Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions

Fairfax County Public Schools Approves New Climate Initiatives

$1.4 Million to Fund 6 Staff Positions, New Programs: Giving Hope to Students as Temperatures Rise

The Fairfax County Public School (FCPS) Board approved its FY23 budget that included new money and staff positions to begin carrying out recommendations made by the Joint Environmental Task Force (JET). The vote took place on May 26, 2022. 

JET was created in April 2019 by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and the Fairfax County School Board. JET developed 28 recommendations in four areas of focus: Energy, Transportation, Waste Management and Recycling, and Workforce Development. 

Now the real work begins of implementing the recommendations. There’s no time to waste. 

In February 2022, the County’s Resilient Fairfax team issued a comprehensive climate projections report

  • Very hot days at or above 95 degrees Fahrenheit are projected to rise significantly from seven days per year currently to more than 36 days per year in 2050. 
  • By 2085, it is likely that most days of the summer will reach 95 degrees. 
  • Along with changes in temperature, Fairfax County is projected to experience more intense precipitation events, which will amplify inland flooding. 

The new funds will stimulate work in programs that include: 

Electrifying the Bus Fleet

A new staffer will be hired to lead the transition of FCPS’s bus fleet from diesel to electric by 2035 and provide funds for FCPS’s cost share of grants. Although funds for the purchase of new electric buses are available through the Federal Infrastructure Investment Act and other sources, the grants typically require a school district to pay part of the costs. There are currently 123 parking locations for FCPS buses. Only 400 buses out of the 1625 bus fleet are parked at four central facilities, including two that are leased from Fairfax County. So there’s a lot of infrastructure that will need to be completed to meet the 2035 goal. 

Expansion of Get2Green

FCPS’s award-winning Get2Green program is slated for an expansion. Two new staffers will provide equitable access to Get2Green opportunities across all schools, provide comprehensive support to schools engaging students in environmental stewardship, develop and provide professional development and resources for school staff to engage the whole community in a culture of environmental stewardship, and manage funding allocated to the schools. 

Thank you to the FCPS board for their votes and to all FACS advocates who reached out to the school board to advocate for these new initiatives!