As far as School Board politics goes, this one could get fairly interesting.
The Prince William County School Board, deadlocked on the next fiscal year’s budget with a 4-4 split, will look to decide Wednesday night how to get teachers a “step” raise, which increases salaries based on experience and other factors.
If teachers were grateful simply for the 2 percent across-the-board increase for all employees proposed in the budget that failed to pass last week, none voiced that support at the meeting. That led the way to the 4-4 impasse and set the stage for what could be a decisive vote Wednesday night.
It’s unclear how board members plan to come up with dollars for an increase — which would mean an additional $5 million on top of $13 million proposed at last week’s meeting. The budget proposal called for raising that $13 million through cuts elsewhere, including an increase in middle school and high school class sizes. It’s unclear what part of that cost-cutting plan will survive. Prince William already has the largest class sizes in the state.
Board members say they are determined to pass a budget before the schools’ April 1 deadline, so those in the audience will find themselves witness to real-time sausage-making.
Teachers packed the room last week and many plan to attend Wednesday night’s meeting. After “work to the rule” protests and sometimes contentious exchanges with Prince William’s administration over the past weeks, teachers say a “step” increase is not solely about money, but also about recognizing veteran teachers’ service.
The meeting is at 7 p.m. at the Edward L. Kelly Leadership Center in Manassas.