Saluting hard work

Published 2:19 pm Friday, April 27, 2018

We would like to commend the efforts of Prince Edward County Public Schools (PECPS) Superintendent Dr. Barbara Johnson and her staff as they navigate the difficult task of putting together a school budget that must meet nothing less than a plethora of weighty needs.

Johnson highlighted some of those needs when recently presenting a preliminary budget proposal to the Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors.

She noted that “our budget this year is based on three main priorities — our teacher pay scale, we are trying to make sure that our teachers are receiving regionally competitive salaries; our continued development of our STEM program, which we started this year; and our health insurance, because we want to make sure that we continue to provide supports for our families.”

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To have a successful school division, it has to offer a strong, effective education to prospective students, a weighty need that naturally informs every budget consideration made. The addition of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) program directly addresses that need by strengthening the PECPS educational offering.

Also serving the overarching need are others, including making the division attractive to young but seasoned teachers, which is why Johnson cited pay scale and health insurance as priorities.

The priorities listed are undoubtedly the top few on a long list, and all of these priorities must also be tailored so that they meet another overarching need — being part of a budget reasonable enough that the county can feasibly help fund it.

Johnson noted that when the school board and board of supervisors first met regarding the budget, PECPS was asking for $614,000 in local operational funding.

“We recognize that some of the numbers were exorbitant, and we went back and we tried again to find as many areas that we could change, cut, combine as possible,” she said.

She and her staff were able to cut the request to $348,407.

We applaud them for their diligent work in serving the county, its children and its families through this entire budget process.