At yesterday’s BOCS meeting, the supervisors approved the budget for FY2010. The tax rate was set at $1.212 for real estate properties.
During the meeting, Chairman Corey Stewart castigated the Prince William County School Board for giving employees a 2.5% raise for next year. According to the News and Messenger:
Supervisors further approved the distribution of the county’s budget to the School Board —– though not without criticism.
“I am concerned about our school’s five-year plan,” Stewart said, referring to the School Board’s proposed budget for the next few years that shows million-dollar shortfalls. “Unfortunately, the revenue that was provided to the school system by the federal government meant many of … the cuts the schools would have had to make themselves were not necessary, because of this infusion of federal dollars.”
The schools are including 2 ½ percent cost-of-living raises for employees for fiscal 2010. Stewart saw that salary adjustment as irresponsible spending in the current tight economy and predicted the schools would face layoffs in fiscal 2012.
I don’t think that the Board of Supervisors really has the authority to tell the School Board how to spend its money. The BOCS job is to bring in the money. That was the point some years ago when Virginia finally began to have elected School Boards. The school boards are to govern the schools with no ability to raise money.
Today, the Richmond Times Dispatch reported that Virginia will undergo several initiatives to procure even more stimulus money for its schools.
Virginia educators plan to vie for additional education stimulus money through a competitive grant process offered by the federal Department of Education, Gov. Timothy M. Kaine and State Superintendent of Instruction Patricia I. Wright said today.
The state is working on a regional proposal with Maryland and Washington to win some of the $5 billion in competitive grants that will be awarded to states most aggressively pursuing reforms, Wright said.
That pot of money includes $4.35 billion in Race to the Top funds “to help states with bold plans to improve student achievement” and $650 million to assist school districts and non-profit organizations with track records of improving student achievement, according to the U.S. Department of Education.
Prince William County has the 2nd largest school system in the State. Surely if Virginia gets this stimulus money for education, Corey will not approve. Maybe he will find a way to hand it back, since it will probably be ‘just a drop in the bucket.’ Meanwhile, he will hopefully address the future money problems that both boards will have in a professional manner and will establish dialog, as Marty Nohe has proposed. Admonishing the School Board really just is not appropriate.