Candidates for Prince William County School Board chairman offered different visions for increasing school funding during a Manassas candidates forum Wednesday, a problem that has vexed the school system for years.
Republican-endorsed candidate Alyson Satterwhite, a second-term school board representative from the Gainesville District, said she would be willing to get rid of the school system’s revenue sharing agreement with the county to increase spending on county schools.
School funding is generally limited by the revenue sharing agreement, which allocates 57.23% of the county’s general fund tax revenue to the school division. This year, the school system received $607 million of the county’s $1.2 billion in general fund revenue.
The bulk of the county’s general fund revenue comes from personal property and real-estate taxes.
“There is a lot of conversation about whether the revenue sharing agreement works for us or not,” Satterwhite said. “Personally, I would be willing to try getting rid of the revenue sharing agreement and work with the board of county supervisors to make sure that we are funded properly.”
Current Board Chairman Babur Lateef, endorsed by Democrats, said the revenue sharing agreement should be increased and pointed to this year’s elections as an opportunity to elect supervisors who would make school funding a priority.
“The 57% revenue sharing from our tax base is the floor, it is the bare minimum our schools need to survive,” Lateef said. “We need to elect county board of supervisors who are committed to the schools … We need to increase the revenue sharing agreement, absolutely increase it. We need to demand from them that they need to find more resources for us.”
The candidate forum was sponsored by the Prince William County Committee of 100. Stanley Bender, who is also on the ballot, did not attend the forum.
Lateef also took aim at the county’s per-pupil expenditures, which he said are among the lowest in the region. Prince William County’s per-pupil spending was $11,633 in 2018, the second lowest in the region, according the Washington Area Boards of Education.
Lateef suggested increasing the computer tax on data centers and cuts to county spending to increase school funding.
The school division received all requested funding from the board of supervisors in February, including enough local money for a 4.8% teacher pay raise. General elections for state and local races will take place Tuesday, Nov. 5.
Reach Daniel Berti at email@example.com