School Board Chair Responds to PWC Chairman’s Criticism of School Closings

| January 31, 2016 | 0 Comments | Education
L-R Chairman Corey Stewart of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors and Chairman Ryan Sawyers of the Prince William School Board.

L-R Chairman Corey Stewart (R) of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors and Chairman Ryan Sawyers of the Prince William School Board

Prince William School Board Chairman Ryan Sawyers had a few words for Board of County Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart (R) after Stewart publicly criticized the school division for closing for a week after the blizzard. Sawyers said it takes money to clear snow, and Stewart underfunds the schools.

Friday’s blizzard caused Prince William County Schools to close for more than a week. The school division closed Thursday before the blizzard in response to a surprise Wednesday evening storm that crippled traffic in Northern Virginia. It closed again Friday, the day of the storm. Then, Prince William remained closed the entire week.

Students will return to class Tuesday after a teacher work day.

The PWCS website revealed that school parking lots had not been cleared at the same pace as the roadways. A message to cancel school said that there were still impassable roads and sidewalks in the county.

In an interview with NewsChannel 8, Thursday, Stewart criticized the school division for staying closed after roads had been cleared.

Stewart did not criticize the school board, instead put most of the blame on GenXers who are known for being very risk-averse with their children.

I think it’s really kind of ridiculous. We’ve become so risk-adverse, and it’s not just the school system, it’s my generation. We’re called the helicopter parents, and there’s something to that. We don’t want any risk what-so-ever, well, there’s no such thing as zero risk.

Stewart said it is an inconvenience for parents who return to work with their children still out of school.

And, Stewart said the days off could cut into their summer recess.

However, due to the otherwise mild winter and the school division starting before Labor Day, running out of snow days is not currently a problem for PWCS although it was last year.

While Stewart believes PWCS is being too risk-averse, the school division was widely criticized back in January of 2015 For having a delayed opening that resulted in several vehicle accidents after the road refroze, and several buses taking hours to get to their intended schools. Superintendent Dr. Steven Walts personally apologized for that decision during a school board meeting.

On his Facebook page, the Democratic-supported Sawyers blasted Stewart for his remarks. First, he dug into Stewart for his work with the controversial and often outrageous Trump campaign.

Considering how much time Chairman Stewart is spending running statewide campaigns for himself and Donald Trump I am pleasantly surprised to hear that Mr. Stewart was even aware that it snowed in Prince William County over the weekend.

Sawyers seemed to say it would have been expensive for the school division to have cleared the snow more quickly making an earlier opening possible.

I was always told that your three options are good, fast, and cheap but you can only pick two.

If you want it good and fast, it’s not going to be cheap.
If you want it good and cheap, it’s not going to be fast.
And, if you want it fast and cheap, it’s not going to be good.

And, Sawyers criticized Stewart for his under-funding of the school division, saying he should spend more time focusing on Prince William County Schools rather than the Trump campaign.

If Chairman Stewart would begin to invest properly in our school system he would see that a great school system would be able to bring businesses to Prince William County, a task that he has failed to complete, on any meaningful level, for approximately a decade.

Sawyers commended VDOT for its snow removal efforts. However, he said with such a large snowstorm it is particularly hard to dig out of sidewalks and the snow has to go somewhere.

© 2016, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

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Category: Education

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