School District Loses State Revenue Due to Enrollment Drop

Loudoun County Public Schools expects to see a $7 million drop in state funding during fiscal year 2022 because of decreased enrollment and community factors, but Chief Financial Officer Susan Willoughby said that funds are still “healthy.” 

While it is still only the first quarter, and economic recovery as the county emerges from the pandemic-impacted balance sheets with uncertainty, Willoughby said that this year’s $1.5 billion budget is in a much better position than it was in at the same time last year, speaking during a first quarter review with the Finance and Operations Committee on Tuesday, Oct. 19.

This year’s enrollment of 81,318 students at the start of the school year represents a 7% drop from the original projected enrollment for the year, meaning less money will be coming in from Richmond. The district, which is the third largest in the state, would have received about $440 million from the state this year had it met its projected enrollment. Losses from state revenue this fiscal year are offset by “hold harmless” funding, which limits the extent to which the state may reduce funding to a school district based on an enrollment drop. The bulk of school funding—about $1billion—comes from the county.

The operational budget review also indicates a loss of about $150,000 in revenue from community sources, such as parking fees and athletics fees. 

The district is eyeing sales tax and lottery proceeds—which so far this year have exceeded state projections—to help offset the losses. 

Willoughby said that the district will be watching closely in December when Gov. Ralph Northam releases his budget proposal to see if the state will offer any additional relief funds for school districts. 

As of this quarter, the budget still appears tight, as the leftover funds total just $1.2 million, representing 0.08% of the budget. Willoughby said that margin is likely the smallest the district has ever experienced. In years prior, the district has aimed for greater surplus, usually about $10 million. Willoughby said that given how the budget can fluctuate in scenarios such as a pandemic, it makes more sense to consider the excess margin as a percentage of the budget.

The quarterly review will be presented to the full board during its meeting on Oct. 28.

11 thoughts on “School District Loses State Revenue Due to Enrollment Drop

  • 2021-10-21 at 1:27 pm

    “a 7% drop from the original projected enrollment”

    Years ago, I calculated that 13% of Loudoun’s students were either private or home schooled. With LCPS losing enrollment for the past couple of years, the number of Loudoun students that do not attend LCPS has got to be around 25% and rising. This is significant because LCPS no longer has a stranglehold on students, parents, and education in Loudoun County. In fact, given LCPS’s dreadful reputation, I will predict that in another decade LCPS will be a shadow of its former self and the majority of students will be either in private or home schooled. Power to the parents!!!

  • 2021-10-21 at 1:52 pm

    This is a sobering warning that LCPS needs to tighten its belt. I didn’t like the generous bonuses that were handed out to administrators earlier this year like candy. With all due respect, LCPS administrators already are paid handsomely. (Most people in this country don’t earn such high salaries.) I don’t begrudge them; they worked hard to get where they are. But enough with the bonuses. Also, I urge LCPS to find out more about the so-called “missing” students that have dropped off the radar. Where are they? As Chair Randall said this week, it’s too simplistic to conclude they’re being home-schooled or in private/parochial schools. Let’s have a thorough search for these children!

  • 2021-10-21 at 2:26 pm

    Can the LCPS CFO be more specific on how much is expected from sales taxes due to be returned to Loudoun? What most people are not aware of (primarily because our politicians have refused to fight the composite index) is that Richmond TAKES hundreds of millions from what Loudoun and Fairfax should get back from sales tax proceeds to support schools every year. Perhaps because they don’t want to tread on our legislative representatives for failing to get fair treatment in Richmond! Now for the truly empathetic among us keep in mind that even if southern Virginia really needed our tax funds they don’t even tax themselves at the same rate we do meaning that they are happy accepting our money cause they deem we don’t need it. Not fair play in my book!

  • 2021-10-21 at 2:37 pm

    Let’s start by taking back the fat stacks of bonus money paid to the incompetent superintendent and his cabal for sitting home, while teachers and front line staff received childish “challenge coins.”

  • 2021-10-21 at 4:17 pm

    Imagine if a company offered an absolutely essential service, charged nothing directly for its use, but still couldn’t attract customers.
    This is LCPS.
    Except that with this county’s school system, there are no shareholders or even a competent board to hold management responsible for their ongoing failures. So we the taxpayers are forced to continue funding this disaster at ever higher levels each year.

    I cannot wait for the school apologists to explain how these lower enrollment numbers mean that LCPS is doing a great job.

    The children of Loudoun deserve a better school system. The taxpayers of Loudoun deserve better value for their money. It’s time for a complete and total change at “Education” Court.

  • 2021-10-21 at 4:50 pm

    Since the schools were not open a large portion of the year, bu drivers were not need and not as many custodians were needed, this should not matter and the LCOS should have large amount of money in surplus. Which should result in LCPS needed less money from the taxpayers. Not to mention all the COVID money that came from the Federal Government.

    • 2021-10-21 at 10:23 pm

      Bus drivers may not have been needed, but they were collecting checks from LCPS. Only a handful of them were actually doing anything, but they all received paychecks. I know 5 of them personally and only one said he ever drove his bus all year- he delivered food to neighborhoods and picked up one kid every day to take him to a school, then picked him up in the afternoon.
      ….and we wonder why the budget is bloated.

  • 2021-10-21 at 7:01 pm

    As the LCPS continues to alienate parents, cut advanced subjects, and teach CRT and push the 2SLGBTQIA+ agenda more and more parents will abandon the government schools. I expect declining enrollments will be an accelerating trend in Virginia. Today, I spoke to a financial planner in another state who asked me if things were as bad in Loudoun as he had heard. Yes, we are a laughing stock around the country.

  • 2021-10-21 at 11:48 pm

    This is NOT a “drop”. They are getting at least as much as they have in years past. Why would Loudoun Now say that?

    If I project I will receive a 50% salary raise next year, and then only get 10% (like many LCPS teachers), I cannot claim a 40% “drop” in salary! (technically, it would be a 26% drop but teachers wouldn’t understand the math so I use numbers that they recognize even if wrong).

    LCPS has lost 1000s of students. They should actually receive LESS funding from the state. But they won’t. They are spending close to $19,000/student on operations alone now!!!!

    This is the worst run organization in all of Virginia. What fools voted for these clowns?

    And LN, do better with your “journalists'” writing.

  • 2021-10-22 at 5:19 am

    7% decrease in enrollment equals 105 million dollar drop in expenditures, time to audit the school board and their wasteful use of taxpayer dollars, please tell me Randall’s chief of staff have no fingers in the till!

  • 2021-10-25 at 5:49 pm

    Parents and grandparents, please continue to support home schooling and or private schools. Until the socialist unions are taken out of the equation, don’t trust what is going on in our public schools. The president of the AFT has been in place for over 3 decades. She has single handedly ruined America’s public schools. She is cut from the same fabric that the 7 men who owned most of the media are cut from…. Your children’s neurons are not developed, teachers know this and so do the administrators. They are impressionable. Get them out of harm’s way. Remember what happened in the 70s with the moonies.

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