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Proposed Fairfax school budget up 9 percent

Friday - 1/13/2012, 4:15am  ET

Hank Silverberg, wtop.com

FALLS CHURCH, Va. - When schools open in Fairfax County next fall, a projected 181,608 students will walk through the doors.

That's about 4,000 more than the current school year and is the major reason Superintendent Jack Dale says he needs 9 percent more money, which would bring the proposed budget up to $2.4 billion for fiscal year 2013.

The budget also requests adding more than 600 new teachers and a total of 721 new employees.

"Eighty-eight percent of our budget goes to employee compensation," says Dale. "You'll see I'm recommending a 2 percent salary increase or a marketplace adjustment for all our employees."

School board member Kathy Smith says that raise is important to keep a competitive edge.

School board Chairman Jane Strauss says funding from the local tax base does not increase and does not reflect the growth in student population.

Under the budget proposal, which still must be approved by the school board and the county board of supervisors, $135.8 million would come from county funds. The rest is from state or federal allocations.

Fairfax county schools have grown by more than 15,000 students since 2008. Two new schools, a middle school and an elementary school will open in the fall.

A public hearing is set for Jan. 30 and 31 at Jackson Middle school.

The Fairfax County School District is currently the 11th largest in the United States. Dale says by Sept. it could the 10th largest.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)