State to Take $20 Million From PWC Kids?

Funding for public schools is complicated.  It comes for all sorts of sources and is adjusted for all sorts of things.

In Virginia, much of our public school funding comes from local property taxes.  Because areas with higher property values have a larger and wealthier base from which to obtain the funds for public education (and other local services) the state developed an index, the Local Composite Index (LCI), which allocates more state education funds to districts with lower property values than to districts with higher property values.

Yes – that means that the state provides less in education funding on a per child basis for kids in Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William.

As we’re all well aware, over the past several years property values in our county rose sharply.  Prince William County was one of the fastest growing districts in the state and  country.  When the bubble burst property values in Prince William were among the first to fall and dropped the furthest.

In the past this would have meant that the change in PWC’s LCI would result in an increase in the per child allocation of state education funds because our counties relative wealth, as determined by property values, had dropped significantly.

Not this year.

The state is considering freezing the LCI at previous levels.  The net “cost” of this freeze to PWC students – about $20 million less than we would have received had the LCI been adjusted to reflect the drop in property values.

For years the LCI resulted in PWC receiving less and less from the state for education on a per child basis because of our increasing property values.  Now that our property values have tanked, and the base upon which we can raise local funds for schools has shrunk, we should be getting more from the state on a per child basis.

I encourage each of yo to contact your state delegates and ask them to oppose the LCI freeze.

PWC Delegates:
DelSLingamfelter@house.virginia.gov; DelBMarshall@house.virginia.gov;DelLTorian@house.virginia.gov; DelJMiller@house.virginia.gov;DelRAnderson@house.virginia.gov

Senators Barker, Cogan, Puller & Stuart:
district39@senate.virginia.gov; district29@senate.virginia.gov;district36@senate.virginia.gov; district28@senate.virginia.gov

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21 Responses to “State to Take $20 Million From PWC Kids?”

  1. Jackie Says:

    More cuts are coming. The upcoming 2010 – 2011 school year will be a nightmare. Parents/teachers/everyone…you need to pay attention. PWCS budget needs to be monitored for every single item line by line. Why should our students and educators have to pay the price of a recession when cuts can be made elsewhere?

    • Michael Ragland Says:

      Although the state has unfroze the LCI it appears Governor McDonnell still wants to raid general funds even though education is facing severe cuts.

      From Coalition for Smarter Growth

      A Vampire Bill

      Take Action: Governor Revives Bad Transportation Bill that Would Raid
      Education Funds

      We defeated SB181 in the Senate. Now, the Governor has revived the
      bill in the House as HB1395. By tradition, the Governor is not bound
      by the legislature’s bill deadlines. This bill would allow VDOT to
      take sales and income taxes from any economic activity generated by a
      new highway and grant them to private toll road builders – who already
      receive lucrative deals to collect tolls for at least 75 years. This
      means VDOT would be raiding general funds used for education, health
      care, and public safety, even though we are already facing severe cuts
      to these critical services. Email your Senator and Delegate to weigh
      in on HB1395.

      Oppose HB1395 and Stop the Raid on VA’s Education Funds

      HB1395 would come as a surprise to anyone who supports education,
      libraries, health care, police and other public services funded
      through the state’s General Fund. It gives unelected officials at the
      Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) sweeping authority over
      income and sales tax revenues, allowing them to giveaway estimated
      future revenues to private toll road builders.

      Imagine VDOT giving income taxes generated in Fairfax to the companies
      building the Beltway toll lanes. Isn’t 75 years worth of toll
      revenues enough?

      The Virginia Education Association and Virginia Interfaith Network
      joined with the Coalition for Smarter Growth, the Virginia League of
      Conservation Voters, and other groups in opposing the earlier Senate
      version of the bill, SB181.

      Contact your Senator and Delegate

      Charles Colgan district29@senate.virginia.gov

      Delegate Bob Marshall DelBMarshall@house.virginia.gov

      Delegate Luke Torian DelLTorian@house.virginia.gov

      Senator Richard Stuart district28@senate.virginia.gov

      Senator Toddy Puller district36@senate.virginia.gov

      Senator George Barker district39@senate.virginia.gov

      Delegate Jackson Miller DelJMiller@house.state.va.us

      Delegate Scott Ligamfelter DelSLingamfelter@house.state.va.us

      Delegate Richard Anderson DelRAnderson@house.virginia.gov

  2. jackie4678 Says:

    LCI Freeze Lifted!
    Governor McDonnell to Undo Proposed Freeze of Local Composite Index:
    http://www.doe.virginia.gov/news/news_releases/2010/feb8.shtml

  3. Michael Ragland Says:

    I’m writing to express my concerns regarding Prince William
    County Schools Superintendent Stephen L. Walts. In briefly researching
    the subject and Prince William County School system as a whole I
    realize I’ve probably bit off more than I can chew. I have no
    experience or education in these matters and nor am I a parent who has
    a child attending Prince William County Schools. Nevertheless, some of
    the things I’ve read in the media pertaining to Superintendent Walts
    raises red flags. Admittedly, when the Prince William County School
    Board hired Walts the Greece New York Central School District was
    unaware of the pending EEOC teacher lawsuits against him claiming age
    discrimination and the audit which found financial waste and abuses
    had not yet been performed. Still, if Prince William County School
    Board members had visited Greece and the search had been more public,
    it is possible this may have influenced the decision to hire Walts.

    A 2009 audit by McGladfry and Pullen found no wrongdoing but I’m just
    as concerned with how well the money has been spent. Was a $37.5
    million administrative building really necessary when so much money
    was needed for education? Should Superintendent Walts be getting the
    pay raise he is when teachers salaries are not increased? When many
    students are having problems with Math Investigations which has been
    dropped by many districts and as of 2008 had cost $2.4 million dollars
    in Prince William County Schools could this money have been better
    spent elsewhere? Although the present costs of Math Investigations is
    publicly unknown it must be near $4 million dollars if not more by
    now.

    I am concerned Prince William County Schools doesn’t have an internal
    auditor. Although I realize this position will cost money it is needed
    even though I have my doubts at how well an organization is on
    investigating itself. I’m concerned that once Walts was hired the
    amount went from $200,000 to $500,000 dollars the superintendent could
    spend without school board approval. I understand the shift to site
    based management and rising construction costs and the need to not
    have construction delayed but the school board needs to be a part of
    the process when such a large amount of money is involved. The school
    board needs to know where the money is going and to approve it. This
    is just responsibility and accountability.

    Don’t you find it odd that when Walts was hired as superintendent he
    brought along with him three former Greece staffers; George Kisha,
    Keith Johnson and Keith Imon? All are Associate Superintendents except
    for Mr. Kisha who resigned. This is downright favoritism if not
    cronyism. Why did the school board allow that? The school board should
    have conducted an independent search for Associate Superintendent
    positions.

    I read about how Prince William County Schools are bursting in class
    size and how many more schools would need to be built and how the
    building of schools can’t keep up with development. Do you think those
    politicians are really concerned in their dealings with developers how
    this will impact the Prince William County School system? There are
    stop gap measures such as in Bristow, Nokesville, etc.where the BOCS
    will approve rezonings but prohibit building permits until the schools
    can accommodate the children. The BOCS says it is concerned developers
    may get the General Assembly to override their decision. Why then
    approve the rezonings in the first place? Logic dictates development
    should be slowed so the situation doesn’t arise where class rooms are
    bursting in size and where many more additional schools are needed to
    ameliorate school overcrowding. But greed trumps logic. Ultimately,
    more schools will be built but that won’t matter in the long run.
    Eventually, there will be more and more development and Prince William
    County Schools will be a big sardine can.

    Governor McDonnell has unfroze the Local Composite Index so Prince
    William County schools will receive something like $23 million that
    wasn’t there before. Still, that isn’t a horribly lot of money when
    Prince William County Schools are facing $80 million budget shortfall.
    In fairness, Prince William County public schools aren’t the only
    school system facing such hard times. Fairfax County public schools
    are facing a comparative budget shortfall and due to the weak national
    economy there are thousands of school districts which have been
    negatively impacted. So I’m not blaming Superintendent Walts for the
    budget shortfall but I do think especially now he needs to be careful
    how he spends the money and what he cuts or eliminates.

    In conclusion, I’m concerned about Superintendent Walts handling of
    Prince William County Schools. Although Walts has defended himself and
    states the Greece CIP was well within budget when he left and there
    are school board documents which prove it an audit nevertheless found
    financial waste and abuses. Based on what I’ve read in the media I
    don’t believe the findings of that audit are without a basis.
    Therefore, it is understandable why Walts would deny any wrongdoing
    but I still find his statements denying any wrongdoing to be
    dishonest. Assuming that is true how can Prince William County
    citizens have trust in his leadership?

    I haven’t touched upon Superintendent Walts management style here.
    Although the Washington Post articles are dated they paint a picture
    of a superintendent who doesn’t listen to grievances and hands them to
    others; who canceled monthly meetings with principals; that is elusive
    and who isn’t concerned with emotional issues and troubles which come
    up with students. I think it will take something new to come up for
    the school board to reconsider their faith in Superintendent Walts.
    Below is a letter to the editor I submitted. Hopefully, it will get
    published but more importantly there will be more scrutiny of
    Superintendent Walts.

    February 16, 2010

    To the Editors:

    Regarding Prince William County Schools Superintendent Stephen L.
    Walts, scandal is not new to Prince William County
    government. It is still reeling from the debacle of the Prince William
    County Information Technology Department where three former employees
    along with another Virginia man pulled off one of the largest
    bid-rigging and embezzlement scandals in county history.

    The Prince William County Community Services Board hired Dr. Phillip
    E. Dukes as its Executive Director when there was public information
    from the news in Cuyahoga County, Ohio documenting Dr. Dukes fiscal
    impropriety. Dr. Dukes performance as Executive Director came under
    fire and his contract was not renewed.

    Although chump change by comparison, even our own previous County
    Executive Henry “Bern” Ewert and Deputy County Executive Craig
    Gerhart had Prince William County citizens pick up the tab for a
    flight and visit to Norway to meet with officials from Aker RGI, an
    international conglomerate that [is] building a housing, office and
    entertainment complex on the Cherry Hill peninsula near Dumfries. That
    was ten years ago and we saw how much Aker RGI cared about that
    development. It just wanted the land rezoned so it could be sold and
    they could get the money. Its been ten years and those people on the
    Prince William County Board of Supervisors sold the Cherry Hill
    peninsula down the creek. Nothing has been built; not the marvelous
    conference hotel, or the houses, or the entertainment. There is,
    however, an unused Jack Nicklaus golf course.

    Superintendent Walts was not vetted properly; Prince William County
    School Board members did not visit Greece and the search was not as
    public as it could have been. Several teachers alleged discrimination
    on the basis of age. The EEOC rulings were issued after the Prince
    William School Board chose Walts for its new superintendent, but the
    agency’s investigations began many months before he was hired. The
    group Citizens for Accountability and Reform in Education had concerns
    about Greece Superintendent Walts during his time as Superintendent
    there. In addition, Walts has shown favoritism (and Prince William
    County government didn’t object) in that three former Greece
    staffers George Kisha, Keith A. Imon and Keith J. Johnson were hired
    as Associate Superintendents. Keisha has since retired. This suggests
    importing to some extent Greece style of leadership to Prince William
    County Schools.

    Walts can spend up to $500,000 dollars without approval of the school
    board. Why is this? There have been questions regarding Walts travel
    expenses and concerns that $37.5 million was spent building the
    Edward L. Kelly Leadership Center when that money
    was sorely needed for education. there has been much opposition to
    Math Investigations (MI) in the curriculum which replaces traditional
    math teaching and how much it has cost. As of 2008 Math Investigations
    had cost 2.4 million dollars in a three year period.

    Will it be like Greece, NY after Walts has already left we discover
    the extent of damage his administration has done?

    Sincerely,
    Michael Ragland

  4. MuchAdoAboutSomething Says:

    Michael – Unfortunately & as we all know, the larger the district, the bigger the heap of money & the less accountability/oversight when you have a school board comprised of 8 part-time citizens – most of whom see no evil, speak no evil & hear no evil! It’s paintfully obvious they’re more about saving face & the district’s face than saving our kids. Nothing new there.

    I thought I read in the proposed budget that they’re eliminating the internal auditor position. But, I recall the outside auditor suggested that PWCS hire an inside auditor back in ’08, but PWCS hadn’t yet done that because of budget constraints. So when did they hire the auditor? That’s some conflicting information I can’t seem to wrap my head around.

    Rather than an internal auditor, maybe the VA Comptroller’s office should have more oversight on the State’s districts, even setting up shop w/a full time rep in each county? I can only imagine how much money is shuffled around. It’s easy to break down contracts into smaller components not requiring board approval. That board members (supposedly) receive a monthly report for expenditures of $200,000 to $500,000 is a joke. Someone in Greece reported that their school board did lower the change order amounts from $20,000 to $10,000 due to Walts’ transgressions. TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS. Are you listening school board members in PWCS? God forbid they tighten the reins on the Super & staff.

    You mentioned that school board members didn’t visit Greece when they were considering Walts. I’m pretty sure the NY audit did state that Lucy Beauchamp & Don Richardson both traveled up there to “visit the district and Walts’ home.” Oh, at the expense of Greece taxpayers I might add!

    As I understand it, Greece was happy to let Walts go and gave him a glowing recommendation to boot. Two school board members under Walts’ tenure have spoken out since that time about a lot of issues.

    It’s also known that during Walts’ tenure, Greece students’ performance dropped from one of the highest performing districts in Rochester to the bottom (thanks to MI/TERC as well). You darn toot’n PWCS failed to turn over all those rocks when considering Walts. And the school board members have been kept in the loop by a small group of parents since, but they continue to ignore them.

    Finally, MI has cost this district (to my knowledge) OVER $10 million already (not sure if that figure includes the ongoing & costly professional development to date). It’s stepping up at the middle schools too …. probably making way to adopt another miserable math curriculum (Connected Math).

    School board members will keep on keeping on as long as there’s no public outrcy. Articles which run on the local blogs, InsideNova & even the Post don’t seem to strike many nerves – in fact, how parents actually get online and stay on top of the issues? BUT, talk about snow removal, delayed openings, boundaries, and middle school sports and citizens have plenty to complain about. The nuts & bolts of the kids’ education doesn’t seem to be a concern for the majority of these people.

    I’ve yet to see folks step up and complain (on the record/at board meetings) about the lack of transparency and other issues you mentioned.

    How do we reach the citizens outside of campaigning at local supermarkets? Maybe it’s time to organize another parent/citizen advocacy group in PWC! I sure am game!

  5. Michael Ragland Says:

    MuchAdoAboutSomething:

    Thanks for the information, comments and suggestions. I was under the impression Prince William County School Board officials didn’t visit Greece. Its news to me the New York audit mentioned Chairman Beauchamp and board member Richardson visited Greece. Do you remember where you came across this information? Upon emailing a person in Greece I was told one of the reasons Walts got such glowing reviews from the Greece Central School Board is because they wanted to get rid of him so badly. In any event this is all spilled milk just as complaining about the costs of building the $37 million Edward L. Kelly Leadership Center is. I think the focus must be on what is happening now on the school board and in the district. I thought, however, many Prince William County citizens aren’t aware of Superintendent Walts previous history as superintendent of Greece Central School District and needed to be informed of the teacher lawsuits against him and the New York Comptroller audit which found financial waste. In all this Superintendent Walts claims no wrongdoing and I find this disingenuous.

    I was surprised to hear Math Investigations has cost Prince William County $10 million dollars to date. You state this is to “your knowledge”. You seem to know something about Prince William County School System. I hope you don’t get offended in me asking but in what capacity are you aware of all this information?
    Are you a concerned parent that has kept on top of developments going on in Prince William County Schools? Are you a teacher or just a concerned citizen?

    You point out the apathy of the public. I think that applies to many issues but I think under the right circumstances the public can be moved to get involved. It was my understanding the outside auditor recommended an internal auditor and a school district official mentioned Prince William County School district hadn’t hired an internal auditor due to budget constraints. To the best of my knowledge Prince William County School district currently has no internal auditor and whether or not they hire one will be determined next budget cycle. Given the $80 million budget shortfall they may not hire an internal auditor. You state, “Rather than an internal auditor, maybe the VA Comptroller’s office should have more oversight on the State’s districts, even setting up shop w/a full time rep in each county?” I think that is an interesting suggestion but unless an audit found tremendous financial waste and abuses I don’t think it would be entertained.

    You mention “Maybe it’s time to organize another parent/citizen advocacy group in PWC! I sure am game!” I think more heat is going to have to be generated. Right now it is Math Investigations but there is going to have to be more than just this issue for citizens to form another parent/citizen advocacy group. There are already groups that oppose Math Investigations. One teacher on another blog wrote how in her opinion instruction programs for students (specifically 3 Year Math Investigations report) are not being evaluated. She further states when teachers have asked for that report they are told the district is trying to determine if the report actually exists and this has led to teachers having to pay hundreds of dollars in fees.

    The teacher’s beef isn’t with Superintendent Stephen L. Walters specifically but with the entire school board and the district. What she complains about is the bureaucracy of the system and how it appears the school board and district have no interest in student’s education. She mentioned “world class education” but I responded that is just a politically expedient term like “no child left behind”. What is a world class education when a $37.5 million administrative building is approved and built when there are bathroom trailers dotting the grounds and school overcrowding. What is a “world class education” when there is a budget shortfall of $80 million dollars and the superintendent is proposing 700 jobs cut and programs and services cut or eliminated?

    Even WITHOUT the Greece cloud hanging over Superintendent Walts there is still much to criticize about Prince William County school system. However, when one considers that Walts previously engaged in financial waste and abuses it is very worrying to see the large school budget he currently oversees. And now that there is a $80 million budget shortfall HOW will Superintendent Walts SPEND the money which has been allocated to Prince William County Schools? What programs and services WILL he cut and eliminate? This is the time when parents, teachers and concerned citizens/activists get involved by attending school board meeting, posting to blogs, writing letters to the editor, etc. Now is the time to stand up and be counted.

  6. MuchAdoAboutSomething Says:

    Trust me Michael – no teachers in this district have asked any questions, much less asked for data; only parents. If the LCI freeze is lifted as planned, Walts gets back $20 million. I guarantee you the first thing he’ll do is restore the professional development/student learning proposed cuts ($550k right?). Would like to see the math staff out on their bottoms. Will be interesting to see the budget mark-up in a few weeks. That would be a very good time for parents to get more vocal.

    • Michael Ragland Says:

      What is entailed in professional development/student learning? On the surface I understand what it means but how does it translate into the classroom. This costs $55o hundred thousand dollars?

  7. Michael Ragland Says:

    MuchAgoAboutSomething:

    Okay. I found this http://www.mcrel.org/toolkit/process/ex-prof.asp
    So I now have a basic idea of what professional development/student learning is. And I agree with you that that would be something almost any superintendent would restore from budget cuts. I could be mistaken but you don’t seem any great fan of teachers!

  8. Michael Ragland Says:

    I’m sorry but this blog is acting up. So if this is a repeat I apologize. The URL I posted was on professional development/student learning and I was just agreeing that almost any superintendent would want to restore this from budget cuts. And I added MuchAdoAboutSomething isn’t a big fan of teachers. Now will the blog work or not!

    • pwceducationreform Says:

      The spam filter at wordpress automatically flags any comment with more than a few links in it as spam and your comments were shuffled off to the spam filter. I’ve approved them and you should be able to see them now.

  9. Michael Ragland Says:

    I’ve decided my letter to the editor regarding Superintendent Walts doesn’t deserve to be published. I’m sure this dawned on editorial page editor Alex Granados as soon as he read it. I’ve learned too much information which cancels out some of the statements I make. For example, I learned school board officials did visit Greece and that the $37.5 million Edward L. Kelly Leadership Center has been approved and construction started prior to Walts being hired as superintendent. Regarding Walts I don’t think he is doing as good a job as he should but as of date no impropriety has been found. A 2009 audit by McGladfry and Pullen found no wrongdoing. There is no smoking gun. I need to be much more focused and precise on the subject of Superintendent Walts, the school board and the Prince William County School District in general. This is such a complex subject with so many different areas. If I learn enough from posters on here and elsewhere I may attend school board meetings and speak out.

    From another blog I learned that at first a benefits employee and an attorney visited Greece in the process of hiring Walts as superintendent. I assume this was to iron out his contract with Prince William County School board. However, I learned that school board Chairman Beauchamp and Don Richardson visited Greece AFTER he was already hired by the school board. I see no valid reason for school board members to visit Greece after Walts has already been hired unless it was to be a transplanted welcoming committee. I read where Beauchamp and Richardon visited Walt’s home. What was the purpose of that? How much did it cost for Beauchamp and Richardson to visit Greece?

    I’m unfamiliar with the hiring process for superintendent but it seems to me the school board did it ass backwards. It should have been school board members that visited Greece first to speak to members of the Greece Central School District, teachers and others and take that information back to the entire school board to make a determination on whether to hire Walts. Then if a determination was made to hire Walts then the benefits employee and the attorney should have visited Greece to iron out the details in Walts contract. Am I naive here or am I missing something?

    Geez, does the school board really have that much power? In hiring Walts it doesn’t appear they do. Who and what decides on hiring a superintendent? Is the chairman of the school board? What individual primarily searches for a superintendent?

  10. MuchAdoAboutSomething Says:

    The Super is hired by & reports directly to the Board. Not sure who does the initial recruiting.

  11. Michael Ragland Says:

    Doing a google of Walts this is what I found:

    *Greece Central School District audit details waste
    *Albany faults Walts
    *Schools Accused of Pushing Mainstreaming to Cut Costs
    *NY audit: Schools Superintendent Walts didn’t control spending
    *Greece Central School District will keep paying Walts’ benefits
    *How did Walts get his benefits?
    *Pr. William Educator Accused Of Age Bias; Schools Chief Sued Four
    Teachers In Former System
    *Secrecy and superintendent hiring
    *Group Exposes Former School Superintendent
    *Consultant says Greece students hurt by culture
    *New Schools Chief Leaves Legacy of Change
    Walts Increased Spending, Programs
    *Pr. William Schools Chief Faces Doubts on Leadership
    *Controversies Threaten to Erode Trust in Schools Chief
    *Angry parents: Problems with math program linger unsolved
    *Greece School board run amok
    *Money-Hungry Schools Getting Down to Business
    *Ads on Pr. William Web Sites Fuel Debate Over New Commercial Endeavors
    *Prince William schools superintendent presents bleak budget picture
    *Superintendent due for $14,000 raise
    *Pr. William Schools Chief had Tense Tenure in New York

    Its not a very flattering picture.

  12. Michael Ragland Says:

    Here are the URLs in case anybody is interested.

    Some readers may be interested in what occurred in Greece, New York when Stephen L. Walts was superintendent there I googled the subject and found the following information. In addition, there are articles pertaining to his time as superintendent of Prince William County Schools. Also, Please access http://www.voteforboard.com/comments_archive.html

    Whether it be creating a culture of negativity and lack of trust, mainstreaming special ed students to cut costs, financial waste and abuses, angering parents over Math Investigations, etc. the picture that emerges of Superintendent Walts is not a positive one.

    Schools Accused of Pushing Mainstreaming to Cut Costs
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB119758950772128219.html

    Consultant said Greece Students Hurt by Culture
    http://ptagreeceny.org/gc/GCNews_files/NewsStories/051018 Consultant says Greece students hurt by culture.pdf

    Greece school board run amok
    http://rochesterturning.com/2008/02/05/greece-school-board-run-amok/

    Albany faults Walts
    http://www.mpnnow.com/towns/greece/x603856718

    Group Exposes Former School Superintendent

    Older Comments-VoteForBoard.com
    http://www.voteforboard.com/comments_archive.html

    How did Walts get his benefits?
    http://www.mpnnow.com/towns/greece/x1308515884/How-did-Walts-get-his-benefits

    Four N.Y. Teachers Sue Walts, Allege Discrimination
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/01/14/AR2006011400149.html

    Prince William Schools Chief had Tense Tenure in New York
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/12/11/AR2005121101143.html

    Secrecy and superintendent hiring
    http://www.schwoebel.net/wp005/index.php/2006/01/23/secrecy-and-superintendent-hiring/

    N.Y. Audit: School Superintendent Walts Didn’t Control Spending
    http://www2.insidenova.com/isn/news/local/article/ny_audit_schools_superintendent_walts_didnt_control_spending/52103/

    P.W. Schools Chief Faces Doubts on Leadership
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/07/15/AR2006071500949.html

    Controversies Threaten to Erode Trust in Schools Chief
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/02/11/AR2008021103033.html

    Angry Parents: Problems with math problem linger unsolved
    http://www.examiner.com/a-1425543~Angry_parents__Problems_with_math_program_linger_unsolved.html

    Superintendent due for $14,000 raise
    http://www2.insidenova.com/isn/news/local/articlesuperintendent_due_for_14000_raise5082/

    Prince William Schools superintendent presents bleak budget picture
    http://www2.insidenova.com/isn/news/local/articlecounty_schools_superintendent_proposes_eliminating_700_jobs/51660/

    I will let the reader come to his or her own conclusions.

  13. anon Says:

    Much ado about something –

    When you say that no teachers have questioned Investigations, you might want to speculate on why that is. Are they all buying in? Or do they know better and would they like to keep their jobs? I think it’s the latter.

  14. MuchAdoAboutSomething Says:

    Anon –

    Absolutely, but I’m sure there’s plenty of teachers who also have “buy-in” – probably most of it developed while @ the ed schools – who are all about inquiry-based teaching practices. And if they don’t have buy-in, they’re not stupid and they’ll play along to save their butts.

    I’ve witnessed first hand teachers being reprimanded for simply voicing an opinion. They’ve learned, the hard way, it’s best to just shut up, & considering the economic climate, they wouldn’t want to rock the boat – especially under Walts & company. I’ve heard horrible stories – & they’ll make your life miserable to the point where you’ll resign regardless of whether or not you found employ elesewhere.

    I’ve heard from teachers in Loudoun who say they still have a voice & don’t fear reprisal.

    God bless the teachers in PWCS who still love teaching our kids while putting up with the endless array of b.s. Frankly, I couldn’t do it under the circumstances and imagine I’d spend a lot of my free time trying to rally 100’s of teachers into a huge revolt. But that’s just me and I’d be happier flipping burgers at the local fast food joint than selling my soul working for PWCS. Of course, there are some awesome principals out there and I bet those teachers feel much different.

  15. Michael Ragland Says:

    LETTER: Surprised by audit article
    Your View
    Published: February 22, 2010
    » 14 Comments | Post a Comment

    I was surprised to see today’s follow-up story on the Greece, N.Y., schools audit, since the audit report is around a year old. Knowing what is in the New York audit report and knowing Dr. Walts’ actions, I am confident that he did, in fact, follow all processes and procedures that were in place at the time in his previous school system. I also believe that the audit must also be viewed in the context of the political situation in Greece, N.Y., and the underlying motivations that may not be apparent to us here in Prince William County.

    More importantly for the citizens of Prince William County, a number of external studies and audits of PWCS verify that under Dr. Walts’ leadership, we are an efficient and financially well-run school division.

    MGT of America Inc. was commissioned by the Commonwealth of Virginia to conduct an efficiency study and had a long list of glowing commendations with only a handful of minor changes recommended. A Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute report stated that PWCS provides a quality education for the money spent.

    And most recently, as your newspaper reported, the external comprehensive financial audit of PWCS con-ducted by McGladrey & Pullen stated that “no difficulties were encountered in performing the audit and the firm didn’t discover any fraud or illegal acts during the course of its audit.” In fact, the firm issued an unqualified report—the highest level.

    Each independent audit performed since Dr. Walts became superintendent has been similarly positive. And yes, the only reason we have not yet hired an internal auditor is due to budgetary constraints. But as stated in the article, Dr. Walts is supportive of doing so—implying otherwise is misleading.

    Dr. Walts has proved himself as the educational leader of Prince William County Public Schools many times over. Most recently, PWCS has met state Standards of Learning targets. All schools are accredited and PWCS made Adequate Yearly Progress as a school division.

    And this past year, we had a rise in SAT scores while statewide scores remained flat.

    Dr. Walts is an excellent school division leader, and I believe him to be a man of integrity. All of his deci-sions are made with our children in mind. We are fortunate to have a leader who cares about children, parents and the community. Dr. Walts has had my support and continues to have my support as superinten-dent of schools.

    MILTON C. JOHNS

    Chairman At-Large, PWC School Board

    February 23, 2010

    My response

    To the Editors:

    P.W.C. school board Chairman Milton Johns states, ” I was surprised to
    see today’s follow-up story on the Greece, N.Y., schools audit, since
    the audit report is around a year old. There were two financial
    audits done. There was the audit by the New York Comptroller which
    found the $119 million voter-approved capital improvements plan was
    replete with poor fiscal management, waste and abuse. Then there was
    the forensic audit performed by Eldredge, Fox and Poretti which
    essentially found the same thing. Chairman Johns states, ” I also
    believe that the audit must also be viewed in the context of the
    political situation in Greece, N.Y., and the underlying motivations
    that may not be apparent to us here in Prince William County.” He is
    implying the results of the audit by the New York Comptroller and the
    forensic audit by Eldredge, Fox and Poretti are not valid, that they
    are politically motivated and without merit. He presents no evidence
    to substantiate this.

    Chairman Johns doesn’t mention the other audits which were done
    pertaining to Walts time as superintendent of GCSD. There was a 2005
    education audit which found a culture of negativity and overall lack
    of trust. There was also a 2005 Greece BOE audit investigating
    allegations of discrimination against teachers.

    Another thing Prince William County citizens may not know is that in
    2005 eight families accused Greece school district of denying disabled
    children a “free appropriate public education based on Walt’s
    policies. As a result there was a lawsuit.

    Chairman Johns writes, “Knowing what is in the New York audit report
    and knowing Dr. Walts’ actions, I am confident that he did, in fact,
    follow all processes and procedures that were in place at the time in
    his previous school system.” The Greece group Citizens for
    Accountability and Reform in Education didn’t think so.

    It is obvious in writing his letter to the editor Chairman Johns is
    engaging in damage control. He is correct in pointing out since Walts
    has been superintendent of PWCS no impropriety has been discovered.
    However, based on Superintendent Walts performance in his last job in
    Greece, N.Y. the P.W. County citizen/taxpayer should be wary of his
    spending and policies.

    Finally, Chairman Johns mentions the strides PWCS have made. This is
    great news. Education of our children is the most important thing.
    However, there are other items which are important such as whether
    teachers are being discriminated against and special ed students are
    receiving a free and appropriate education. It is important money
    isn’t spent on a $10,000 dollar water fountain and a $100,000 Steinway
    piano.

    To date Superintendent Walts hasn’t had any of the difficulties which
    plagued him in Greece. Let’s hope it stays that way.

  16. ??? Governor's School Says:

    I have looked at the proposed budget cuts. They are many I am opposed to, but more money is needed to reinstate those cuts and there will be cuts no matter what I may want.

    This is why I am so confused about how the county is going to fund the new Governor’s School. This is a half day program that will serve approximately 80 PWC students in their 11th and 12 th years. If the county approves busing for this program, transportation cost for these 80 students will be outrageous. If there is no busing only kids with cars or stay at home parents will be able to attend.

    Dr. Walts stated that he is commited to the Governor’s School. Is this is new Math Investigations? Sure the Governor’s School would be a nice luxury for our gifted students, but can we afford it right now? Can we that funds away from special education, economically disadvantaged program and ESOL for a Governor’s School? Is that morally right or best for the whole?

    Anyone have any thoughts that would help me understand?

    Thank you.

  17. pwceducationreform Says:

    Based on the FY 2011 budget presented to the school board, the school district is budgeting about $1.7 million above 2010 levels for the Governor’s school. I can not determine how much was budgeted for the Governor’s school in FY 2010 or prior years, or its future projected costs.


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