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Candland Suggests Repeal of Revenue Sharing Agreement with Schools

| January 2, 2017 | 1 Comment | Education


In a ‘Letter to the Editor,’ Supervisor Pete Candland (R) of Gainesville encourages the Prince William County School Board to consider the Board of County Supervisors grant to help overcrowding at schools including building the PRICE design school for the 13th high school and an eastern elementary school. 

He states that the failure of the school board to discuss funding leads him to further believe it may be time to repeal the revenue sharing agreement between the county and the schools. 

By Supervisor Pete Candland (R ) of the Gainesville District 

I would strongly encourage Chairman [Ryan] Sawyers and his Democratic colleagues on the School Board to reevaluate their refusal to allow for an impartial and fair discussion of the proposed $21.2 million classroom expansion grant that was approved on a bi-partisan basis by the Board of County Supervisors.

Supervisor [Frank] Principi [of Woodbridge] and I agreed to set aside our political and philosophical differences to address the growing crisis of the lack of classroom space in our schools. The lack of classroom space on the western part of the County is in our high schools, but that critical need is inverted on the eastern side where we have elementary school children having to attend classes in dozens of temporary trailers.

The Great Recession exposed the weakness of our housing development planning, and divisive politics over the past decade delivered the classroom shortage problem to our doorstep.

Instead of setting aside partisan politics and working together to fix the problem, Chairman Sawyers has clearly signaled that blatant partisan politics will trump good policy.

This should not be about politics, it should be about providing the best learning environment for our students.

Chairman Sawyers claims this BOCS Resolution illegally intrudes on the powers of the School Board who he claims has the sole legal authority to decide how to spend the money allocated by the BOCS for education. He is wrong on two specific counts.

First, even if you believe the Board of County Supervisors has no authority to direct or guide spending decisions by the School Board under the Revenue Sharing Agreement, we have completely fulfilled our obligation under that Agreement to fund education when we allocated the 57.23% of general tax revenues in the current budget.

Second, the appropriation of additional money to address specific education needs over and above the agreed upon funding level set in the Revenue Sharing Agreement is a perfectly legal and an appropriate response to this classroom shortage by the BOCS.

The Resolution to offer an additional $21.2 million in excess of the 57.23% of general tax revenues is no different than numerous federal or state grants for education that require those funds be used for specific purposes that the School Board regularly accepts.

For example, on December 1, 2016 Governor McAuliffe announced Prince William County schools would continue to receive funds under the federal Preschool Expansion Grant. The School Board agrees, as a condition in accepting the funding, to use that money for expanding Pre-K access for students. They have no discretion. The School Board cannot demand the federal government give them this money unconditionally and require the federal government to accept their judgment on how to best spend the money.

The BOCS Resolution to offer $21.2 million to fund expanding classroom space is exactly the same kind of funding grant.

Chairman Sawyers chooses to make this a political game. He chooses to make obstructionist arguments about having complete autonomy over every dollar the BOCS appropriates. He chooses to make politics the priority over the quality of education for our children.

We only have one choice if we want to begin to solve our overcrowding and that is to work together to use our limited resources to deliver the best quality education for the students in Prince William County.

I am convinced now, more than ever, that we need to repeal the Revenue Sharing Agreement and return to a process where the School Board is accountable for a budget presentation to the Board of County Supervisors in each of the nine statutorily mandated budgeting categories for education the Board of County Supervisors is authorized by statute to oversee.

Chairman Sawyers’ arrogant and obstructionist attitude serves his political agenda, not good public policy.

© 2017, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

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Category: Education

Comments (1)

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  1. KuroHouou says:

    Sounds like this may be the only way to get around the idiot Ryan Sawyers. Unless we can find a way to oust/impeach? Ryan Sawyers I don’t know how we can bring common sense back to the school board. He won’t even allow meetings to take place, what a dictator!

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