Prince William County Schools Administration Building

The Edward L. Kelly Leadership Center serves as the administrative office facility for Prince William County Schools.

State leaders in Richmond are still lacking answers for local school divisions on just how much money they’ll have to work with.

In a presentation to the School Board, Prince William County Schools Chief Financial Officer John Wallingford said the school system is being held harmless for about $800,000 it lost in state funding in fiscal 2023 due to a Virginia Department of Education calculation error through the “skinny budget” that passed the General Assembly last month.

But county schools still stand to lose more than $4 million in fiscal 2024 if state leaders and the General Assembly don’t make any changes.

At the same time, the lack of a full budget agreement in the General Assembly could also end up costing the school system millions. In the “skinny budget” the legislature passed before adjourning from its regular session, Prince William County Schools would lose out on more than $3 million between the current fiscal year and fiscal 2024, according to Wallingford.

“The only thing we can really do is sit and wait,” Wallingford told the School Board on March 1. “We’ve had two or three occurrences over the past 10 years where the General Assembly did not get their budget done on time and what we’ve ended up doing is passing an interim budget, effectively, and then gone back for adoption when we get our actual numbers.”

Ultimately, the General Assembly will need to reconvene to hammer out a full budget agreement before the end of June, which could see all of that money returned to the schools. But the competing proposals on the table – from Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin, the Democratic-controlled state Senate and the Republican-controlled House of Delegates – offer wildly diverging funding levels for the commonwealth’s public schools.

Additional money for salary increases, retention bonuses, eliminating the Recession-era state support cap and school security are all on the table in the Senate proposal, whereas Youngkin and the House have pushed for broader tax cuts and additional funding for “lab schools,” which K-12 schools established by colleges and universities intended to foster educational innovation.

When, exactly, the General Assembly will reconvene for its special session is still unclear.

“If the House side of the budget passes, I think we actually lose $4 or $5 million more. And if the Senate side of the budget passes, we could get up to $20 or $30 million more,” School Board Chair Babur Lateef told InsideNoVa. “We suspect that there’s going to be some compromise, and so we may end up getting $5 to $10 million more.”

The School Board continued to work on the division’s proposed $1.6 billion budget this week with a mark-up session on Wednesday. In the spending plan, Superintendent LaTanya McDade proposed a 5% employee raise – from a 2% raise with a 3% step increase – and a small increase in employee health insurance premiums. But they’re still doing so with little clarity on the state funding picture.

The Prince William Education Association, meanwhile, is calling for a 10% raise. The association recently won the exclusive collective bargaining rights for all non-administrative county schools employees, but a formal collective bargaining process won’t begin until the school division starts budgeting for fiscal 2025.

The state Senate proposal would call for a mandatory 7% raise for all educators, with the state funding about half of the raises and local schools paying the remaining balance.

“The General Assembly is going to have to come back sometime in the next several weeks and resolve the differences that they could not resolve in conference,” Wallingford said.

Jared Foretek covers the Manassas area and regional news across Northern Virginia. Reach him at

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Jared Foretek covers Prince William County Public Schools, the city of Manassas and transportation news across Northern Virginia. Reach him at

(4) comments

Dale Dobacki

Defund Public Indoc Schools! They have become cash cows and no longer educate kids. From covering up sexual assaults, to this equity garbage, our tax dollars are being wasted.

Fix Prince William

Lynne, you beat me to it! Great insight.

Also, I thought Youngkin was a businessman. Pretty big miscalculation on VDOE budget!

Lynne June

Good. I hope that they start by cutting many of the top-heavy, unnecessary administrative jobs at central office. In fact, speaking with administrators in other divisions, this seems to be a problem in Fairfax, Alexandria, and Loudoun. I’m not sure about other counties. If the informed citizens of PWC actually reviewed several years worth of school budgets, going back to Walts, but especially in the past few years, they would see how the number of central office administrators has multiplied.

Prince William Concerned

Lynn June,

You make great points.

I actually believe it actually goes way before Walts.

When Lucy Beauchamp was chair of the education board and Edward Kelly was the superintendent this center got pushed hard. There was little request for parental input on whether this use of educational money was agreed to by parents and taxpayers, from Ms Beauchamp and her board allies. When she was pushing this. Many schools were hurting for direct funding for their own educational needs at the time, yet the board and superintendent of that time were pushing forward for this multi-million dollar building & the admin that would eventually come with it. Despite real educational needs at many schools. After their legacy, the taxpayers and parents inherited what you speak about. Walts just stepped into it and helped it grow. That building was about an "image" of Prince William county having a modern county educational admin center, despite the FACT that many schools were hurting for basic (reading, writing, arithmetic, & job market prep(trades & I.T.) educational opportunities of that time. Their answer at that time was "specialty schools". Rather than using the millions used for that building and admin growth-- to spread those educational opportunities(trade like & I.T.) across more schools around the county. I.T. is the perfect example of this dichotomy. It should have been offered at every high school vice a few high schools when it is/was an in demand job prospect for graduating students w/o needing a college degree. Despite the rhetoric that it was open to students from anywhere that qualified to get into it, it was still easier for the students in that local school district to get into the I.T. program. Many kids just didn't want to go to a far away school district where they didn't know the other students or had to add 20-30+ minutes commute time to their AM & PM school travel. This helped for more openings to be available to the "lucky" students in the host high school. This was one of the big "opportunity costs" that the Beauchamp board and Kelly did not discuss with the "lowly" parents and the taxpayers before pushing their pet building/admin project.

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