Prince William County Schools face an unprecedented budget shortfall for the upcoming school year. In a growing county like Prince William, it is almost a given that each year the budget will grow, as the student body grows. Well, not next year.

Student enrollment is expected to increase by about 1400 students. However, the budget will be reduced by 7%. This huge reduction in spending amounts to about $57 million.

To make ends meet, teacher pay will be frozen and class size will increased. Elementary classes will be allowed up to 30 and middle and high school classes can go as high as 35 per class. Students will pay fees for the privilege of parking on campuses, playing sports, taking drivers’ education. Students will be expected to pay fees associated with advanced placement courses and also IB programs. ESOL and gifted classes will have fewer staff members. Overall, about 450 positions will be cut. Many of these positions will become open due to retirement but will not be filled.

All and all, things look very dismal for Prince William County Schools. Loudoun and Fairfax Counties have announced similar proposals. One thing is for sure. There won’t be many extras and those student material lists that are given out at the beginning of the year will be much longer. There is a new sheriff in town, and his name is NO MONEY.

It seems that that big dark screen plan didn’t work out so well. Readers will remember the theory that when all the ‘illegals’ left and there was no need for ESOL classes, we would save bundles of money and could apply it else where. I believe a surplus might have even been predicted. Well, time to pony up with that extra savings. The county sure does need it.

The Washington Post details the financial position of PWCS.

Here is the link to the Prince William County School Board Meeting . There are several lowlights towards the beginning. The ‘Other’ makes quite a display of himself. I wasn’t quite sure of his point. Apparently the board doesn’t like personal attacks on their staff.

32 Thoughts to “PWCS: Frozen Teacher Pay and Larger Class Sizes for 2009-2010”

  1. How much economic pain before they finally repeal the resolution?

  2. See comments online where illegal immigrants are blamed for the budget problems. Wasn’t the resolution a success?

  3. Slowpoke Rodriguez

    I’m still waiting to see anything close to a credible argument that the resolution is in any way a cause to our financial woes. That’s just an amazing trough of crap.

  4. Poor Richard

    From Roanoke Times editorial today:

    “If Roanoke Public Schools were a corporation, the school board would be
    forgiven if it entertained the notion of following the parade marching
    into bankruptcy court. That’s how devastating the projected loss of
    $15 millon to its operating budget is.”

    A fiscal hurricane is pounding all of us – resolution or no resolution.

  5. Moon-howler

    While there might not be a direct cause/effect relationship at this point, there sure were a lot people who predicted economic woes for the county. These economic concerns were met with grandiose plans about running off all the ‘illegals’ and using the money saved from ESOL classes in other educational areas.

    Now come on guys, don’t make me go hunt for the 50 or so ridiculous comments I read stating this dark screen economic plan. You know it was said.

  6. Moon-howler

    Poor Richard, any idea what Roanoke’s student enrollment is? Is their deficit about the same proportionally as ours?

  7. Moon-howler

    Slowpoke, I think the fact remains that PWC foreclosures were the worst in the state. Many areas in the county lost almost 50% of the home value. One has to ask themselves how much of this unique situation is a result of the resolution? People did dump their houses and leave.

    Will we ever know? No, because we will never know exactly why people left the area. Was it the perfect storm? Probably. I do think we have a situation which warns us to be very careful what we wish for and to be very careful of unintended consequences.

  8. When the undocumented Americans were exiled, the county lost all the tax revenue from the new businesses they were starting as well as all the revenue from the houses they maintained.

  9. Elena

    Once again Slow,
    You can’t have it both ways. Either the resolution worked, having spent millions of dollars, we did indeed chase out the “illegals. Now, IF that worked, where did they live, did they buy food, clothes, etc? And if they did not live on the streets naked, with no food, or any other needs, than their loss IS part of our pain. Now, if that is NOT the case, the converse is that we WASTED all that money and we still have as many undocumented people as before the impelemenation of the resolution. So which is it Slowpoke?

    Separate question to anyone who knows. Doesn’t PWC already spend less per capita on student than any other surrounding jurisdiction? What is the pay we invest in our teachers and where does that rank with other counties?

  10. A PW County Resident

    Did anyone notice whether Mr. Watts identified savings in the central staff? The cuts all seem to be where the rubber meets the road in the classroom or schools rather than also in the central staff.

    I hope the budget presentation was not the same as the “close the Washington Monument” argument used when there were budget problems in the US government just to get the elected officials to take action.

    I guess I am just an old cynic sometimes.

  11. Anonymous

    From what I gathered there have been significant cuts in central office as well. While the presentation didn’t offer any specifics, it appears that many central departments were told to cut costs by more than 10%.

  12. Moon-howler

    Elena, yes, the lowest per pupil spending in the metro area. The teachers also make less than surrounding counties. I don’t know if that is average, starting pay or top steps. I think World Class Education belongs to another era in PWC.

  13. food for thought

    With due respect, you can’t have it both ways either. Can you please specify the “millions” that have been spent on the “resolution” (or crackdown as some call it). I’m talking about specific line items and not phantom figures like, “millions of dollars.” Can you also specify what might be eliminated from future budgets to prevent additional wasteful spending? The money I always hear cited (and I know I sound like a broken record), is $15 million over the next five years. That is basically in two parts: the criminal alien police unit and the “287g” program at the jail. Do you think these should be eliminated since they don’t work? (or, alternatively, do you think they should be eliminated because they do work and have caused financial ruin for the county?). Or are you only talking about the “millions” of loss that have been speculated about on this blog (decreased tax revenue from foreclosures and businesses going under, FOIA’s, county staff time etc.).

  14. Turn PW Blue

    Teacher salaries in PWC are a little lower for starting teachers than they are in Fairfax, Arlington, Loundoun, etc., but they are competitive. You see the gap start to widen around years 3-5, just about the time teachers start to become the most effective and best at what they do.

    For details on the Superintendent’s proposed budget (which must be approved by the School Board before it’s sent to the BOCS for their approval), see

  15. Mom

    As I noted yesterday, all that site has is the executive summary and some notes. Where is the actual budget that is being summarized, according to the Finance Office it has not been written yet. Ergo my question, how can you provide a summary of a budget that purportedly hasn’t been created? My guess is that a draft actually exists but that the administration (FOIA requirements aside) just doesn’t want anybody to see it.

  16. Elena

    Food for Thought,
    FY09 was originally set to budget 6.4 million for illegal immigration enforcement, when the camera’s were defeated, it went down by 3 million. Now we are at 3.4 million for 2009. The resolution was implemented in part, in FY2008. So what did we spend in 08, I am not sure, but the entire plan was orignally going to cost 11 million, by the next budget, 6 months later, 09, we had risen to a five year plan of 25.9 million, now, as far as I can tell, even if we only implement HALF of that projected cost, it is over 12 million. THAT is millions.

    This is what I have found in my research, that when you start adding up the cost to physically deport people, those not committing felonies or dangerous crimes, you will find yourself in a position a loser cost benefit ratio. We ALREADY had 287G in our jails, prior to the resolution, we did NOT need the redundency, I still believe that to be true. I hope this answers your questions.

  17. I have to agree with Mom on this…where’s the budget? I see nothing, for instance, on the Superintendent’s salary. Did he get a raise while the teacher’s are left to flounder in this economy? The Administrative Staff deductions were just that…in staff. There’s an awful lot of unanswered questions here.

  18. Moon-howler

    I believe his raises are built in as a part of his 4 year contract. A truly decent person would decline the raise, at least until better times. When the teachers got a raise, then he could allow himself to take a raise.

    What has not been mentioned are the support non-certificated people. Do they get a raise? Also, how about the step increase. Will teachers get their step increase? That wasn’t mentioned either.

  19. A PW County Resident

    Anonymous said “From what I gathered there have been significant cuts in central office as well. While the presentation didn’t offer any specifics, it appears that many central departments were told to cut costs by more than 10%.”

    I looked on the webpage and it appears that “central services” is being cut by about $6.9 million. BUT, of the $6.9 million, $4.6 million are things like facilities maintenance (schools?), transportation (children to and from schools?) and replacement school buses (again, children to and from schools?). So of the $6.9 million for “central services”, 66% is still directly affecting the schools and the students.

  20. A PW County Resident

    Elena said “We ALREADY had 287G in our jails, prior to the resolution, we did NOT need the redundency, I still believe that to be true.”

    I have a dumb question, are the costs of 287g being counted twice or is the $25.9 million excluding the 287g?

    Thanks for providing the research and don’t want to put you to more effort but if you know off the top of your head.

  21. Moon-howler

    It shouldn’t be counted twice. That isn’t a dumb question at all. The money situation for all that is still fuzzy, in my mind. So many different figures were thrown out.

  22. Elena

    My understanding PW County Resident is that this was NEW money allocated to the NEW initiative for the resolution. As we saw in the budget cuts, one of the concerns was that there was suppose to be MORE officers added to make up for the criminal alien unit who might otherwise be dealing with a possible undocummented person. I believe, those additional officers were CUT in this budget.

  23. A PW County Resident

    Elena, you can call me PWCR if it is easier. 🙂

  24. anon

    Turn PW Blue is correct that salaries are slightly lower in PWC, but salaries are also proportionate to other prices that decline as you drive away from the DC area. So teachers in Fauq. Warren, Spots, etc. are lower than PWC as well as the per student cost but they never quote those numbers

  25. Moon-howler

    Loudoun sure doesn’t follow that theory. Manassas Park and Manassas also pay more, I believe.

  26. Manassas Park pays more for EVERYTHING…and they don’t discriminate between need and want. They have had their taxpayers trained to pay the highest taxes in the state ever since they incorporated.

  27. The City of Manassas is a far smaller jurisdiction with far less complicated budgets where they have consistently managed to keep them from getting incomprehensibly complicated. While PWC was doing little to nothing to encourage business and industry to locate in the County, the City of Manassas got IBM…same with the Manassas Airport. While the County was putzing around with volatile and hard to safely maintain watersheds, the City of Manassas built Lake Manassas…which sells water to the County (it should be noted that, at the time, Manassas offered PWC a partnership in the enterprise). Therefore, despite being a smaller jurisdiction, they have always had a much better tax base, able to provide better services, often with a far lower tax rate. All this goes back nearly four decades.

    You might want to compare apples to apples.

  28. Elena

    Thanks “PWCR” 😉

  29. Princess Billy-Bob

    Comparing teacher pay rates of adjacent jurisdictions if very much comparing apples to apples. For many years, City of Manassas and MP City all paid less than the county, from beginning salaries to upper level salaries.

    Pr. William has lagged behind in recent years. Loudoun has trumped them for several years now.

    MP schools have produced some very good things. Some of their SOL scores leave both the other City and Pr. William standing in the dust. Their accomplishments have been consistent, not just a lucky year.

    In a competitive area, higher salaries can and do attract the better teachers. I don’t know why there is a general attitude that teachers should be willing to accept less salary than other professional jobs, all for the reward of teaching little Johnny. That attitude will be drying up on the vine when millions of baby boomers call it quits and there is no one to replace them.

  30. I’m not disagreeing that teacher’s salaries should be higher PB-B…I’m talking about budget comparisons and available budgetary resources in the various jurisdictions. Frankly, I firmly believe that we’re paying way too much for administrative personnel.

  31. DB

    As a teacher this is what I have to say…as far as health benefits are concerned my family gets them thru my husbands employer, so I do not expect MCPS to pay for my health insurance and they don’t. I can say that I do have a higher teacher salary b/c I chose and paid out of my pocket to do a “lane change”. A ba plus 15 post grad credits allows a teacher to make a “lane change”. I did so at myt expense. Then I moved on from ba/15 to an MA (at my personal expense) to make another lane change. I PAID for the lane change, not the school system. If one takes what I spent in higher education, and compares it with what I took in loans to Sallie Mae plus interest, in about 10 years I should break even. That is of course if I do not head to the MA plus 30 post graduate credits tunnel.

Comments are closed.