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Prince William Supervisors Affirm ‘Red4Ed,’ Prioritize Public Education

| February 5, 2020 | 0 Comments | Education

Riley O’Casey, President of Prince William Education Association, thanks the Prince William Board of Supervisors for endorsing the RED4ED Resolution.

Prince William County Supervisors resolved to recognize and support the state-wide pro-public education “RED4ED” movement at their Feb. 4 board meeting, adopting a resolution put forth by Occoquan Supervisor Kenny Boddye (D). 

The resolution affirms the supervisors’ commitment to prioritizing funding for public K-12 education and formally requests that their local state legislators and the governor do the same when setting their budget. 

This resolution bodes well for educators and students in the county; it indicates the supervisors are likely to provide increased funding to the school division for fiscal year 21.

RED4ED -by which educators wear red and lobby their elected officials- supports public school students and educators in the Commonwealth. Participants ask that education in Virginia be well-funded on behalf of students. Participants further lobby for competitive compensation for Virginia educators. Virginia ranks 33rd* for average teacher salary in the nation, and Virginia educators earn an average of $9,316 annually under the national average.

Virginia educators held a rally at the Capitol building in Richmond, Jan. 27, organized by the Virginia Education Association [NEA]. The NEA is not a “union” as Virginia is one of only five states that does not allow collective bargaining for its public school educators, and one of only three states that does not allow collective bargaining for any public employees. 

Riley O’Casey, Prince William Education Association President and President of the District F VEA Board, has championed RED4ED for several years extending the statewide movement into Prince William.

While touting a “World Class Education” Prince William County continues to have the largest class sizes in the commonwealth. Its class sizes exceed surrounding jurisdictions and those many jurisdictions with fewer resources although PWCS offers specialty programs that set it apart from other jurisdictions. 

Prince William County educators also make less on average salary than those working in neighboring jurisdictions, especially those nearer to D.C. Prince William salaries become more competitive as employees near retirement. 

Many new supervisors ran on a platform of increasing funding for Prince William Public Schools. 

“Thank you for all you have done for our community,” Boddye told O’Casey, presenting her with a copy of the resolution. “Our educators are the stewards of our future, and it is with pleasure that I present this to you.”

“I’m humbled. I’m almost tearing up because I feel like it is a new day in Prince William County Schools,” O’Casey said. 

“It is almost a very demeaning process to pick a color to advocate for your students, to advocate for yourself. The educators in Prince William County, the educators in the Commonwealth of Virginia will not stop fighting for what is best for our student and what is best for ourselves. And we shouldn’t have to fight not have to work three jobs, or to not have to have roommates to live as educators. I have never felt so much support from the Board of County Supervisors as I do now. Thank you to those who are wearing red. Thank you so much.” 

*The VEA says Virginia ranks 32nd in average teacher salary according to the Capitol News Service article, Jan. 28. 

© 2020, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

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