Prince William County School Board proposed to provide teachers and staff with a 4.8% increase in pay starting July 1. Since March 18, public officials have closed non-essential businesses, K-12 schools, among other measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
The crisis has led the county to cut budget items across the board, including school spending.
County Executive Christopher Martino proposed April 14 to allocate $623.4 million to the school division during next fiscal year, which begins July 1. That’s about $22.7 million less than county staff's proposal Feb. 18, and puts a $37.8 million hole in the school division’s ambitious $1.7 billion budget plan.
“We don’t know if we’ll get any of the new spending,” School Board Chair Babur Lateef told InsideNoVa Wednesday.
On April 13, Board of County Supervisors Chair Ann Wheeler said she doesn’t support increasing the real estate tax rate due to the economic fallout in the community due to the pandemic.
Lateef is set to present the school board’s proposed budget to the Board of County Supervisors at its meeting 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 16, at the McCoart building in Woodbridge, but it hasn’t been updated to account for any loss in revenue, either from the county or the state.
The Virginia General Assembly is set to reconvene April 22 to consider budget amendments, and Lateef said the division is waiting for the final funding amount that the state will allocate to the school division. He said he expects to get a better understanding of what state legislators are considering starting April 22 and expects to receive final numbers from the state around April 28. County supervisors are also expected to take a final vote on the county budget April 28.
“It’s completely uncertain,” Lateef said. “Basically no one has any information. We don’t know what’s going to happen with the budget.”
He said the school board may have to plan to make big cuts to its budget after the state and county finalize how much funding to dedicate to the division.
“The county may not raise the tax rate,” Lateef told InsideNova on Wednesday. “Based on what they’re able to fund us, we’ll rework the budget.”