为什么我投反对票——来自校董Jeanette Hough

CAPAFC 编辑报道:在2016年1月7日费郡校董会议上,校董Jeanette Hough女士为FCPS superintendent Gaza博士的FCPS 2017财年预算案投下反对票。那么,是什么因素导致Hough女士投下反对票呢?在近期Hough女士发出的公开信中,她解释了相关原因并澄清出发点不在于要缩减薪资福利和学区programs,而是出于对纳税人负责,确保校董会对资金去向有足够清晰准确的了解。比如,Hough女士指出不应使用FCPS的operating budget来负担food service员工的薪资涨幅,因为Food and Nutrition Services Fund中有足够的资金负担此项费用(有9.03 million的reserve)。

1月7日校董会有关预算问题的讨论录像在此https://youtu.be/NBGDrXi9Kio?t=1h20m31s,鼓励家长朋友们观看了解各位校董的立场和观点。

Hough女士的邮件全文内容如下:
FY 2017 Budget – Why I Voted “No”

As an At-Large Board Member, I have a commitment to represent the entire county. Since the FY 2017 Proposed Budget was presented on January 7, 2016, I was conflicted with how I would vote. Dr. Garza’s proposed budget includes excellent initiatives I support, specifically a focus on paying our teachers competitively and capping elementary school class sizes at 30 students. However, in the end, I decided to vote “no” to the proposed budget because we declined to more accurately account for our revenues and expenses.

In my view, one of the best ways to support our schools is to increase the Supervisors’ and community’s confidence in the accuracy of our budget before asking for more money. I put forward a motion to recognize a reduction of $4.3M in our proposed budget. The monetary value of the amendment was nominal in comparison to our entire budget, but important as it held the School Board accountable for as many dollars as we could find before we asked taxpayers to contribute more toward the schools’ budget.

Dr. Garza proposed $1.1 million be spent from our operating budget to bring food service employees to the living wage. My amendment proposed to account for this raise in the appropriate self-supporting Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) Food and Nutrition Services fund. This fund has a reserve of $9.03 million and already balanced its budget for an additional 3.5% raise for these same employees. Similarly, my amendment would have realized an additional $3.2 million in state revenue, based on the Governor’s budget proposal, thus decreasing the transfer request.

The counterpoint offered stated the $3.2 million was an assumption until the Governor’s budget was approved. However, our entire budget process is based on assumptions. At this same point in the FY 2015 budget process, FCPS assumed total revenue was $30 million less than the final approved amount; in FY 2016, it was $8 million less. This suggests that we could absorb the $3.2 million assumption if not approved this year.

My amendment would not have cut compensation or programs, it was not an attempt to reduce the county transfer request to a ‘magic percentage’, nor was it a commentary on our budget request being too high or too low. Rather, it was a signal to the community that when we ask for more money from their households that we, as stewards of those dollars, are confident we have an accurate understanding of where the tax dollars are going.

Going forward, I fully intend to continue working with Dr. Garza and my colleagues on the School Board, to improve our excellent school system while fulfilling our fiduciary obligations as stewards of your tax dollars.