The Prince William County School Board received the formal presentation of the $861,217,620 FY 2013 School Budget and Capital Improvements Program on Wednesday night.
The proposed FY 2013 operating budget represents an increase of 6.2% or $49,903,501 from the previous year.
Prince William County Superintendent of Schools Steven L. Walts set the tone for his presentation with the warning after successive years of funding difficulties, the school division will face significant challenges for the 2012-2013 school year due to three factors.
Citing the $27,260,00 cost associated with the projected increase of 2,767 additional students, the loss of Cost of competing adjustments of $10.8 million, and a $31.2 million increase in Virginia Retirement System (VRS) costs for FY 2013, Walts announced that there would not be any funds budgeted for pay raises for divisional employees for another year.
Despite limited funding, Walts assured the board that no layoffs are planned and medical expenses for employees would not increase.
“We will meet the needs of our students and we will do it with no plans for a reduction in force resulting in the loss of any jobs at least at this point in time,” he said.
He further recommended that any additional funds be applied to employee salaries.
Although the budget does not yet reflect the loss of the cost of competing funds from the state budget, which Virginia offers to school districts to offset the cost of attracting and retaining employees, Walts said, “We remain hopeful that this burden will be lifted during the current legislative session.”
If these funds are not restored, Walts said it could necessitate cuts in programs, services, and personnel.
According to Walt’s address, major provisions of the proposed budget include:
- No significant program reductions or expansions
- The budget will provide for increased student enrollment and Virginia Retirement System costs
- Employee health insurance rates will not increase
- Funding will be provided for a projected increase in fuel expenses
- A required five-cent increase in the price of a school lunch and breakfast
Furthermore, the proposed budget funds Capital Improvements Programs including:
- The opening of Ronald Wilson Reagan Middle School
- The new replacement for PACE West
- Classroom additions at Swans Creek and Westridge Elementary Schools
- Completions of renovations at Pennington Traditional School and Pattie/ Washington-Reid Elementary School
- The continuing renovations and addition to Potomac High School
- The beginning construction at the new Nokesville K-8 replacement school
- The construction of additions at Benton and Potomac Middle Schools, as well as at Loch Lomond, Mullen, Penn, Sinclair, Sudley, and West Gate Elementary Schools
PWCS anticipates saving $5,170,000 in reductions including energy savings programs, elimination of the use of outside counsel, as well as the elimination of CIP tech projects. The budget also includes an additional $10 million in FY 2012 carry-over funds.
“Prince William County Public Schools’ team is united in addressing limited funding through solid management, efficiency, financial prudence, and even sacrifices when needed,” Walts said. “We will not lower our expectations and we will continue to deliver academic success.”
Walts will present the budget to the public on Feb. 6 at 7 p.m in the School Board Meeting Room of the Edward L. Kelly Leadership Center. Those wishing to offer feedback on the budget will have their first opportunity to speak at this meeting. The School Board will also hear public comments during “Citizens’ Time” at the regular School Board meetings on Feb. 15, March 7, and March 21.
The Board will formally vote on the budget at the March 21 meeting.
View the entire budget presentation here.
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