Prince William County Schools to Lessen Site-Based Management

Central office will play a greater role in allocating of funds within schools


Superintendent of Prince William County Schools, Dr. LaTanya McDade, sent a memo to staff, Tuesday, explaining that her administration is in the process of lessening site-based management to better unify the school division. 

"We must work diligently to operate as a unified school system and not a system of schools," McDade said, explaining that "Organizational Coherence" is a key tenant of the division's official Strategic Plan. 

The letter primarily addresses budgeting issues. It indicates that a new structure would lessen the responsibility of principals to enact budgetary decisions at their respective schools. Instead, those decisions would be made by higher-level administrators, who would oversee the allocation of funds to create coherence across the division. 

McDade said the changes would free up principals to spend more time on "effective delivery of instruction." It would lessen perceived inequities and make sure that everyone has a clear understanding of their role in the division. It would also mean that principals would not be responsible for "negotiating" competing interests if funding was more standardized. 

The structure of the new system has yet to be determined but McDade has invited stakeholders to take part in the process. 

She has tasked a Site-based Management Steering Committee of 25 members with creating a framework for how a new unified system would operate. Thirty-nine parents, teachers, principals, administrators and other community stakeholders have been invited to serve in an advisory role on a subcommittee. 

Bristow Beat is in the process of inquiring more about the possible scope of the changes. 

November 29, 2022

Dear PWCS Principals, Staff, and Employees,

One of the four commitments of our Strategic Plan is Organizational Coherence. We must work diligently to operate as a unified school system and not a system of schools. This occurs when we commit to a shared vision and standards of excellence.

Organizational Coherence represents the conscious commitment to align the entire school division as one team, united in a singular promise to support all schools, students, and families. We are working toward convergence, operating as a unified school system with shared accountability for school and division goals in service of the instructional core.

A progressive step toward organizational coherence is ensuring all PWCS schools and offices are clear in their roles and responsibilities with established and unambiguous decision-making authority and accountability.

In some cases, the concept and implementation of “site-based management” within PWCS has led to confusion, perceived inequities, and prioritized the negotiation of funds between instruction, support, and resources above the focus on academic outcomes. Without division support, site-based practice narrows administrative efforts on financial supervision and hinders instructional extension, expansion, and enrichment for staff and student benefit. The division is responsible for alleviating the responsibilities for principals so they may focus on the effective delivery of individualized instruction.

All members of the PWCS community are essential in making the Strategic Plan come to life as a living, breathing road map for improvement at scale. For an effective use of site-based management, standards must be established to define what is managed centrally and what is managed at the site level. These standards are integral to the success of administrators earnestly learning and practicing as instructional leaders in service of the instructional core. Thus, PWCS is committed to developing renewed standards for site-based management.

To develop these standards for organizational coherence and toward division convergence, we have established a Site-based Management Steering Committee. The 25-member committee, including three co-chairs—Dr. Carol Flenard, deputy superintendent, Kathleen Addison, director of budget, and Dr. Michelle Colbert, assistant director of human resources—have a goal to define and document site-based standards and requirements for operational excellence. Additionally, 39 individuals were invited to serve on working subcommittees. These subcommittee members include students, parents, community stakeholders, teachers, principals, assistant principals, and division leadership.

Staff members were provided with a tentative timeline with target dates for when the changes would be enacted. 

We will provide you with further updates as the work progresses, and together, we will shape a stronger school division for everyone.


justin david wilk

LaTanya D. McDade, Ed.D.  

Carol E. Flenard, Ed.D.
Deputy Superintendent

McDade, Prince William County Schools, site-based management, committee, PWCS, principals, budget, finance, changes, Superintendent, Superintendent LaTanya McDade, Dr. McDade,


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