2013 – 2014 SY

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2013 – 2014 School Year Budget

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Below is information about PWCS’s proposed FY 2014 Budget; specifically questions from the Gainesville and Brentsville District Budget Committee and commentary from the PWC Ed Reform team.  To keep things separate, this section is broken into three parts:

(1) Updates on the Budget

(2) Questions from the Gainesville / Brentsville District Budget Committee and responses received from the school division.

(3)  Commentary and opinions from the PWC Ed Reform team.

General information about the budget can be found on the PWCS Budget Updates web page, which you can find here.

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Budget & Updates

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The school division initially provides an executive summary budget to the public and then holds working sessions to review and mark-up the more detailed department or program level budgets.  The executive summary was presented at the February 6, 2013 school board meeting and at a public meeting on February 11, 2013.  Work sessions are currently scheduled for February 20 and March 6, 2013 following the school board meetings and on March 13, 2013 for the CIP.  All meetings will be held at the Kelly Leadership Center.

Initial Proposed Budget.  Highlights of the Superintendent’s initial proposed budget include the following (see here for the executive summary):

  • Budget was prepared assuming state funding and cost of competing funds will increase or remain unchanged (Editor’s note:  cost of competing funds are additional money PWCS gets from the state because of the high cost of living in NOVA)
  • Budget was prepared assuming 4% increase in local property taxes
  • Enrollment is projected to increase 2,089 students next year
  • Teachers will not receive a step increase.  Instead they’ll get a 2% across the board increase in pay from PWCS and a 1% increase in pay from the state.  The 1% they receive from the state will got to VRS.  {editor’s note – this 1% from the state for VRS isn’t free to the county because it does not include payroll taxes.  PWCS still has to find 13% of that 1% for payroll taxes that are paid to the feds.  The net effect to PWCS is, reportedly, about $1 million}
  • Health Insurance Rates will increase 5%
  • Debt service costs will increase $3.9 million

UPDATE # 1 BOCS Sets Maximum Tax Rate  On Feb 19 2013, the PWC BOCS approved a tax rate which will result in a maximum tax increase of roughly 3.5% on average.  As the school division’s budget was predicated on a 4% tax increase, that means the division will have to find about $1.3 million to cut from the initial proposed budget.

Further updates will be posted as soon as they are available.

UPDATE #2 Projected Receipts a of March 13, 2013 .  The school division expects to receive about $5.6 million less than they’d originally budgeted due to the change in the tax rate approved by the PWC BOCS and a reduction in funds received from the state. The numbers are below:

Projected Receipts 893,566,333
State Reduction in Cost of Competing funds (5,236,964)
Funds provided for 2% salary increase 893,893
Other changes 45,256
PWC Reduction due to tax rate change (1,295,602)
Adjusted Projected Receipts 887,972,916

* Possible reduction in federal programs in FY 2014 due to sequester could be $2.6 million.  This is an 8% reduction in monies received for federally funded programs.  Per the Superintendent, it would be impossible for the school division to implement an 8% reduction in those programs without cutting staff.

UPDATE #3 Approved Budget.  The budget was approved on March 20, 2013.  See this report for the details.

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Gainesville  and Brentsville District Budget Committee

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I have the privilege of serving on the Brentsville / Gainesville District school budget committee.  This is the committee organized and run by Gil Trenum and Alyson Satterwhite.  I am blown away by the knowledge, experience, expertise, and commitment of the people on this committee.  We are Moms and Dads, CPAs, CFAs, non-financial types, and Teachers.  Budgets are excruciating to dig through, but my colleagues on this committee regularly scour line after line in these budgets.

This file, Budget-Cmte-Questions-Feb-17-2013,  contains the questions asked by the committee about the budgets for the following departments / programs, which will be discussed at the February 20, 2013 work session:

  • Human Resources
  • Finance and Support Services
  • Warehouse Fund
  • Facilities Use Fund
  • Self Insurance Fund
  • Health Insurance Fund
  • Construction Fund
  • Food and Nutrition Fund
  • Kelly Center Cafeteria Fund

Responses provided by PWCS will be posted as soon they are received.

Questions and responses from Feb 20, 2013 Budget Working Session.

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Commentary on the Budget from the PWC Ed Reform team

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No Pools for Schools!  Last year PWCS said it didn’t have enough money to give teachers raises for the next 5 years.  The school division was able to find enough money to eek out a step increase, but only after raising class sizes to 28 students in elementary school and 35 – 40 students in middle and high school.  If PWCS didn’t have the money for teacher raises and can’t afford to lower class sizes,  how can we afford to  operate a pool in a school?

Bonds, Bonds, Bonds, and More Bonds  The case of the missing $11 million in park bonds that were authorized by taxpayers in 2006, exercised by the county in 2011, and no one knows what for.

Is PWCS Wasting Taxpayer Money?  How did we get to the point where the bid for the school is about to be released, and no one knows anything about it? Shouldn’t our elected school board and BOCs members have asked about this before they approved the county budget and CIP that included a school with a pool? Can our elected officials, who blindly approved plans for a pool in a school without asking questions, honestly claim to be good stewards of our tax dollars?

How Much Does it Cost to Build a High School? Apparently, in Prince William County, it costs $33 million more to build a high school than it does in Loudoun County.

Promises Are Meant to be Broken. There’s one things politicians like to do.  They like to make promises they can’t keep.  Politicians are also really bad at telling people the whole truth.  Below are a few of the whoppers I’ve heard from about the pool from people who are far too smart to be saying such stupid things.  How can the school division shrug its shoulders at adding $600,000 and $1 million a year in expenses for the pool but claim to be on the brink of financial disaster?

Say Bye Bye to the 13th High School  Building big has consequences.  We need to evaluate every penny the school division plans to spend because we will be paying for it in our taxes and our children will be paying for it with the lower quality of their education as they’re crammed into overcrowded schools and jam packed classrooms with burnt out underpaid teachers.

$1.2 million for Conferences and Travel  In the original FY 2014 budget PWCS projected that it would spend over $1.2 million on conferences and travel, with more than half of that coming from our elementary, middle, and high schools.

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