Prince William County Public Schools updated its teacher contract this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic — it now allows the division to furlough employees or modify work schedules due to unforeseen circumstances.

Superintendent Steve Walts has said there are no current plans to furlough employees. But the division has changed teacher contracts in case the division needs to furlough employees. 

Sherry Clines, equity and employee relations specialist with the school division’s human resources department, told InsideNoVa the division “will continue to place our employees as our first budget priority and will do our very best to minimize economic hardships to the extent possible.” 

“During the great recession of the past decade, while school divisions nationwide laid-off employees, PWCS did not,” Clines said. 

The division has always included a clause that can make the contract “null and void and unenforceable” if the school board is unable to meet financial obligations, according to Cline. 

The change to teacher contracts was based in part from a recommendation from the Virginia Department of Education’s “Recover, Redesign, Restart 2020,” which is roughly 130-pages of new safety guidelines due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Clines said. 

“PWCS felt it was important to include this language due to the great economic uncertainty, and the unknown operating status that may be required, so that all employees would have a transparent understanding of rights under their contract,” Clines said. “The contract provides clarity in the event of unplanned funding deficits or operating status changes.”

Clines could not provide the total number of contracts sent to teachers or the number that had been returned by the deadline June 15.

(7) comments


“ equity and employee relations specialist with the school division’s human resources department”

Sounds like one of the many KLC positions that should go before they think about teacher furloughs. Who is needed more in a remote learning environment, teachers working directly with students or a bunch of unnecessary overseers sitting at home collecting six figures?


About time! Teachers can not work from home unless I can drop my kids off at their house. Virtual instruction is not what our taxes pay for.

Matt Murdock

Let’s start with Walts. His predatory online activities with with minor children (students) is appalling. His investigation is costing PWCS thousands of dollars. Actually more teachers would be needed in this type of environment moving forward. It’s disturbing that the superintendent is unaware of the need for additional teachers.


On what basis would we need additional teachers? How many high school teachers have you talked to in the past 3 months? Are they busy? None of the ones I know are busy, many of them have agreements with students, no emails, no complaints, no assignments. No reason to that a 20 to 1 ratio when an online model allows you to do 200 to 1.


And we are gonna keep chorus, band, art and drama, when the kids are at home? Does that really make sense? These subjects are a waste of money when schools are open, let alone closed. PE online? If it is not a serious aerobics class, shut it down


Settle down, Karen. Unless you have a degree and experience in education you should tone down the “waste of money” rhetoric. Are you also going to preach about how “waste of money” positions within the police and fire departments? How about the multitude of other county agencies? Who are you to provide ultimatums?


Sorry I have 15 years experience in education and I Have seen the waste first hand. Teaching is a job and it doesn’t warrant the entitlement and hero status teachers demand. Education is a business and like all businesses you need to eliminate waste and improve results. Do you really think it is wise to spend money on labor to teach a kid the trumpet when we can’t meet the same kid’s IEP needs? Chances of any student turning something like playing the trumpet into a career?

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