School Board Budget Goes to County Supervisors
The Prince William Board of County Supervisors (BOCS) spent much of their March 29 meeting getting a close-up look at the School Board’s advertised budget for the coming school year.
School Board Chairman Ryan Sawyers presented details of the FY 2018 PWCS Budget, and how it meets the needs of more than 90,000 students and 10,500 School Division employees next year and into the future. County Supervisors, School Board members and staff had a productive exchange on topics ranging from class sizes and school construction needs, to teacher pay and enrollment growth.
Funding from county revenue provides approximately half of the total PWCS budget. Final BOCS approval for the School Board’s Advertised Plan is needed by the end of April. Any BOCS changes in expected revenue would require the School Board to alter its spending plans.
Advertised PWCS Budget Passes
A $1.14 billion dollar budget will fund the education of nearly 91,000 Prince William County Public Schools students in the upcoming 2017-18 school year, contingent on expected county funding.
School Board members approved the 2018 Advertised Budget at their March 15 meeting, cementing plans to maintain all existing programs and services, and give all employees a one-step compensation increase to help retain and recruit the best teachers and staff.
The budget also confirms School Board plans to adopt a design for the 13 PWCS high school that expands its capacity by 500 students. Special funding for the larger high school, near Jiffy Lube Live in Gainesville, and site acquisition or school construction projects on the county’s east side, was included in the budget as part of an agreement with the Board of County Supervisors (BOCS).
PWCS Budget Plan Advances With Step Increase Intact
At their March 8 mark-up session, School Board members cast a straw vote supporting an enhanced version of the Superintendent’s recently amended budget proposal. Dr. Walts revised his original proposal to include a one-step advancement on the pay scale for all employees. Step adjustments result in an average 2.8% employee pay increase, but individual increases vary.
Proposed FY 2018 Budget Unveiled
The proposed Prince William County Public Schools FY 2018 budget Superintendent Steve Walts unveiled at the February 1 School Board meeting is designed to serve the needs and aspirations of each of the nearly 91,000 students expected for the 2017-18 school year. The proposed $1.14 billion operating and debt service spending plan addresses School Board priorities to maintain the incremental progress achieved to reduce class size, close achievement gaps, and limit the use of educational trailers.
“We are proud of our top-notch people, programs, and facilities that are essential to student success and continuous school improvement, but continue to find ourselves constrained by limits on funding,” Walts said. He highlighted some of the proposed plan’s benefits that reflect School Board and administration priorities.
The proposed FY 2018 budget:
- Maintains all existing educational programs and services;
- Provides more than $26 million for 2,420 students more than included in the 2016-17 budget;
- Boosts employee pay by two percent to help attract and retain the best teachers and staff;
- Funds $8.9 million in increased debt payments on needed school construction and improvements, including the new non-traditional school at Independent Hill;
- Covers costs to open the new elementary school at Potomac Shores and the replacement for Kilby Elementary School; and
- Invests an additional $8.4 million toward meeting urgent classroom, school, and Division technology improvement needs.
Financial details of the proposed budget itself were provided in a budget presentation by Associate Superintendent for Finance and Support Services Dave Cline.
Walts noted that anticipated funding from the Prince William Board of County Supervisors (BOCS) and the Commonwealth of Virginia—while higher than the year before—lags behind costs of added enrollment, inflation, and growing expectations. PWCS anticipated per-pupil funding is still among the lowest in the Washington, DC metro area.
At the School Board’s direction, Walts also included a supplemental plan identifying $11.4 million to achieve greater progress in the areas of class-size reduction, elimination of trailers, closing the achievement gaps, and other budget priorities.
School Board members will review the proposal and hear from community members, before providing input of their own. The School Board will hold work sessions and is slated to vote on a final budget and updated CIP on March 15.
View Budget Presentation.