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Schools Could Lose $3M in Budget Vote Today

Prince William County Schools could receive $3 million less over five years if a lower tax rate is adopted. But, changes to the five-year plan could make up the difference.

The Prince William Board of County Supervisors held a non-binding straw vote April 17 on a $1.209 tax rate per $100 of assessed property value, lower than the .

If adopted, the change from a $1.215 advertised tax rate to a lower, revenue neutral tax rate of $1.209, as suggested in last week’s budget markup, would yield nearly $3 million less for the school system over the next five years.

According to InsideNova.com, budget director Michelle Casciato said the $3 million shortfall would be addressed by changes Supervisor Nohe proposed in his proposal for .

Those changes include:

  • Deferring debt-financed construction of Catharpin Park in Gainesville until 2016
  • Changing a 10 percent annual increase in employee health premiums starting in 2014 to 9 percent (which has no impact to the FY 13 budget
  • A reduction of $500,000 annually in Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act reserve to save $2 million over five years

presentation to the board April 10 included a step increase for teachers.

The presentation showed in FY 2012 in the Northern Virginia area school districts. PWCS was very lean, at a cost of $9,852 per pupil. Arlington's cost-per-pupil was $18,047, while Stafford's was $8,915.

Teachers held several grade-ins and rallies in protest of the proposed FY 2013 school budget throughout the spring. at the intersection of Prince William Parkway and Minnieville Road to protest the budget.

In the School Board’s meeting brief from April 18, Superintendent Steven Walts addressed questions about the would accompany a step increase raise for school employees.

Question #1: Who is affected by the additional 30 minutes?

  • Only the contract day for those certificated instructional personnel on Pay Grade 12 who currently work a seven-hour day, including 195-day teachers, has been changed. There is no change to the student instructional day. 

Question #2: How will the additional 30 minutes be implemented?

  • The additional time can be added to the daily schedule at the beginning or the end of the day, or evenly split between the two. In general, Walts said, the affected staff will now fulfill their responsibilities in a 7.5-hour workday rather than in seven hours. It will be a site-based decision, and specified for staff in each school’s handbook.

Questions #3: How will the extra 30 minutes affect the use of employee leave time?

  • Leave has always been accrued and charged based on contract hours (not days); this will not change. Questions have been raised about very specific situations involving the use of long-held, accumulated leave time. These questions are to be resolved following additional review.

The board will adopt its fiscal year 2013 budget in a 2 p.m. meeting at the McCoart building today. 

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