The Prince William Board of County Supervisors has re-allocated $5 million in federal COVID-19 assistance so they can support Prince William County Public Schools.

The Board voted 8-0 Tuesday to spend the money, part of the county’s CARES Act funding.

“It’s all uncharted territory and they will have extra expenses,” board Chair Ann Wheeler said of the school division's coronavirus-related costs.

The funding must be spent before the end of the year.

Prince William County School Board Chair Babur Lateef asked the board of county supervisors June 16 to dedicate $42.5 million to help the school division safely reopen schools in the fall.

Occoquan Supervisor Kenny Boddye said when the county receives another round of CARES Act funding, funding the school division should be “in front of the line,” he said. The school division is the county’s largest employer, he said. 

“It is our fiduciary responsibility,” Boddye said during the meeting. 

In a statement, Lateef thanked Wheeler, Boddye and Woodbridge Supervisor Margaret Franklin for spearheading efforts to help schools with coronavirus costs.

“I also want to thank all the supervisors for stepping up in this time of uncertainties for the future of our schools and our students, and supporting our efforts for the safe and successful return this fall," Lateef said.

Gainesville Supervisor Pete Candland said he’s disappointed that students aren’t starting the school year with partial in-person instruction. The school year will start with virtual instruction for most students through the first quarter.

“We as a board need to do everything we can to try to make a bad situation as least bad as possible,” Candland said. 

Candland said he would like to know how much it would cost to open schools to provide in-person instruction. 

Coles Supervisor Yesli Vega asked to schedule a work session with the school board to discuss school funding. The board said they will plan to schedule a work session in September. 

Emily Sides covers Prince William County for InsideNoVa. Reach her at esides@insidenova.com.

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