PWCS Superintendent Presents Six Priorities for FY 2022 Budget

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Photo by Ashleigh Henegar

By Superintendent, Dr. Steven Walts of Prince William County Schools

Dear Community Members:

I want to thank our teachers, administrators, support staff, parents, community, and School Board for their support and the great successes we have achieved this year, and for the past 16 years that I have proudly served as your Superintendent.

This past pandemic year has been unlike any other in my career – and unlike any other in modern history. Together we rallied as community, and despite significant adversity, continued to innovate, educate, and support our students. This year I propose a budget that builds upon our success and focuses on the future, with six key priorities:

1. Pandemic-related Student and Employee Support, including resources and staff necessary to continue to meet the unique and significant needs created by the COVID-19 pandemic ($1 million approximately.)*

2. Teachers and staff, providing a step of 2.8 percent average increase for eligible employees, a COLA of 1% for eligible employees, and no health care cost increase for the third year in a row ($21.3 million).

3. Educational equity, and academic achievement for all, including funding for Regional Special Education Program ($4 million), increased Summer School supports ($2 million), and English Language Arts textbooks ($1 million).

At the board meeting, Walts also mentioned the addition of a  full-virtual high school ($1 million).

4. Pre-kindergarten (Pre-K) access, adds an additional five Pre-K classrooms ($1 million).

5. Student mental health and wellness, hiring additional school counselors (15, $1.5 million), psychologists (6, $586K), and nurses (2, $195K).

6. Sustainable facilities, school safety, and support infrastructure, focusing on Capital Improvements Program investments in our oldest schools including natural daylighting (fenestration at $21 million) projects and investment in modernization of our legacy financial and payroll systems ($4 million).

I am certain that our amazing employees, students, and community will continue to build on our legacy of success and deliver a World-Class Education for every student.

Sincerely,

Steven L. Walts Superintendent of Schools

Take a closer look at the superintendent's proposed FY2022 school budget

*Bristow Beat inserted budget costs into the Superintendent's letter. These figures are based upon information presented by Dr. Walts and Associate Superintendent of Finance and Risk John Wallingford at the Feb. 3, 2021 Prince William County Schools School Board meeting. 

Most Recent CARES FUNDING 

“We are using the latest CARES funding in 5 major areas," explained Dr. Walts during his budget presentation before the school board.

  1. Hire additional temporary teaching assistants for elementary schools;
  2. Fund the deferred capital projects, deferred last year;
  3. Additional summer learning for those in need of academic support;
  4. Additional in-person and virtual tutoring options, Mondays, after-school and on Saturdays;
  5. Additional PPE as needed going forward.

CARES funding has not been rolled into the budget.

UPDATED: More Info, Feb. 4 at 1:45 p.m. 

Walts announced that the enrollment population of Prince William County Schools has declined for the first time since he has been superintendent. This is due to the pandemic, said Walts and it is happening in public schools all over the country.

Perhaps this is the reason the school division has not allotted additional funds to reduce class sizes for this coming school year. Another reason could be the unique situation created by the pandemic which has broken classes into virtual only and in-person learners separated in two houses. Finally, the creation of a virtual high school would further reduce in class population numbers.

The budget has to be approved by the school board. 

The Prince William County Schools budget is dependent upon funding from the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the budget passed by the Prince William Board of County Supervisors.

The school board has no taxing authority and receives 57.23% of the county's income (with some outliers) according to their Revenue Sharing Agreement. The Board of County Supervisors has limited oversight over the school budget. The budget is ultimate set by the school board, not the superintendent. The public has the opportunity to provide its input on the school budget.

Here is the timeline for budget meetings 

  • Feb 8 public meeting on budget
  • Feb 17 public hearing on the budget
  • Feb 24 budget work session
  • March 10 budget work session mark up
  • March 17 school board approves budget
  • April 6 presentation to the Board of County Supervisors

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