Superintendent Unveils School Budget Revisions

| March 15, 2012 | 0 Comments | News

Dr. Walts proposes a 2 percent raise for teachers, a small increase in class sizes, and the postponment of construction on the Devlin elementary school by one year.

At the School Board work session on Wed. night, Superintendent of Schools Steven L. Walts publicly revealed several budget scenarios that would provide different levels of pay raises to all School Division employees.

The board reviewed the four options on the table and settled on a combination of the various plans, which would allow every educator to receive a 2 percent salary increase for the 2013 school year. The raise, would not be a step-crease, and thus not guaranteed in future years.

To make the 2 percent increase possible, the Prince William County School board agreed to a 0.5 precent reduction in staff, which would result in approximately 48 jobs and an additional 39 teaching positions. However, Dr. Walts said he feels confident that by eliminating new positions, he can head off any reduction in force.

However, in deciding not to fill new positions, the district would also be increasing their already infamously high class sizes. PWCS already have the highest class sizes in the state, and under the new budget, they would be pushed even further to the state maximum allowances. Under the new budget plan, middle school class sizes will increase by 0.5 percent, and high school classes by 0.3 percent.

Other attempts at cutting costs included postponing the construction of the Devlin Road elementary school, and to reduce overtime costs by $307,742.

The cost savings discussed thus far, only adds up to a 1.85 percent raise, so the school board instructed Walts to find an additional $890,000 which would give the addition .15 percent needed to fund 2 percent division-wide.

In last week’s Prince William County Board of Education meeting, Chairman At-Large Milton C. “Milt” Johns directed Walts to explore FY13 budget options that would address the lack of funding for several years of raises.

A full step increase on the salary scale requires $17 million in funding with an additional $6 million for each one percent cost of living increase.

Walts’s response to the Board’s original directive to find room in the budget to fund raises for educators included four budgets with varying levels of labor reductions, ranging for a salary scale increase of 2.85 percent to a 1 percent raise.

The new budget was in response to a “work to rule” protest staged by educators in the county to protest the lack of raises in the previous budget proposal. In recent weeks, organized groups of teachers have participated in “grade-ins” at locations in the eastern and western ends of the county.

The school budget cannot be officially finalized until the administration hears what it will be getting from the state. They are also making assumptions based on the advertised county budget, which can go no higher than 1.215 advertised tax rate, but may fall lower.

Walts emphasized that if any funds become available, he will recommend that they be used to increase salaries.

The board plans to consider Walts’s budget suggestions and will vote on the new FY13 budget proposal on Mar. 21.

Meanwhile teachers are not fully satisfied with their 2 percent raises, and prefer a return to the step-system. They also worry about the possible elimination of positions.



© 2012, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

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