Prince William Co. school head proposes ‘largest pay raise in a decade’

WASHINGTON — Prince William County Public Schools Superintendent Steve Walts has proposed an almost 5 percent raise for all teachers and staff, as part of the Virginia school division’s proposed $1.13 billion budget for fiscal year 2019-20.

“I am very pleased tonight to propose a step increase for all eligible employees in addition to a cost-of-living increase,” Walts said, during Wednesday’s school board meeting. “This will total an average of approximately 4.8 percent per employee in pay for teachers and support staff.”

“This is the largest pay raise in a decade,” said Walts.

Walts said Prince William County Public Schools receive the second-lowest per-pupil allocation of any school system in the D.C. area.

“Four thousand dollars less per student than Fairfax County, and $2,600 less than Loudoun County, and nearly $8,000 less per pupil than Arlington County,” said Walts. Prince William and Loudoun counties lead Virginia in population growth.

Walts said a recent consultant review has determined several hundred positions are less-than-competitive in the National Capital Region.

“Four hundred seventy five positions found to be below market are being adjusted to better align with surrounding school divisions and employers,” Walts said.

Walts also proposed a 2 percent increase in the stipend for coaches: “From robotics to football and other athletics, for piano accompanists, and drama coaches, and all other performing arts stipends.”

Since mental health “continues to be a key concern,” Walts proposed hiring “46 new counseling positions, at the elementary, middle and high school level, as well as more psychologists and social workers, to support mental health work in our schools.”

“Every single school, for the very first time, will benefit from the care of a full-time, on-site nurse,” said Walts, to applause.

The school board will hear public input on the proposed budget Monday, Feb. 11.

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