Role of School Board

  1. What do you see as a School Board member’s role and responsibilities in the effective administration of schools? A school board member is a leader and champion for education in their community. Together the school board should establish a community of lifelong learners, responsible citizens and create champions of global success. They should promote a sense of community with high expectations and high academic achievements for all students. The goal of the school board is to implement and maintain the policies that run a school division and make sure the district is in compliance with federal and state mandates for instruction.  They listen to and utilize the shared information from school system leadership and staff, the community and all the stakeholders to make fiscal decisions and advocate for those funds to the BOCS as well as ensure that the school division policy decisions are made in the best interest of the school division.  In addition, the school board establishes the educational philosophy and tone for the school system by analyzing data and making adjustments as needed and recommended by all the stakeholders.  This involves overseeing personnel matters, including labor relations and community relations and listening to all the stakeholders involved including PWEA.  It is also important that the Board prioritizes construction and renovation needs in the district and consider long range planning for the needs of the entire district. 
  2. What is the School Board’s role in assisting Prince William County Public Schools in regaining its competitive edge among other school divisions in the Northern Virginia region?
  • The School Board needs to work collaboratively to keep up with our changing times and growing needs. PWCS lost ground during the “Great Recession” due to funding cuts in education.  Just this year with the generous 2020 Budget approved

PWCS can make strides in becoming more competitive with surrounding districts.  We are still ranked the 2nd lowest in per pupil allocation in the DC Metro area.  Dr. Walts also shares that PWCS spends  “Four thousand dollars less per student than Fairfax County, and $2,600 less than Loudoun County, and nearly $8,000 less per pupil than Arlington County,” while Prince William and Loudoun counties lead Virginia in population growth. We need to hit the ground running and make up for those lost years. We need the PWC School Board to listen, plan and advocate for continued funding to improve our Division Profile in the State of Virginia.  We need them to work closely with the BOCS to make strides in education spending. 

  • Dr. Walts shared many of the PWCS advancements in his Business Partner Breakfast in the Fall of 2018 but we need to keep the momentum going.
    • Our on time graduation rate of over 92%.
  • More than one-third of PWCS graduates in 2016-17 received at least one qualifying score on an Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, or Cambridge examination, exceeding the national and state averages;
  • 2018 graduates were awarded $74 million in scholarships;
  • PWCS students scored the highest in five years on the ACT exam, trending upward in all the tested areas (English, mathematics, reading, and science). The PWCS ACT composite score exceeds the national average for the 22nd consecutive year;
  • As a Division, PWCS outperformed the national SAT averages in English, reading, writing (ERW), and mathematics; black students outperformed peers in Virginia and nationwide in all three areas (ERW, Math, Total); Hispanic students in PWCS outperformed peers nationwide in all three areas and matched peers in Virginia in all three areas
  • The PWCS Board needs to put aside their political agendas to work for the good of the community as a non-partisan entity.  I welcome differing perspectives and values because issues deserve a well-rounded perspective on what is best for the school system. I do not believe, however, that political agendas for various political parties have a place in school board decision making.  A school board needs to put KID’S FIRST not the positions or demands of a particular political party or religious affiliation, differing perspectives should be welcomed and valued but should not be at the forefront of policy making in education. 
    • A few years ago PWCS did not progress due to the controversial and combative environment on the school board.  This cannot happen again because we lost a few years of progression due to political and personal agendas not PWCS educational initiatives.  In the last year, we have refocused the direction and mission of the school board but we have to make up for that lost time in order to remain a competitive school system.  I am still concerned that party affiliation impacts decision making which is wrong.  The behavior of the Board sets the tone for the school system.  The relationships established amongst themselves in conjunction with the school system staff sets the climate for the entire system and all the stakeholders.  Our school board is the very public side of public education so ethical professionalism is of the utmost importance.  Despite improvements, I still have grave concerns about the motivations of some of the school board members.

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