As more than 91,000 students bring excitement and a curiosity for learning into our school hallways and classrooms for the 2019-20 school year, we have much to celebrate in Prince William County Schools.
I am very pleased to share that, with the support of the Prince William School Board and Board of County Supervisors we are implementing the best budget in a decade. Our 2019-20 budget addresses the following priorities: employee pay, special education, mental health, career and technical education, sustaining class size reductions, and Pre-K education.
In an effort to become more competitive and recruit and retain the best employees, our budget includes a step increase for all eligible employees in addition to a cost-of-living increase, totaling an average 4.8 percent pay increase.
I also understand how the well-being of our students can impact their academic success. I am pleased the budget funds 46 new counselor positions to help support our students’ needs. The budget also ensures a full-time nurse is onsite at every school in PWCS. We have also added positions to better serve the needs of students with disabilities.
The school division has also budgeted almost $1 million in funding for career and technical education and other high school support. In addition, we have set aside $1.5 million to support pre-kindergarten education.
The opening of school also marks the completion of several facility projects. A new elementary school, John D. Jenkins Elementary School, will open this school year in Woodbridge.
Mr. Jenkins held the Neabsco District Seat on the Prince William County Board of Supervisors for 36 years. He passed away earlier this year and was one of the strongest supporters of public education and PWCS.He and his wife, Ernestine, frequently attended PWCS events to show their support for our students and schools. He was an amazing champion of our students and his legacy of support for children will live on forever. I am very proud that the School Board named our new school after Mr. Jenkins.
Students attending Antietam, Lake Ridge, Minnieville and Springwoods elementary schools, as well as Stonewall Middle School, will be greeted by new classroom additions this school year. New turf fields have been installed at Stonewall Jackson and Woodbridge High Schools, and updates have been completed at Osbourn Park High School to include outside door replacements, new library carpet and gym floor repair.
Construction of the 13thhigh school and the middle school located in Potomac Shores is currently underway, and the western school bus facility will be completed shortly. There are several additional facility projects underway.
More information on those projects can be found under the facilities department tab at www.pwcs.edu.
I am also proud to share that our Career and Technical Education specialty programs continue to expand. This year, Stonewall Jackson High School students will have access to an electrical program followed by an aviation maintenance program in 2020-21. To view current offerings, go towww.pwcs.edu
Also, this year, The Hub, a new portal for parents, teachers, and students, will make it easier to access educational information. Students and parents can find bus and class schedules, teacher assignments and grades. If you haven’t activated your ParentVUE account, please contact your child’s school and the helpful staff will assist you.
Be on the lookout for stories and information we call Positively PWCS in "The Scoop," our weekly divisionwide newsletter. As a parent/guardian, you will automatically receive "The Scoop" weekly via email.
I also promise to share the great things going on in our schools on my Twitter account, @SuperPWCS, all year long.
I am very excited about the 2019-20 school year, and I hope our students, staff, parents and community members have a great school year.
The writer is the superintendent of Prince William County Schools.