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Friday PatchChat Live: What Voters Should Know About the Nov. 8 School Bond Referendum

Friday chat where talked about the Nov. 8 vote on the $252.75 million bond referendum

Come next Tuesday, Fairfax County voters will be faced with

Included on the Nov. 8 general election ballot is a school bond referendum to fund Fairfax County Public School's 2012-16 Capital Improvement Program (CIP).

Each year Fairfax County Public Schools develops a five-year CIP to address future facility needs, including renovations of existing facilities and building of new facilities.

Capital improvements of Fairfax County schools are not funded through the school system’s operating budget (2.2 billion for FY 2011), but through the sale of bonds. Voters must approve bond sales because they incur future debt.

The Fairfax County School Board voted in January 2011 to approve the FY 2012-16 (CIP) totaling $804.9 million. According to a school board press release, $199.4 million of that amount was already funded with previously approved school bonds. The 2011 School Bond Referendum is for $252.75 million, leaving an outstanding balance of $352.75 million.

“The remainder of the funding will come from future bond sales,” said Denise James, director of the Department of Facilities and Transportation Services.

Since 1999, Fairfax County voters have passed six school bonds totaling $1,809,875,000 (almost $1.81 billion).

  • In 1999 for $ 297,205,000
  • In 2001 for $ 377,955,000
  • In 2003 for $ 290,610,000
  • In 2005 for $ 246,325,000
  • In 2007 for $ 365,200,000
  • In 2009 for $ 232,580,000

 “The current CIP -- and all CIPs for that matter -- are predicated on the assumption that school bonds will continue to be approved by the voters in the future," James said.

Bond passage places the projects listed in the referendum in the queue with all other unfinished projects.

Join Kevin Sneed, director of design and construction for FCPS at 11 a.m. Friday to talk about bond projects, how they're funded, the order in which they are prioritized and the effect of bond requests and approvals over time.

Have a question in advance, or, unable to make the chat? Email erica.hendry at patch.com to submit a question.

Previous livechats:

(Sept. 30)

(Oct. 7)

(Oct. 14)

John Wittman November 04, 2011 at 04:16 PM
Sorry we ran out of time to show my last comment. I agree with Tim's last comment about the current construction system bringing savings to the tax payer. I think there are greater saving to be had with an objective review of the system, notwithstanding the compexity of maintaining an operating school during renovation. There is a need to review all that we do with our facility improvements - - new, add-on, renovation, repairs. But, first - - pass the school bond.
janet otersen November 04, 2011 at 04:33 PM
Fact Check on the issue of the school budget dollar amount. The 2012 Operating Fund is $2.24 billion, This does not include these other funds which are in fact real money-not monopoly dollars: $87.8 million Foof Services $64.6 million Grants and self supporting programs $10.8 million Adult and Comm Education $163 million School Construction Fund $179.8 million Employee Suppl Retirment Fund $32.9 million Post employment benefits trust $14 million central procurement fund $292.8 Health and Flexible Benefits Fund $18.9 School Insurance Fund
The Convict November 04, 2011 at 07:07 PM
How much debt are the suckers in Fairfax County willing to take on when we already have one of the best school systems in the nation? If FCPS needs these things and it's not an emergency, then let them save for it.
Bob Bruhns November 04, 2011 at 10:24 PM
The population of Fairfax County is a bit over a million. A school budget of $2.24 billion dollars is about $2,000 per man, woman and child living in the county. With about 175,000 students in FCPS, this is $12,800 per student for one year. Aren't our students falling behind other school systems in the region? We are told that this is because of language problems, but we are not the only place with these problems. I frankly wonder if the concept of govenment-run schools has reached a point where it needs to be abandoned altogether in favor of home and private schooling.

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