About Failing Leadership and Unfair Portrayals

Over the last several days the social media world in PWC has been up in arms over accusations that school division leadership is failing our schools and that characterizations of our schools as failing are unfair.  On one hand you have Justin Wilk, who has written several letters that were published in local media that expose and call into question less than desirable things happening in our schools.  On the other hand you have PWCS and school board Chairman Milt Johns, who clearly don’t care for what Justin has to say and lashed out at Justin in a recently published response that was shared with every teacher, public school employee, and parent of a child in the school division.

Justin is justifiably upset at how he was characterized in Chairman Johns’ letter and is upset that the school division shared Chairman Johns’ letter with everyone they have access to. To Justin, I say welcome to the club.  Attacking the messenger is something PWCS does exceptionally well.

This blog started as an offshoot of the math wars here in Prince William County.  It was created by the parents who were denigrated on a regular basis by PWCS for exposing the truth about Math Investigations.  For several years PWCS had a publication on their web site that identified a parent by name and more or less called him a liar.  However, I must note that during the math wars, Chairman Johns was one of the few school board members who stood up for us and challenged the school division’s spin.

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PWC’s Proffers Still Lowest in Area

The PWC BOCS just posted the agenda and supporting documents for the June 3, 2014 meeting.  One item is reviewing the amounts county staff recommend as proffers.

Below is a chart listing the proffers required from Prince William, Loudoun, Fauquier, and Stafford counties.  As you can see, the proffers PWC is recommending for schools for single family homes are still the lowest in the area.  This is despite PWCS building a $100 million high school, the most expensive high school built in the state of Virginia.  Here is the file in PROFFERS – updated- May-2014
Proffers-May-2014

None of the Above

Among the plans for the proposed boundary changes for the 12th high school, two have emerged as the “top contenders”; Administration Recommendation v 1.1 and Plan 2.1.(a).

I’d like to suggest a third plan – None of the Above. Read the rest of this entry »

Planned Failure

PWCS projects that it will open the 13th high school in the fall of 2019 to relieve overcrowding in western end high schools.  Battlefield high school opened in the fall of 2004 and Patriot high school opened in the fall of 2010.  PWCS knew that both Battlefield and Patriot would be overcapacity before they opened, yet their “plan” for relieving that overcrowding was to wait 9 – 14 years until the 13th high school opened in the fall of 2019.

Based on the enrollment projections provided by PWCS, the 13th high school is overcapacity, 5 years before it opens.

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School Board Report – May 7, 2014

The meeting began at 7 PM with all members present.

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Agenda for the May 7, 2014 School Board Meeting

Several items are on the agenda for the May 7, 2014 school board meeting that may be of interest.

(1) Increase current year budget for addition revenues received.
St Pkg Fees On the Consent Agenda is an item asking the school board to increase the FY 2013 – 2014 school year budget.  The increase is necessary because of revenues received in excess of the amounts budgeted.

Citizens who follow this blog and members of the Gainesville / Brentsville District budget committee will find these items interesting as they happen every single year, yet PWCS continues to feign surprise that their projections are so low and refuses to update the revenue projections to come close to approximating reality.

PWCS has under-budgeted Other Tuition, Fees, and Revenues by an average of $4 million each year, for the past 3 years (see here===>other revenue

The projection for this school year and next are no different.

Take Student Parking Fees, as an example.  The chart to the right shows how much has been budgeted for Student Parking Fees since 2010, how much was actually received, and the difference between the two.  It also shows how much was budgeted for this year and the adjustments to date.

Despite budgeting more than $150,000 less than what has actually been received for the past 4 years, PWCS budgeted Student Parking Fee revenue at the same $125,000 for next school year.

Student Parking Fees is particularly interested as it is subject to a 50/50 split between central administration and the schools.  For every dollar received for student parking fees, 50 cents goes to central administration to pay for lot maintenance.  The rest goes to the high school use as they please.

The transfer to the schools for Student Parking Fees has been budgeted at $125,000 for the past bunch of years, the exact same amount  they budget for revenue.  That means PWCS has been projecting that it will provide 100% of Student Parking Fee revenue to the schools, or it has been underreporting Student Parking Fee revenue.

The difference between what was budgeted and actually received means each high school should have received $3,320 more from the county this year from student parking fees to do as they please.  Concerned citizens and parents may want to contact the advisory councils at their local schools to ensure that these funds were received.

(2) Proposed Boundary Change for 12th high school.

No changes have been made to the proposal that was posted on the PWCS webs site a couple of weeks ago.  Apparently citizen comments weren’t sufficient to merit a change (see link).

(3) Mrs Williams (Woodbridge) has requested that the County School Board rescind the resolution they previously passed asking the Governor and General Assembly to decouple Medicaid expansion from  budget negotiations.

PWCS’ Time Warp

Posted today, April 23, 2014, on the PWCs web site is the recommended boundary plan for the 12th high school.  It’s dated May 7, 2014 and the 2nd paragraph in the report reads as follows:

Public input was gained by way of two community meetings. Not only did these meetings foster an environment where the public was able to highlight the perceived merits and shortcomings of the administration’s recommended boundary plan, but they also helped to bring awareness to potential implications of the plan that were beyond the ability of PWCS staff to foresee. The Office of Facilities Services held community meetings on Wednesday April 30, 2014 at Brentsville High School and on Thursday May 1, 2014 at Hylton High School”

Seems PWCS is in a time warp!

Seriously, however……  The changes proposed here are major.  They affect practically all of the high schools in our county.  If you want a better example of why the 12th high school should have been flipped with the 13th, look no further than the projected enrollment totals at the 12th high school – it never goes about 92%.  Patriot remains at over 130% and Battlefield is between 120% and 130%.

Shouldn’t staff have waited until AFTER the community meetings to finalize their recommendations?  Do our opinions and concerns matter at all?

UPDATE:  Here’s the link to the report which PWCS has now stamped with DRAFT.

 

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