UPDATED: Prince William School Board Chose Not to Extend Superintendent’s Contract Wednesday

| May 24, 2018 | 0 Comments | Education

Prince William County Superintendent of Schools Steven L. Walts.

The Prince William County School Board took no vote in closed session, May 23, in regards to Superintendent Steven Walts’s evaluation.

This means his contract has not be extended an additional year or more, nor is he receiving an additional pay raise or additional benefits in the 2018-19 school year or beyond.

However, the board could still decide to take some action on the contract before July 1, 2018.**

School board member Loree Williams (Woodbridge) said the board is still legally obligated to conduct an evaluation and a vote, so the process is not yet over. Williams said the board decided to go about the process a little differently this year. She said from her perspective, the board did not want to make it too late of a night and would rather return with fresh eyes.

The superintendent’s contract currently guarantees employment until 2021 barring extreme circumstances such as criminal activity.

Walts makes over $400,000 annually, including a base pay of $315,603.20*. He also receives supplemental income, including dependent care, home security and retirement contributions. His most recent salary agreement took effect July 1, 2017.
The school board evaluates a superintendent primarily upon five criterion, which the school board determines the previous year.

This contract evaluation, or lack thereof, comes during a time in which the community has been vocal about personnel issues within Prince William County Schools.

There has been significant community outcry over the retention of principals who have had teachers speak out against them, especially the principal of Ronald Reagan Middle School in Haymarket. It also comes during a time when parents are alleging that Prince William County Schools does not always provide special education services required.

Although said principal has been moved out of RRMS, many felt that action did not go far enough.

Ronald Reagan Community members were further angered by a letter they received from the school district saying that the principal would be moved to HR. The letter also said an investigation found the trouble to be limited to a small group of dissatisfied employees. The Prince William Education Association echoed the community’s dissatisfaction about the way employees have been treated by senior staff.

Several teachers and the PWEA claimed PWCS lacks a fair or confidential means to allege a formal complaint against an employer without the fear of retribution. The school board unanimously passed a proposal looking to address this issue at their last school board meeting.

The school board also voted 5-3 that Walts not participate in a listening tour around the county to engage with parents.

Alyson Satterwhite (Gainesville), Gil Trenum (Brentsville) and Willie Deutsch (Coles) supported the listening tour, but others worried it could open the school up to lawsuits for discussion of private personnel matters.

Last year, the school board extended Walt’s contract until 2021, and he received the same percentage pay raise as teachers and staff,  2.8%. Next year, salaried employees will receive a an estimated 2 percent step increase and possibly additional raises coming from the state.

 This is the first year of Walts’s contract that he did not receive an extension on the date of the evaluation since his tenure began, according to Coles school board representative Willie Deutsch.
Deutsch offered this comment:
There have been a number of questions about the superintendent’s evaluation. Last night, the school board had their annual meeting to evaluate the superintendent. Just like any employee evaluation, that discussion and the evaluation itself are confidential between the employer and employee. While the evaluation is private, the superintendent’s contract and any vote on it is public. Every year before there has been an addition of time and/or money to his contract. (Last year I voted against the addition.) This year was the first year that no addition was made to the contract on the day of the evaluation.
Last year, Chairman Ryan Sawyers joined Deutsch in voting against the addition of time and money to Walt’s salary. The vote also immediately followed an announcement that Sawyers was suing Walts.
This year is different in that Barbur Lateef is the new Chairman At-large.
In a town hall meeting, Alyson Satterwhite said that if the community wanted the school board to terminate the superintendent’s contract it would require buying out his contract and she estimated that would cost $1.5 million.
*This article has been updated, May 24 at 3:20 p.m., with the exact number of the superintendent’s base salary, and the superintendent’s contract document has been attached.
**According to board members Loree Williams (Woodbridge) and Willie Deutsch (Coles) the school board could decide take action before July 1, which is the start of the new fiscal year. We added new information from Loree Williams as of 6:15 p.m., specifying that the school board will still need to conduct and evaluation and a vote. 

© 2018, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

Facebook Comments
Print Friendly

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Category: Education

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

banner ad