January 20th to be School Holiday

As a result of School Board action at its meeting on Wednesday, December 3, this year’s Prince William County Public School calendar has been revised. Inauguration Day (January 20) will be a school holiday for all students and staff. In exchange, Presidents Day, which falls this year on February 16, will be a regular school day. This calendar adjustment will be in effect every four years effective January 2009.

All schools and School Division offices are closed on Monday, January 19, in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day and on Tuesday, January 20, for Inauguration Day.

More information will be forthcoming on elementary level parent/teacher conferences and the high school testing schedule.

I am not sure how this will effect education but it should ease the traffic situation.  We apparently have become more a part of the metropolitan area.

[UPDATE: Manassas Park Schools will also be closed Inauguration Day, Jan 20]

VA Budget Woes Increase Financial Anxiety in PWC

Yesterday Governor Tim Kaine and his financial advisors discussed a nearly $2.8 Billion dollar deficit for the state. He will present his budget revisions to the General Assembly December 17. The news is going to be grim. Yesterday Gov. Kaine met with Barack Obama in to discuss the economy. The FY 2010 budget begins July 1.

The pain, however, is not being evenly felt. Arlington has a huge commercial tax base which will help keep it from total hard times. The huge decrease in home values in Prince William County has eviscerated county finances. PWC lacks the extensive commercial tax base that Arlington enjoys.

Less money will go to Richmond and in turn, that means less money for localities. Arlington County officials are considering an increase in 1.7 cents for next year, although that wouldn’t totally fix their budget deficit.

The PW BOCS is still playing around with the tax rate. At last glance it appears that $1.13.[correction from $1.16 to $1.13] was being considered. Currently the tax rate is at $.97. Even with the increase in rate, most residents will find their tax bill less because of the substantial drop in property value. The average home value in PWC has dropped about 30%. PWC has the most foreclosures in the state of Virginia.

The PWC BOCS is looking at a variety of ways to help keep the wolf away from the door, including enacting cigarette, admissions and meals taxes. Chairman Corey Stewart was quoted as saying “We ought to focus our guns on core issues and not get sidetracked by other things.”

According to an article in the Washington Post:

Prince William, which has the highest number of foreclosures in the state, wants additional authority to place liens on vacant property to help recover the cost of cleaning graffiti. It also wants to extend liability protection to neighboring property owners who mow grass or remove trash and debris from vacant properties.

What else does Stewart have in mind? Obviously his Immigration Resolution didn’t bring in the savings we were promised. Of course, no one believed that one. That was just a way to fool people and even at that, only a few bought in to that blarny.

The school system will be slammed by these cuts. Already there is talk of no cost of living increase for employees and larger sized classes. There is also talk of delaying capital improvements which would include delaying the building of a new, much needed high school.

Are there solutions to lessen the problems facing PWC? Would people be content having the 2010 tax rate even higher to maintain services? Would a higher tax rate drive out businesses?

Having the most foreclosures in the state of Virginia is sure a distinction I could do without.