Lawson, Candland Propose Plan to Fund Class Size Reductions

| April 15, 2015 | 0 Comments | News
LawsonCandland

Supervisors Jeanine Lawson and Pete Candland.

Supervisor Jeanine Lawson (R-Brentsville) and Supervisor Pete Candland (R-Gainesville) believe they have found a way to dedicate annual funds towards decreasing class sizes in Prince William County Schools without raising taxes.

Last week, Supervisors  Lawson and Candland announced an innovative plan to address overcrowded classrooms within their proposed FY2016 budget. The plan would invest $30 million dollars over the next five years to reduce class sizes. Funding for this program will be drawn from Recordation Tax revenue that currently funds transportation projects and smaller items within the budget. However, the Supervisors, with recommendations from a citizens’ budget committee, have identified the funding strategy to move transportation funding over to the General Fund without raising taxes.

“One of our highest priorities has to be to provide the best education we can for our kids. Having the highest class sizes in the Commonwealth prevents us from reaching that goal, and it has become a crisis that we have to solve now. The time has come that we must put excuses behind us and get serious about addressing this issue. Because of the flaws in the current Revenue Sharing Agreement which funds education, we have dug ourselves into a hole that will take bold actions to overcome. Budgets are about priorities, and it is time we prioritize reducing the large class sizes that are putting our kids at a huge disadvantage,” Supervisor Candland said.

Currently, Prince William County has the largest average class sizes in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Prince William County Schools also ranked toward the bottom of SOL scores and SAT scores in Northern Virginia.

Supervisor Lawson added, “I am pleased this program will allow us to allocate funds that are dedicated to class size reductions in our schools without adding an additional burden on our taxpayers. We have some of the best teachers in the country, and they need our support to help alleviate this tough situation that requires them to teach large numbers of children in overcrowded classrooms. Our Class Size Reduction Program will place money directly where it is needed, and the schools will be able to address the issue of our overcrowded classrooms. I understand this will take hard work to implement, but I’m hopeful our fellow Supervisors will join us to approve this program.”

The Class Size Reduction Program will put $2 million each year into class size reduction and will require the School Board to provide a detailed accounting to demonstrate this money went to address this issue. If the School Board can show this money went toward class size reduction, the BOCS will provide an additional $2 million per year, capping at $10 million per year after five years.

According to Supervisor Candland’s office, Chairman Corey Stewart (R) has endorsed the plan.

Derived from a Press Release provided by Supervisor Candland’s office.

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