The Prince William County School Board is set to re-work its budget now that the board of county supervisors approved about $41.6 million less than the school board requested in its recommended budget. 

Less funding means the school board is facing important decisions on how to adjust its budget for fiscal year 2021, which starts July 1. 

On March 18, the school board approved its recommended budget for fiscal 2021 based on its request that the county dedicate $666.9 million to the schools division.  

On April 28, the board of county supervisors voted to allocate $629.6 million to the school division, which includes $625.3 million that is part of the county’s revenue sharing agreement, along with additional funding for class size reduction, costs related to the 13th high school and more. 

School Board Chair Babur Lateef said he can’t say exactly what the school board will decide in the coming weeks regarding the budget, but he doesn’t think the school division will be able to pay for the planned 4.8% raises for teachers and staff due to the cuts in funding from the county and the state. 

“The question is can we do any raise at all? I think the school board is working on that,” Lateef said. 

The board is trying to preserve the spirit of its initial budget, Lateef said, including funding for economically disadvantaged students, employee pay raises and targeted pay increases for teachers with one to three years of experience. 

“The big ticket items have to be addressed, can we afford them?” Lateef said. “The answer is, ‘no,’ we can't afford them the way they look now. We’re going to have to adjust that. And I think the board will like to maintain the spirit of what we were trying to invest in.”

The division’s 100 schools have been closed since March 14. School officials have passed out available digital devices to high school students and have ordered about 15,500 laptops that are expected to arrive in May.

While the board will consider cuts to the budget, Lateef said investing in online learning, computers and professional development for remote learning has become increasingly important amid school closings due to the pandemic.

“Just by nature of the COVID-19 catastrophe, we’ll have to increase spending in those areas,” Lateef said.

The school board is set to hold a public meeting electronically at 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 6, and staff are set to provide a budget update.

“I commend the board of county supervisors under Ann Wheeler to at least get us what they got us,” Lateef told InsideNoVa on the phone Friday. “I’m grateful for her leadership.” 

Dave Sinclair, the county’s director of the management and budget office, said in an email the county is allocating $18.1 million more than the county dedicated to the division in the current fiscal year.

School officials estimate they’ll see about 953 more students next year. According to the division, the cost of teaching those additional students is $17.6 million. The division currently has more than 91,500 students.

“So we still have to hire new teachers,” Lateef said. “As we grow, it’s hard to not hire positions.” 

(9) comments

toomanypeople

JUST A MINOR DETAIL: "Dave Sinclair, the county’s director of the management and budget office, said in an email the county is allocating $18.1 million more than the county dedicated to the division in the current fiscal year." The County Board of Supervisors and the County School Board are PLAYING WORD GAMES. The initial budget proposal must have been $58,000,000. They got $18,000,000 MORE than last year. These tax & spend Democrats will bleed the county dry.

Allen Muchnick

The article says that while the County will give the School Division $18 M more than in the current year, the cost to educate the estimated 953 students that will be added to the school population is estimated to be $17.6 M. Thus, the true net increase funding is $400,000, which is well below the general rate of inflation.

Citizen52

County educators received large raises for the 2019-20 contract year, largely due to funds from the State. When the country is facing a likely depression rivaling that of the 20th century, everyone is going to need to tighten their belts for awhile. Too many people have lost, or will lose their jobs, so those of us who have jobs should be thankful for the salaries we have. Focus needs to be on those who are truly suffering as a result of this pandemic.

Che

With the exception of last year's much overdue "large raise"...PWCS educators have "tightened their belts" the previous 10+ yrs.

Citizen52

In depressions, Che, belt-tightening gets even worse. Those of us with salaried jobs are fortunate, no matter how little we get.

toomanypeople

From the Prince William Times: "The budget will fall about $37 million short of the $666.9 million the school board requested from the board of supervisors in the budget they approved last month." Silly me, I thought the school budget was much lower. The average cost per student each school year is $18,400. UNBELIEVABLE!

yellowz51

This county (Prince William) spends too much time comparing itself to Fairfax and Arlington and their economic might due to their large concentration of businesses. Instead they need to admit that for the most part Prince William is made up of working class people who work in small businesses to support themselves. As such, you cannot squeeze blood out of a turnip to support pie in the sky spending. My recommendation is to throw the Dems out, including our incompetent board chair during the next election cycle!

icrazyhorse

A pay raise, if any, for PWC county employee, including teachers, should be limited to the annual inflation increase for Social Security recipients.

Shoefink

PWC taxpayers should not give in to any demands and not pass any resolutions that come up on Election Day. You are just giving these Democrats what they want. Education in PWC is awful. Every year they ask for $300 million, $500 million, etc. Meanwhile they are giving themselves a 20% raise and a cost-of-living raise. Where are they suppose to get these millions, the Virginia Lottery when started was to fund the entire education in PWC. Many people are getting rich by stealing money and going blue and now considered a sanctuary county, get ready for tough times ahead. Forget Fairfax and Arlington. Do you want Amazon 2 HQs in Haymarket? Didn’t think so. Stick to your own county’s problems and there are a boat load of them and more to come. Your real estate taxes and personal property taxes are going to double the next five years. To bad Maureen Caddigan turned down having metro in PWC in the 70’s. Now we are seeing the harm it has done. Car insurance premiums have tripled in last 5 years and home insurance has doubled. Not because of prices of homes going up. They have barely went up since 2007. You are paying for the free gimmies that you are paying for the illegals. I see 24 year old illegals driving $100,00 Mercedes and $150,000 Cadillac Escalades. So where do they get their money? They pay cash therefore they do not need insurance. They own the vehicle so insurance is not needed. You are paying for it with uninsured motorist fee and underinsured motorist fee, What? You are also paying for their free cell phones given to them upon entering this country with 200 free minutes per month. Then the infrastructure is a mess. Housing build for a family of 4 back in the 70’s has 12-15 people living in it with 10 vehicles. How many flushed down the toilet per day is that? Hard time finding room to park on your street? Move to Dale City. No association. You can park anywhere on your property you wish. You can have your own car lot in your back yard on the grass and it’s legal. Go to Montclair and see what an association does? Dale City has cars parked under stop signs, parked on streets with dead tags or no tags, trash in the front yard because back yard is full of cars, and it’s all legal and they know it but problem is nobody wants to talk and complain so this is what you now have folks and it will get much worse with crime, robberies, stolen cars, breaking in homes, etc. These illegals don’t care. They don’t pay no taxes. It’s all cash. They stay under the radar. Fill out no forms. If they happen to get busted, they just go to an old cemetery where there are hundreds of graves pre-1950 with names and social security numbers on the headstone. Hundreds and hundreds of them. No way to track them. No paperwork, to old. No computers, to new. Good money to sell on side for $50 each when taking photo of each tombstone. Make English the official language of the United States with a stroke of the pen from an Executive Order from the President and things will change instantly but for now it MexAmerica we now live in and in 5 years Spanish language will be dominant and Hispanics will run the show and a civil war will occur.

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