Walts: ‘Today’s BOCS decision undoubtedly creates new challenges for the School Division’

| February 20, 2013 | 0 Comments | Education

PWCS Superintendent of Schools Steven Walts discusses the impact of the FY 2014 advertised tax rate that was passed yesterday by the Board of County Supervisors.

In a message to faculty and staff of Prince William County Schools, Superintendent of Schools Steven Walts responds to Tuesday’s vote by the Board of County Supervisors to cap the advertised tax rate  lower than initially estimated to fund the current FY 2014 school budget.

Dear Colleagues:

The Prince William Board of County Supervisors (BOCS) Tuesday afternoon voted to advertise a county tax rate below the level needed to support my 2013-14 budget proposal.

The advertised rate will produce slightly more than a 3.5% increase in the current average tax bill; that contrasts with the 4% increase that was included in the county’s approved five-year plan and used, at county direction, as the basis for my budget proposal.

The change means an estimated loss of at least $1.3 million to the School Division next year, and much more over five years. Further reductions are still possible. By law, the advertised tax rate cannot be increased, but it can still be lowered when Supervisors adopt a final tax package in approximately ten weeks.

The staring point provided by the BOCS today will demand careful consideration of how PWCS can absorb funding cuts while continuing to deliver on our commitments to our students, staff, and community.

I ask your patience and understanding as this process unfolds with the input and assistance of schools and departments Divisionwide. The School Board’s stated priorities of maintaining existing programs and services, providing competitive compensation, and trying to avoid reductions in force, will continue to guide our efforts and theirs. Our overall objective will continue to be Providing a World-Class Education to every student.

Look for further coverage of developments in the budget process on the “Budget Updates” section of PWCS.edu. Be sure to check the FAQ page for information that already sparked previous questions form others. If you have additional questions or ideas, please submit them on the PWCS “Budget Comments” Facebook Page, accessible from the “Budget Updates” site (and soon to be open to PWCS network computers in schools and offices).

Today’s BOCS’ decision undoubtedly creates new challenges for the School Division. Still, I am confident that together—aware of the vital contributions of all those who comprise our PWCS family—we will make appropriate adjustments and successfully surmount any obstacles to the future success of our students, our School Division, and our community.

Thank you for your continuing dedication and support.

Steve Walts

© 2013, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

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