Provided by Prince William County Schools (PWCS)
The PWCS School Board unanimously approved the FY 2019 Capital Improvements Program and school budget in the total amount of $1,508,716,252 on March 22. The budget provides for a full-step increase for all eligible employees (average 2.7 percent pay increase). The PWCS budget will be presented to the Prince William Board of County Supervisors on April 3. The Board of County Supervisors will consider approving the PWCS budget on April 30.
While discussing the budget, several School Board members said they would have preferred to add a cost of living adjustment (COLA) for employees. However, the significant cost ($15 million) and competing priorities prevented that from occurring for the FY19 budget. They did state they will continue to discuss a COLA into the future.
Throughout the budget process, School Board members discussed their desire to ensure safe and secure schools. The budget includes increased funding for school security, as well as an additional 13 social workers, a position to address human trafficking, a mental health specialist, psychologist and three additional high school counselors.
The budget gives a supplemental pay rate increase for coaches and teachers who supervise clubs, as well as substitutes and temporary employees. Bus driver positions will be reclassified from Grade 5 to Grade 6, which will significantly increase the starting pay.
The budget funds 1,100 new students, the fall opening of the new Independence Nontraditional School, and the acquisition of the 14th high school site. Additionally, it will fund completions of additions to Lake Ridge Middle School and Pattie Elementary, and the commencement of additions at Antietam, Lake Ridge, Springwoods, Leesylvania and Minnieville Elementary Schools, and Stonewall Middle School. It will also fund renewals for River Oaks, Leesylvania, Marshall, Montclair and Old Bridge Elementary Schools.
The Washington-Reid building will be converted into a preschool center, and a turf field will be added at Woodbridge High School and Stonewall Jackson High School. The budget also supports the continuation of all existing programs and services, with a few minimal spending reductions, and maintains career pathways and specialty opportunities for both career and college-bound students.