The Prince William County School Board voted five to three Wednesday to reduce the length of the teacher workday from 7.5 hours to 7 hours.

The change will revert school work hours to the length they were prior to 2012; the measure goes into effect for the 2016-17 school year.

Potomac School board member Justin Wilk supported the action, along with Chairman Ryan Sawyers, Lillie Jessie (Occoquan), Willie Deutsch (Coles) and Diane Raulston (Neabsco.)

Gil Trenum (Brentsville), Alyson Satterwhite (Gainesville) and Loree Williams (Woodbridge) voted against the measure, saying they would rather support other changes to allow teachers more flexibility and autonomy in their use of planning time.

Wilk posed the the issue months ago, claiming teachers felt the initial 2012 vote was a punitive move against them.

Members were united on the need to boost teacher morale.

“I think, amazingly, we’re all on the same page,” Sawyers said.

Before the vote, Dr. Jennifer Cassata, Director of Accountability, presented the finding of a survey PWCS gave to teachers to help the administration better understand their feelings about the additional 30 minutes.

Good for the School Board.  Finally.   Yes, the addition of the half hour 4 years ago was a slap in the face.  It simply said no real raise but give us more time and like it.

No teacher walks in when the bell rings and walks out at dismissal.  There are always mandatory meetings, conferences or some other non-teaching duties that must be attended to.  This move by the School Board was symbolic but important to morale.

Here’s a novel idea–why not shorten the day AND allow more flexibility?  How about adding a couple personal days to those 3 days teachers already get?  How about making them unrestricted personal days for a full week?  There’s a start at saying the School Board  knows they are screwing their employees.  It’s sort of an “I’m sorry.”

Until the Board of County Supervisors stops playing on the cheap and supports education, this is just how things will be.  Classrooms will be over-crowded and teachers will be stressed.  The BOCS is too busy playing politics to notice.

The last laugh will be when no one goes into the field because of the crappy conditions.   Meanwhile, good for the SB for getting rid of the dreaded extended school day.

2 Thoughts to “PWC School Board reduces teacher day by 30 minutes”

  1. Bill Hosp, PWFT President

    Prince William Federation of Teachers proudly supported this change. As was stated during the debate, the problem for teachers was not what had been done but the way it had been done. If administration wants to keep up with neighboring counties let them pay teachers for the additional half hour and teachers will gladly accept that. The benefit to students, parents and the community is improved teacher morale, which makes it easier to recruit and retain world class teachers to deliver the lessons. For teachers this was a hard won victory and an example for all employees to stand up for their right to fair treatment.

    1. Welcome Bill. Thanks for weighing in on this issue.
      When I was in the classroom, we always called it “PWC getting its pound of flesh.”
      I thought it was a particularly offensive thing to do.
      The new edict also affected things most people wouldn’t think about–altering the terms of the ROP contract, for example.

      Teacher morale is critical to getting the most bang for your buck. Frankly, after spending a lifetime as an educator and as a child of 2 educators, if my kids of gkids said they were going into teaching I would probably refuse to pay for their college. The respect just isn’t there.

      Just since I retired, raises have stagnated, step-increases are practically non-existent, and teachers now pay a big chunk of their own retirement with VRS, and the matching supplemental retirement is anemic. No thank you. Every day I thank my lucky stars that I had the time in to get the hell out.

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