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  • Writer's pictureKelly Carmichael Booz

Kelly Carmichael Booz Statement on our ACPS Budgetary Asks to Council

ACPS Budget Slide from 3/6/24:

I can’t remember the last time the School Board voted to add funds above the initial Superintendent’s request, and I hope we won’t be in this situation in the future unless absolutely necessary. I want to acknowledge that our Superintendent proposed a budget that would already be a stretch to fund, given our revenue streams, but she proposed a budget that was as close to budgetary guidance as she could get. 

I also want to acknowledge that we are in extraordinary times. Teacher retention is a nationwide challenge as more teachers leave the profession, and the teacher shortage is at an all-time high as fewer teachers enter the teaching profession. On top of that, we are still working to support our students' mental health and well-being in a post-pandemic world. 

I know we are asking a lot of you (Council) to support our Operating and CIP budgets and, ultimately, our kids, staff, and community. Thank you for your continued support of our public schools year after year. 

Let me address the elephant in the room when it comes to taxes.

Alexandria hasn’t raised taxes in our city since 2017 and then reduced our taxes in 2021, given the financial burden the pandemic placed on families and individuals in our community. 

Meanwhile, property assessment values continue to go up year after year, and inflation remains a pain point. 

Our neighbors in Arlington and Fairfax County are facing these realities with proposed tax increases.

I know that to even come close to meeting our budgetary ask, we need to make tough decisions to either reduce significant city services or increase our tax rate.  I also know that this is an election year. And increasing the taxes in an election year does not make you very popular at the polls. 

And if this statement doesn’t make me popular at the polls, then so be it. As one of nine board members, I am asking you to consider raising taxes to support these School Board requests to support our students, staff, and community. I call upon our community to support a thoughtful tax increase and think of it not as a burden but as an investment in our collective future, ensuring we do not compromise the quality and accessibility of our city services.

I know this is a tough decision. And I thank you for being on the Council for both serving and being elected to make these tough decisions.

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