rief said that the budget underscores the Board’s commitment to students and staff.

“This budget is a testament to our collective vision for growing a thriving educational community that supports staff and prepares our students for the future,” Rief said.

Wilson said that in the fall, City staff was projecting that Alexandria’s real estate tax base would increase 2.4%, which would have resulted in a $20 million budget shortfall if the School Board had approved what the Superintendent’s budget proposal included. But instead, the real estate tax base grew by 0.33%, the smallest rate of increase in 15 years.

“So, that gap of $20 million is in fact, much larger,” Wilson said.

Superintendent Melanie Kay-Wyatt thanked the Board for their approval, and said that her proposed budget focuses on retention, with a full step increase and a 2% market rate adjustment for eligible staff. The school system is experiencing a staffing crisis, and the budget increases bus driver salaries to $24 an hour for new drivers and more than $47 per hour for senior drivers with more than a decade experience with the school system.

“I truly value the collaboration between the division and the Alexandria City School Board, and would like to thank them for their approval of the FY 2025 Combined Funds budget,” Kay-Wyatt said in a statement. “I also want to express my appreciation for our dedicated Financial Services team for continuing to work to find innovative solutions to the complex budget challenges the division faces. Together we will continue to advocate and work to produce a budget that best supports our students and staff until it is fully adopted in the spring.”

City Council Member John Taylor Chapman said that he wants to see how the Board has prioritized its allocations.

“Conversation is key for our school system, and getting good teachers,” Chapman said. “Past School Boards have been able to turn in a budget that is able to compete with getting good school teachers, balancing priorities and understanding the greater stake in the city’s financial picture. I would assume that is happening this year as well.”

Additions to the budget include:

  • $4.2 million for staffers who did not get step increases in fiscal year 2021 (sponsored by Member Abdel Elnoubi)
  • $307,000 for two deans of students at George Washington and Francis C. Hammond Middle Schools (sponsored by Tammy Ignacio)
  • $125,000 for a college and career counselor at ACHS (sponsored by Member Jacinta Greene)
  • $125,000 for a psychologist at ACHS Minnie Howard Campus (sponsored by Member Abdel Elnoubi)
  • $115,000 for an athletic trainer at ACHS (sponsored by Member Chris Harris)
  • $65,000 for a Dari/Pashto/English fluent-speaking family liaison (sponsored by Harris)
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George Washington Middle School (Staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Twenty three Alexandria middle schoolers and eight Alexandria City High School students were arrested in the first two quarters of this school year, according to a report that the School Board will receive Thursday.

There were also 213 incidents requiring a police response, including five weapons-related incidents, 43 students needing EMS assistance, 56 fights/assaults and three reports of sexual assault.

Weapons seized include three stun guns/tasers, a pellet gun and a knife.

There were 17 students arrested in the first two quarters of the 2022-2023 school year (last year), and 41 arrested in the final two quarters, totaling 58 arrests and resulting in a 26% increase in students arrested over the previous school year.

Incidents, calls for service and arrests in Alexandria City Public Schools (via ACPS)

Of those arrested so far this year, 20 of them were Black students, making up 55%.

There were 95 incidents reported at the Alexandria City High School campuses, 70 incidents at the city’s two middle schools (Francis C Hammond and George Washington Middle Schools), 35 incidents at elementary schools and 13 incidents at K-8 schools.

There were also 118 police calls for service — 56 at the high school campuses, 46 at the middle schools, four at K-8 schools and 12 at elementary schools.

Racial or national origin composition of arrests within ACPS (via ACPS)

Incidents in the first semester of this school year include:

  • 57 incidents characterized as “other” (including two students discussing weapons, four cases of disorderly conduct, two reports of public intoxication, one fraudulent 911 call)
  • 56 fights/assaults
  • 43 injuries that required medical assistance
  • Five confiscated weapons
  • Nine controlled substances
  • Nine threats (verbal/cyber/social media)
  • Six missing student reports
  • Four reports of suspicious activity
  • Three alarms pulled
  • Three reports of sexual misconduct
  • Six thefts
  • Seven reports of possessing prohibited materials
Semester comparisons of crime incidents in ACPS (via ACPS)
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School buses on W. Braddock Road on Dec. 10, 2021 (staff photo by James Cullum)

The Alexandria School Board unanimously authorized starting the collective bargaining process with its teachers and licensed staff Thursday night, kickstarting an extensive period of negotiation on employee rights, wages and benefits.

A number of Alexandria teachers an union representatives voiced their displeasure, however, with stipulations in the ACPS draft collective bargaining resolution.

The 17-page document states ACPS will bargain with an employee organization if 30% of those bargaining employees (also known in groups as “units”) endorse it. The draft resolution also outlines rules for a three-year agreement that would cover four yet-to-be-identified topics. After the agreement expires three years later, two additional topics could be added for negotiation. Topics covered could include wages, benefits and terms and conditions of employment.

We want a normal, democratic election without an election participation threshold,” said Dawn Lucas, president of the Education Association of Alexandria (EAA).

Last October, EAA started the collective bargaining process by sending the Board an employee certification submission on behalf of all licensed teachers. That submission gave the Board 120 days to authorize the collective bargaining process by Feb. 13. A full board action on the resolution is anticipated to occur on Thursday, March 21.

School Board Chair Michelle Rief said that she anticipates a future public hearing dedicated to the collective bargaining resolution.

“This has been a long time coming, for sure,” Rief said. “At the end of the day we really want our teachers to know that we value you.”

ACPS is currently experiencing a staffing crisis, and James Rutigliano, a second grade teacher at Jefferson-Houston K-8 School, said that without an agreement that he and other teachers will quit.

“Talented teachers will not come to ACPs if they feel their labor, ideas, and work product will be exploited,” Rutigliano told the Board. “We must negotiate in good faith, and an election participation threshold is simply undemocratic. It tells our students and our community that the voice will only matter if and only if they hold power.”

The draft resolution also says that there will be two bargaining units, one made of licensed personnel (teachers, school counselors, specialists, librarians, school psychologists, social workers, speech pathologists, department chairs, and 10-month, 11-month, and 12-month Licensed Personnel) and a second unit made up of “education support professionals.” Administrative employees are not included in the draft agreement. They include principals, assistant principals and supervisors.

Rief said last month that the school system wants to reach a collective bargaining agreement by the end of this calendar year. Such a deadline means that any major changes to staff benefits and compensation could be realized with next year’s passage of the Fiscal Year 2026 budget.

School Board Member Tim Beaty, a former leader with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, won a recent special election by mostly campaigning on the importance of collective bargaining. He said that it might be helpful for EAA and the School Board to discuss the school system’s needs in a meeting.

“I’m persuaded by the arguments that were made that it would be helpful to have a direct conversation between the Board and the EAA about the draft resolution,” Beaty said.

Lucas said that it feels as if the needs and desires of her members were not considered when ACPS created the draft resolution. She said that the association wants bargaining rights for all employees, including licensed staff, support staff, and administrators.

“All employees deserve bargaining rights,” Lucas said. “We want the right to bargain over the many topics related to our working and learning conditions, including current policies, regulations, procedures and practices. If we are unable to bargain over the terms and conditions of employment, there is very little, if anything, left to bargain.”

Alexandria approved collective bargaining in 2021, after former Governor Ralph Northam announced the law in 2020. It took the city nearly two years to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement with police and firefighters.

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Students get on school buses at Alexandria City High School’s Minnie Howard Campus prompted an evacuation and early dismissal, Dec. 10, 2021. (staff photo by James Cullum)

Alexandria City Public Schools officials want to reach a collective bargaining agreement by the end of this year, and a resolution to approve the process will be presented to the School Board next week.

The draft collective bargaining resolution was reviewed last Thursday by the Board’s Collective Bargaining Committee, and Board Chair Michelle Rief said that the school system has a goal of coming to an agreement with staff by the end of this year. Such a deadline means that any major changes to staff benefits and compensation would be realized with next year’s passage of the Fiscal Year 2026 budget.

“Just to be clear, we are looking and doing this, depending on how it goes, this year in 2024,” Rief said last Thursday night.

In October, the Education Association of Alexandria (EAA) formally started the process by sending the Board an employee certification submission on behalf of all licensed teachers. That submission gave the Board 120 days to adopt a collective bargaining resolution with a deadline of Feb. 13. The Board will be presented with the resolution for adoption at its upcoming meeting on Thursday, Feb. 8, and a full board action is expected at the March 21 school board meeting.

“This is something that can go really well or really not well,” said Board Member Meagan Alderton. “I think we are on the path of doing really well, and so we need to continue that path and be deliberate and intentional about everything we do.”

ACPS is looking for a three-year agreement that covers four topics, which have yet to be identified. Those topics could include wages, benefits and terms and conditions of employment, and every subsequent negotiation can include the addition of two additional topics, according to the draft resolution.

The school system is currently experiencing a staffing crisis, and the proposed $374 million fiscal year 2025 budget provides a full step increase and a 2% market rate adjustment for eligible staff. It does not, however, provide a cost of living increase.

ACPS middle school teacher David Paladin Fernandez has been vocal in asking the Board and city leaders for wage increases for staff.

“Educator retention and pay are serious issues, and I want to see ACPs leadership making bold choices,” he said.

Alexandria was first Northern Virginia jurisdiction to pass the measures for employee rights and wages in 2021, after former Governor Ralph Northam announced statewide implementation of the law in 2020. It took Alexandria nearly two years to negotiate collective bargaining for police and firefighters, who both saw increases in pay budgeted into the city’s fiscal year 2024 budget.

Dawn Lucas has been EAA president for nearly a decade and said that the organization will be tapping into its membership in the coming days to elect a bargaining representative and identify bargaining issues.

“I would have never thought this would happen, for us to have collective bargaining rights in the state of Virginia,” Lucas said. “When that happened, we knew
that we could possibly be on the path to come into this day.”

The draft resolution says the following:

Whereas, in April 2020, the Virginia General Assembly passed legislation permitting local governing bodies, including school boards to enter into collective bargaining agreements with respect to any matter relating to employment provided by the public body adopts an ordinance or resolution authorizing as much; and

Whereas, pursuant to section 40.1 Dash five 7.2 C of Virginia code, any school board that has not adopted a resolution providing for collective bargaining may receive any employee certification was the federal majority of employees who self identify as a bargaining unit, and within 120 days of receipt of such employee certification shall take a vote on whether to adopt or not adopt a resolution to provide for collective bargaining; and

Whereas, the Code of Virginia does not require or any school board to adopt the resolution authorizing collective bargaining; and

Whereas, on October 16 2023, the school board clerk received an employee certification submission from the Education Association of Alexandria on behalf of all licensed teachers; and

Whereas, the school board has 120 days from the date, the certification was submitted, or until February 13, 2024, to take a vote to adopt or not adopt a resolution to provide for collective bargaining,

Now, therefore, be it resolved that the Alexandria City School Board hereby agreed to adopt this resolution authorizing collective bargaining by licensed teachers and any other school board employees deemed appropriate by the Alexandria City School Board; and

Be it further resolved that the Alexandria City School Board shall adopt a collective bargaining resolution no later than 60 days after the adoption of this resolution; and

Be it further resolved, that the execution of this resolution is conclusive evidence of Alexandria School Board’s approval of this action.

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The two options for the new ACPS logo (via ACPS)

Two years after the School Board requested a new logo for Alexandria City Public Schools, rejecting an initial replacement, Superintendent Melanie Kay-Wyatt came back with a new logo recommendation earlier this month.

In a 5-3 vote, the School Board also rejected the new logo design.

The proposed logo featured the George Washington Masonic National Memorial, but drew criticism from some on the School Board who noted that the building, which honors George Washington and is styled after the Lighthouse of Alexandria, is more representative of the city’s past than its future.

Neither of the proposed logos were particularly popular on ACPS’ social media channels.

Current ACPS logo (image via ACPS)

School Board member Meagan Alderton, however, said the logo fight is a distraction from meaningful work on addressing issues of racism and discrimination in the school system.

“While I appreciate all these symbolic discussions, I would love for people to start walking into this Board room and get on our case and blast us on that equity dashboard,” Alderton said. “That is the real work on racism. We have all these other little things that become distractions. It is 100% a distraction to the work, and I believe, at this point, it is a tactic.”

Abdel-Rahman Elnoubi proposed that the current logo be left in place, tabling the logo discussion indefinitely, but the School Board ultimately voted for Superintendent Melanie Kay-Wyatt to return to the School Board with additional logo designs for the School Board to vote on.

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The two options for the new ACPS logo (via ACPS)

Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) is having a tough time finding a new logo.

At a School Board meeting earlier this month, the Board voted to direct Superintendent Melanie Kay-Wyatt to redesign the logo yet again.

An initial set of logo redesigns were rejected back in 2022, but new recommendations came forward late last year.

The School Board rejected the recommendation, which evokes the George Washington Masonic National Memorial and the ancient Lighthouse of Alexandria, as too reflective of the past.

“What we have in front of us is not representative of a vibrant school system that should be focusing on student achievement and student success,” said School Board member Jacinta Greene. “You do not see that in that logo. I see the past. I see a building that the majority of students in our school system have never been in and don’t know what it is. It is not a logo that should be representative of our school system.”

But some on the Board said the logo debate was a distraction, possibly a deliberate one, from the work the School Board needed to be doing.

“I’m a little exhausted with what I want to call performative anti-racism,” said School Board member Meagan Alderton. “The energy that went into dissecting this logo and pulling it apart and picking it apart and all the pieces and what they mean… I just continue to wish that we would put that energy as a community into the true symbol of racism in Alexandria.”

Alderton said the true symbols of racism in Alexandria can be found in the ACPS equity dashboard, which highlights various areas of stratification in ACPS along lines like race and class.

“While I appreciate all these symbolic discussions, I would love for people to start walking into this Board room and get on our case and blast us on that equity dashboard,” Alderton said. “That is the real work on racism. We have all these other little things that become distractions. It is 100% a distraction to the work, and I believe, at this point, it is a tactic.”

Abdel-Rahman Elnoubi said he was struggling to find a reason to support going through another set of logos and he ultimately voted against the motion.

“I wonder how spending more airtime on this issue is going to help us with what we hope to achieve,” said Elnoubi. “Redesigning this logo: what will it help us achieve?”

Kay-Wyatt said the current logo is outdated and said, regardless of the School Board’s vote, her office’s priority is on maintaining educational standards for ACPS students.

“It is not a distraction for my team,” said Kay-Wyatt. “They are working day and night, around the clock for children. I promise you: children are our first priority.”

Greene argued that the logo, however small, is still a decision the School Board needs to get right.

“You do not vote for something that is not right to take this school system into the future,” Greene said. “The one we adopt and vote for will take us into the future for many years. We need to get it right. The one that we have is not right.”

The vote to send the logo back carried on a 5-3 motion.

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(Updated at 4 p.m. on Jan. 29) Critics contend that the proposed Alexandria City Public Schools budget shortchanges staff, but that’s not what the superintendent is saying.

Superintendent Melanie Kay-Wyatt says that her proposed $374 million fiscal year 2025 budget focuses on retention with a full step increase and a 2% market rate adjustment for eligible staff. The school system is currently experiencing a staffing crisis, and the budget also increases bus driver salaries to $24 an hour for new drivers and more than $47 per hour for senior drivers with more than a decade experience with the school system. The budget also opens the door to the creation of a collective bargaining agreement with staff.

At Thursday night’s public hearing on Kay-Wyatt’s budget, Alexandria Middle School teacher David Paladin Fernandez said that the school system needs to come to a collective bargaining agreement. He also said that the budget does not provide a cost of living adjustment (COLA) for staff.

“If I asked everyone in this room if our educators deserved more, I have no doubt that every single one of us would say yes,” Fernandez told the School Board. “We’ve had a record exodus of top-tier educators to surrounding school districts with no plan to address it, and we have members of ACPS leadership suggesting the preposterous idea that a step (increase) is the same thing as a cost of living adjustment… A step is related to my experience and loyalty to the organization and a cost of living adjustment is related to larger economic realities we have no control over. They are not the same thing and they should be recognized in this budget.”

ACPS Chief Financial Officer Dominic Turner said in a Jan. 11 School Board retreat that the school system has seen a lot of turnover in school leadership over the past several years. An ACPS teacher with a bachelor’s degree makes about $58,000 and an ACPS teacher with a master’s degree makes an average of $90,000, and the majority of ACPS teachers are on a Master’s degree scale.

“In the past three years we’ve had 14 new principals and we’ve had 20 new members on the SLT (senior leadership team),” Turner told the Board.

Robin Benatti is the parent of an 8th grader and 6th grader at Francis C. Hammond Middle School, and said at the public hearing that she was “appalled that the budget does not include a COLA.

“This poor decision is going to hurt our students, and further damage our reputation,” Benatti told the Board Thursday. “Teachers in ACPS deserve to make reasonable compensation. This proposal falls short, big time. The struggle to hire qualified teachers for our extremely dense school district will only intensify if you don’t also include a COLA. Be bold. Be aggressive in your position to show the community that you believe in investing in our educational talent.”

Alicia Hosmer has children at Alexandria City High School and at Hammond, and said that a COLA will make the school system more attractive for staff.

“My 8th grader and his classmates have been without an Algebra teacher and their learning is suffering,” Hosmer told the Board. “We cannot recruit and keep top talent when surrounding districts such as Fairfax and Arlington are proposing to give teachers both a COLA and step increases. We will lose more teachers to surrounding districts which means more empty classrooms and more strain on the teachers who remain with ACPS.”

School Board Member Meagan Alderton said at the Jan. 11 retreat that a positive work environment is as important incentive as compensation for staff retention.

“I think pay is 100% essential,” Alderton said. “But we need to be thinking about the job environment we provide to make people want to stay in this profession. There are plenty of people who just love teaching, who love education, and I do believe that if people feel successful in this work, that will also make them stay.”

In the meantime, Board Chair Michelle Rief is concerned that the budget is asking for a 4% increase in the city’s appropriation ($258.69 million) and a 4.1% increase from the state (about $2.5 million), but that the Governor’s proposed budget would transfer only 2-to-3% of requested funding.

“If we don’t receive the state and the city funding that we need, we are not going to be able to pass this budget,” Rief said.

ACPS will hold a public meeting on collective bargaining on Jan. 25. The Board will adopt its budget on Feb. 16, and it will then be incorporated into City Manager Jim Parajon’s budget, which will be presented on March 14.

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Tim Beaty is the new District A School Board member (via ACPS)

There’s a new member of the Alexandria School Board. Tim Beaty, the retired former global strategies director for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, was sworn into office on Thursday night.

Beaty won a special election on Jan. 9 to fill the seat vacated by former School Board Member Willie Bailey. He will fill the remaining 11 months of Bailey’s term before the next School Board is sworn into office in January 2025. During that time, he said that he wants to help Alexandria City Public Schools edge closer to a collective bargaining agreement with staff.

“I am truly honored to serve on the Alexandria City School Board,” Beaty said in a release. “I look forward to bringing that experience to the division as we move forward with collective bargaining to enhance labor-management relationships between employees and the division.”

Beaty moved to Alexandria a decade ago with his wife, who is a principal at a Fairfax County Elementary School. He retired two years ago, and has been a substitute teacher at two ACPS elementary schools since then.

“We are excited to welcome Mr. Beaty to serve on our School Board,” said School Board Chair Michelle Rief, who also represents District A. “Mr. Beaty has not only contributed directly to ACPS as a substitute teacher but the greater Alexandria community as well, volunteering and serving in various capacities throughout the city.”

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