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Some Possible Budget Savings For PWC Schools

By Greg L | 29 March 2008 | Prince William County | 25 Comments

The budget for the Prince William County Public Schools is being hammered out, and so far a majority of the School Board seems to be inclined to defer school constructions and renovations in favor of giving school administrators a 6% pay raise.  For some members of the board, the first thing to cut are facilities for students.  I’m not quite sure this is the right approach.

There are some possible alternative places where savings could probably be found, and which won’t actually impact the students in a direct way.  First on the list should be the Multi-Cultural Department.  Fairfax County doesn’t waste money on a department like this, nor does Loudoun County.  I haven’t yet found another jurisdiction in Virginia that feels the need to propagate leftist propaganda within the school system and act as an incubator for future leaders of Mexicans Without Borders as Prince William County has done.  What this costs the county is unclear, since the Superintendent’s budget doesn’t break out the costs, but this is something we certainly can do without.

It seems a little odd that when we have some schools in such need of renovation and refit and can’t afford to address these problems, but we can still seem to find money to have a bunch of administrators that don’t seem to be providing value for our students, many of whom earn six figure salaries, and be boosting their pay by more than what the overwhelming proportion of county taxpayers will get this year.  Raising salaries for teachers makes sense, but salary raises like this for administrative staff whose value for students is questionable at best just makes no sense at all.



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25 Comments

  1. Disgusted Veteran said on 29 Mar 2008 at 2:25 am:
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    Manassas Park School Superintendant recently sent a letter letting citizens know because of the subprime lending crisis and recent exodus of people from the region have caused them to try their best to keep costs down in the school system. The reason given pointed reference to the number of people who moved out leaving many foreclosures with empty properties. Since there are less residents to draw real estate tax from, I guess everyone here can take credit in having a community that would rather have a pure english speaking one than allow the value of their own homes to take a nose dive. Good job and be careful of what you wish for.

  2. AWCheney said on 29 Mar 2008 at 3:36 am:
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    Yeah, right…and poor planning, over-spending on an Elementary School (many times the normal per square foot cost of such construction), the easily predicted sub-prime mortgage market fiasco (falls under planning), and the extraordinarily welcoming “Sanctuary City” policy for people who abandoned their properties so readily had absolutely NOTHING to do with it. That’s right, good job Disgusted Veteran…I hope you’re satisfied with the policies you so fervently supported! Don’t say you weren’t warned.

  3. AWCheney said on 29 Mar 2008 at 3:46 am:
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    To get back to the issue of this thread, I don’t understand why county school administrators, some of whom are already under a possible cloud of scandal, are still employed in Prince William County, much less entitled to a raise! I concur fully, Greg, that if ANYONE is entitled to a raise it is the teachers.

    The reason we have elected School Boards is for accountability, and I believe we should hold each and every School Board Member accountable for, and closely scrutinize their actions on, this budget. It should be very telling in subsequent elections, particularly if some of these folks have higher aspirations.

  4. josh said on 29 Mar 2008 at 7:48 am:
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    # Disgusted Veteran said on 29 Mar 2008 at 2:25 am:

    Manassas Park School Superintendant recently sent a letter letting citizens know because of the subprime lending crisis and recent exodus of people from the region have caused them to try their best to keep costs down in the school system. The reason given pointed reference to the number of people who moved out leaving many foreclosures with empty properties. Since there are less residents to draw real estate tax from, I guess everyone here can take credit in having a community that would rather have a pure english speaking one than allow the value of their own homes to take a nose dive. Good job and be careful of what you wish for.

    Huh? I dont think laying the sub-prime crisis on anyone here is a very fair statement to make. The resolution happened long after people decided to foreclose on their homes. You were going good there until you decided to take a swipe at the resolution which although did drive people away but probably people who would have gone anyway because they made bad decisions and bought a home they could not afford in the first place. Can we get on target here?

  5. Big Dog said on 29 Mar 2008 at 9:31 am:
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    Think both sides toot their horns a bit too much.
    - Greg and HSM believe they helped drive the
    barbarians back from the gates through the “rule of law”.
    - MWB thinks the legislation has suddenly
    poisoned PWC for Hispanics through fear and will
    cause our economic ruin unless we repent.

    Suggest everyone look around the USA - there are
    dozens of communities that have had a sub-prime/
    housing bubble bust that had nothing to do with any
    local legislation. Elvis, the mortgage ponzi schemes
    and construction jobs have all left the building.
    The people who came to mine gold leave when the
    gold rush is over. Simple economics, more than
    heated politics, is the reason.

  6. Krutis said on 29 Mar 2008 at 9:39 am:
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    Amen to that, Big Dog!

  7. FHL said on 29 Mar 2008 at 9:59 am:
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    Ditto! Big Dog!

  8. Pat.Herve said on 29 Mar 2008 at 10:42 am:
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    why do many people think that foreclosure’s and empty properties mean less tax revenue? A property in foreclosure still needs the tax lien paid on it (by the bank).

  9. Anonymous said on 29 Mar 2008 at 1:02 pm:
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    Don’t make no sense at all, like wiping before you poop. Don’t make no sense at all.

  10. Bob Wills said on 29 Mar 2008 at 3:42 pm:
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    Greg Said

    Raising salaries for teachers makes sense, but salary raises like this for administrative staff whose value for students is questionable at best just makes no sense at all

    If the school board had any back bone they would limit the raises for the Superintendent and head Adminstrators to the same dollar amount as the lowest paid teacher not a percentage of base salary.. Teacher can not move out of the state and take with therm thier retirement and in time become locked into the local school systems with out takeing a hugh hit on income if they moved out of VA. Superintendents and other non teacher can take their retirement and go where ever they want in the country for it is not tied into the state system. If we can have different retirment and restriction on Teacher then there is no reason not to have a different way to figure pay increases for Superintendents and those who head of the different departments. The workers such a janitors and secretaries and clerks and such deserve a better rasie situation then the Superintedent.

    Does anyone know of any Superintendent who teaches a child to read or learn math or care about if a child has a coat in the dead of winter? It is the teaacher in the class room that does this and so much more.

  11. Advocator said on 29 Mar 2008 at 6:46 pm:
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    I want to know how much money they’re spending educating illegal alien children before any raises are given, any more renovations are made, any more schools are built, or any budgets are raised.

  12. anon said on 29 Mar 2008 at 8:15 pm:
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    Well we can make a guess. They have publically said that 600 ESOL students (that left the county) would save about $8 million (about $12,000 a kid) and we have 15,000 ESOL students overall. Some of these are legal, so let’s be generous and estimate that 2/3rds of them are legal, leaving 5000 illegal x $12,000 = $60 million. Ouch!

  13. Dolph said on 30 Mar 2008 at 1:52 pm:
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    anon,

    Actually, ‘they’ have have said that a net of 600 students have left the program, not the county. There is a huge difference in meaning and implication. Right now, we don’t know if all those students left the county school system or if they no longer were enrolled in the ESOL program. The math changes considerably if they are still in Prince William County Schools.

  14. Freedom said on 30 Mar 2008 at 5:37 pm:
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    But Dolph, even if all of the 600 who left ESOL did not leave the school system….and even if anon is partly wrong, and even if the $60 million is partly wrong….I’d say it’s still a pretty darned big “ouch”!!

  15. ateacher said on 30 Mar 2008 at 5:48 pm:
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    Not a single teacher or office member is allowed to ask if an incoming student and/or their families is here legally. Schools take them as they are and educate them per NCLB requirements. Yes we can speculate, but in the end we are prohibited to know anything.

  16. Gainesville Resident said on 30 Mar 2008 at 9:30 pm:
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    All I can say is I can finally shop at Walmart again without being swamped by hundreds and hundreds of chattering law breakers cluttering their isles and robbing the store blind. I’m amazed at how great this resolution has been on our local communities so quickly. Good riddance to bad rubish…

  17. Turn PW Blue said on 31 Mar 2008 at 2:44 pm:
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    GregL:

    You do realize that the limits on spending for construction and renovation are not caused by raises for anyone but rather are the result of the cap on borrowing in place to keep our county’s AAA bond rating, right? Even if we cut all “non-essential” programs, gave Walts 6% pay DECREASE, and froze teacher salaries, the schools wouldn’t be able to spend more on construction and renovation. 10% of the County budget can go to capital improvements (and that includes roads, police stations, libraries, and parks as well as schools). It is disingenuous to imply that the restraints on building and renovating are the result of an increase in salary for administrators. The deferring of construction projects is because the advertised rate ($1.00) is lower than the working rate the school’s budget office was originally given ($1.04). That lower rate means the overall county budget will be lower and, thus, the cap on capital improvements will be lower (meaning that some CIP projects will need to be rethought and deferred). In a perverse sort of way, pushing for more money for administrators and other programs actually *increases* the money available for construction and renovation because it forces the County to adopt a bigger budget (and with it, a bigger pool of capital improvements money–for every dollar increase in the county budget, another $0.10 is available for capital improvements).

    Now, if you want to talk about deferring administrator pay increases in favor of teacher salary increases, I’m all for that.

  18. Bob Wills said on 31 Mar 2008 at 2:58 pm:
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    Turn PW Blue said on 31 Mar 2008 at 2:44 pm:
    GregL:

    You do realize that the limits on spending for construction and renovation are not caused by raises for anyone but rather are the result of the cap on borrowing in place to keep our county’s AAA bond rating, right?

    PW Blue a great reply but our Chairman and the whole BOCS told us when they wanted to pass the 800 million dollar bond issue that there would be no increses in taxes to pay for thoes CIP bonds. Are you trying to tell us that Stewart lied along with the rest of the Board and the County government? How could such a rightious person such a Setwart ever do that now????? Will the public ever understand that our elected politicians got there because the public believed thier lies and the end result is nothing happens?

  19. anon said on 31 Mar 2008 at 3:02 pm:
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    Dolph
    From the Pot News:
    “Since official enrollment counts for the school year were taken on Sept. 30, about 630 ESOL students have left Prince William County schools, school division spokesman Ken Blackstone said. ”

    These kids have left totally, so we’re not talking about kids that have just gotten out of the program. 800 total kids left and 630 of those were ESOL. PWC has never had a decrease during the school year so this is quite important to consider during the budget process.

    Turn PW Blue
    You’re incorrect. The revenue cap was an issue last year however this year it isn’t an issue. There is room in the cap to fund the entire CIP as proposed, but they are saying the money isn’t there in the budget. Also the school board was given $1.01 and $1.03 as planning rates, but never $1.04.

    The school system has not proposed any cuts from what I could tell. Other than backing down on what was needed due to the 800 disenrollments, they’ve made no CUTS. Delaying badly needed construction projects as a way to meet the numbers is bad policy. Instead they need to cut things in the main office, not at the schools and certainly not the teacher’s salary increases.

    You are correct that the superintendents not receiving their full 6% wouldn’t really pay for those projects, but it would sure make the taxpayers feel better than instead hearing about $14,000 administrator raises in the same moment that they find out their school is getting yet another 10 trailers because of the budget. Most people totally support the teachers getting a full 6%, but not the highest administrators.

  20. Turn PW Blue said on 31 Mar 2008 at 3:43 pm:
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    Anon:

    When I talked with Dave Cline and Dave Beavers, I was told the initial rate they were given was $1.04. They were then told to develop contingencies for $1.03, $1.01, and $0.99. I was also led to believe that the CIP cap was still in play with the issue of putting off some projects. I may very well have been misinformed. Do you have a source for your statement that there is room to fund the whole CIP? If that is the case (and I’m not arguing that it isn’t–I really would like to see how much room is available for the CIP), I’m in complete agreement that it is bad policy to defer needed construction as a way to meet the numbers.

  21. Dolph said on 31 Mar 2008 at 4:05 pm:
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    Anon,

    Apparently you have more faith in the print media than I do. Most people on this blog call the Manassas Journal Messenger the Urinal. Since it is the same paper as the Potomac News, I assume that this paper is only worthwhile when people hear what they want to hear?

    Just be mindful that regardless of what the paper says, it might very well be a reduction in students in a program rather than a reduction in actual students.

  22. anon said on 31 Mar 2008 at 4:48 pm:
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    Here it is from the Examiner, since you don’t believe the PN:

    “Fairfax, Arlington and Alexandria public school officials have reported increased enrollment in their English to Speakers of Other Languages programs, while Prince William County announced an unprecedented drop of 630 students, or nearly 5 percent.”

    Come on Dolph, I don’t like the PN anymore than you, but both the Examiner stories and the PN story are coming directly from the press release sent out by the schools themselves. Ken Blackstone was quote directly and I’m sure there would have been a scathing column if the PN had misquoted him.

  23. Turn PW Blue said on 1 Apr 2008 at 9:59 am:
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    Dolph:

    There has been a decrease in overall enrollment with the bulk of that decrease coming from students who receive ESOL services. The net change in the enrollment is around 800 with a net change of 600 or so in ESOL. The schools are still projecting an increase in overall enrollment for next year, just not as big as originally planned (1000 vs 2000).

    Anon:
    Dolph’s point was that you cannot always equate a drop on the number of students in ESOL with a drop in actual enrollment. In some cases, students move out of ESOL because their English language proficiency has reached a point that they no longer qualify for or need ESOL services. In this case, there has also been a corresponding drop in student enrollment as well, but one does not always beget the other.

  24. anon said on 1 Apr 2008 at 5:27 pm:
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    Turn
    You are correct. I do understand that students come out of ESOL all the time (otherwise ESOL wouldn’t be working), but since it occurs every week and every year, it would have not made the news nor has the school office ever issued a press release concerning 600+ kids just leaving the program and not leaving the schools.

    This press release was specifically dealing with children who’d left completely and it seemed like Dolph was refusing to believe that and insisting that it was children leaving the program only. I just want to make clear that this is a decrease in enrollment. And next year’s projections have also been adjusted downward to reflect less students entering the system.

    This may be just the breather the schools need to play a little catch up. Maybe we can eliminate a couple more trailers as a result.

  25. Dolph said on 2 Apr 2008 at 11:51 am:
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    Thank you Turn, you said it better than I was doing.

    Anon, I don’t refuse to believe it. I am always skeptical about numbers I read in local papers about numbers and what students are doing. Years and years of inaccurate information being passed on has caused my skepticism. It very well may be true that there is a drop in enrollment. The information was also requested. It didn’t just miraculously get press released.

    It would behoove many people on this blog to view information with more skepticism.

    In fact, if Turn PW Blue says there is, then I am going to believe him far faster than I am going to believe the papers. I have not known Turn PW Blue to be wrong. I am sure if he were he would issue a quick correction also.

    Now I am going to get on the ‘you know what list’ with Ken Blackstone…but I trust Turn’s sources far more than Mr. Blackstone’s. Mr. Blackstone is a relative newcomer in the grand scheme of things. Especially considering NCLB numbers, information released is sometimes flawed.

    And for the record, I never mind enrollment dropping. You will just have to trust me on this one.

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