202

Prince William County School Board advances budget with highest teacher pay increase in 10 years, large pay increase for school board

This article was written by WTOP’s news partner, InsideNoVa.com, and republished with permission. Sign up for InsideNoVa.com’s free email subscription today.

The Prince William County School Board unanimously voted 8-0 on Wednesday to approve it’s $1.5 billion budget for fiscal year 2020, which starts July 1.

The budget will advance to the Board of County Supervisors for approval. It would more than double the annual pay for school board members — the first increase in 19 years.

The budget provides a cost of living increase and an increase on the employee pay scale for a 4.8 percent increase for fiscal 2020. About $30 million will fund the pay increases, said school board member Willie Deutsch, Coles District.

“This is a significant push,” he said.

The division has a revenue sharing agreement where the county agreed to allocate 57.23 percent of the county’s general revenues.

“If we continue to invest in our folks, we will see a return on investment,” School Board Chair Babur Lateef said.

The school division’s budget also includes the hiring of an additional 46 counselors for elementary, middle and high schools, as well as an increase in the number of psychologists and social workers.

School board members said the budget includes many positives, such as funding recommendations from the division’s special education audit, teacher and staff pay raises and more.

School board members Gil Trenum, Gainesville District, and Justin Wilk, Potomac District, said despite voting for the budget, they thought the school board pay increase should have been smaller.

Currently, the chair of the school board receives $13,100 a year and the seven school board members receive $12,000 a year. The fiscal 2020 budget increases school board chair pay to $28,520 yearly and school board member pay to $26,520 yearly.

Currently, Prince William’s pay for school board members ranks the school division No. 10 in the state — tied with five other school divisions who also pay their members $12,000 a year, according to data from the Virginia School Boards Association. Currently the pay for chair ranks the school division No. 13 in the state.

The proposed salaries would bump the school division up to No. 2 pay in the state for both the chair and members’ annual pay.

Fairfax County pays its school board members $32,000 yearly and its school board chair $34,000 yearly. Arlington County is currently No. 2, paying its school board chair $27,000 yearly and its school board members $25,000. Loudoun County ranks No. 3, paying its school board chair $22,000 and its school board members $20,000.

Prince William County Public Schools has about 90,876 students this school year, according to the Virginia Department of Education. Fairfax County has 187,830 students compared to Arlington County’s 27,434 students and Loudoun County’s 82,238 students.

School employee pay increases will go into effect July 1 and the school board pay increase will begin on Jan. 1, said Diana Gulotta, the school division’s spokeswoman.

All eight school board seats will be on the ballot this November. Winners of the November election will begin their four-year terms in January.

Lateef will present its budget to the board of county supervisors April 2. Supervisors are expected to approve the county budget, which includes local funding for the school division, April 30.

This article was written by WTOP’s news partner, InsideNoVa.com, and republished with permission. Sign up for InsideNoVa.com’s free email subscription today.