Prince William County School Board passes budget with 6% average employee pay raise

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The Edward L. Kelly Leadership Center serves as the administrative office facility for Prince William County Schools. (Courtesy Prince William County Schools)

The Prince William County School Board on Wednesday approved a fiscal 2025 budget and Capital Improvements Program that increases employee pay and delays construction of the county’s 14th high school, a proposal that received significant community pushback.

The approved budget includes additional items the school division added at the School Board’s March 13 work session. Those included telehealth services for all students to support mental health needs across all schools, funding for an additional human trafficking specialist, additional administrative interns at the middle and high school levels and an additional 3% step increase for teachers with 19 and 20 years of experience, among other budget lines.

The proposed budget originally included an increase for teachers with 12 to 18 years of experience, and now it will be extended from 12 to 20, while also lifting the experience cap for years of teaching service to 25 years.

The additional funding allocations will add approximately $8.3 million to the budget, which was originally proposed at $1.78 billion.

The budget includes an average 6% pay increase for employees. With a compounding effect over five years, Prince William’s average teacher salary increase will total 28.2%, according to the school system.

In addition to salary increases, the school division added $71 million to various salary scales to improve the division’s ability to retain and recruit staff.

The budget also focuses funding on early childhood and special education, with funding for the addition of 125 new teacher assistants service students with special needs, 23 kindergarten teacher assistants, 15.5 reading specialists and a stipend for Individualized Education Plan case managers.

By approving both the fiscal 2025 budget and the Capital Improvements Program, the School Board agreed to the total funds of over $2.025 billion.

Occoquan District School Board member Richard Jessie was the lone no vote, as the budget and CIP passed in a 7-1 vote. Jessie previously stated his opposition to the Capital Improvements Program because of its inclusion of plans to delay the construction of the county’s 14th high school to the 2029-30 school year.

Loree Williams, who represents the Woodbridge District on the School Board, said she supports the budget and the delay for the 14th high school, primarily because it means the school division will have time to pause and study enrollment.

“For the first time since I’ve been sitting on this board for 10 years, we’ll have the opportunity to study our enrollment in a research data-based approach that will give this board the ability to make an extremely informed decision on our boundaries,” Williams said.

Chairman At-Large Dr. Babur Lateef said he was largely in support of the budget and felt it accurately reflected the commitments laid out in the school division’s strategic plan, although he noted he understood the frustrations of community members about the delayed 14th high school.

“Investing in our schools is investing in our future and it is absolutely clear in this budget that we’ve committed to do that along with all four commitments in the strategic plan,” Lateef said. “The budget remains in strict fidelity to the plan, is strongly aligned with the work that we have been doing, the work that we need to get done and where we’re going.”

The Board of County Supervisors will review the budget and Capital Improvements Program on April 2, with final approval set for April 23.

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