Those who have been following any of the school board elections this year are aware that Fauquier County schools spends over $1,200 per student more than Prince William County, yet Prince William continues to hire teachers away with higher teacher salaries.
No one talks about the fact that in the most recent school superintendents reports available from the Virginia Department of Education addressing grades eight through 12 pupil/teacher ratios for secondary teaching positions, Fauquier County reports a ratio of 10.9 pupils per teaching position, compared to Prince William County’s report of a 17.22 ratio.
These ratio reports indicate it would require approximately 411 teaching position using the Fauquier ratio to teach Fauquier’s roughly 4,480 grade eight through 12 students, while using the Prince William ratio would require only approximately 260 teaching positions.
No wonder Fauquier can’t match Prince William salaries.Per these superintendent reports, Fauquier appears to be paying for 37% more instructional staff for grade eightthrough 12 instruction than if Fauquier schools operated with the Prince William County pupil/teaching position ratio.
While this difference in staffing ratio is the largest with nearby school divisions, it is not the only one. The following jurisdictions’ pupil/teaching position ratios would also produce significantly lower staffing for grade eight through 12 instruction. Spotsylvania’s ratio produces 24 percent less staff, Culpeper’s 23 percent less, Stafford’s 21 percent less, Fairfax’s 16 percent less, and Loudon 14 percent less.
If Fauquier County Schools could operate at the pupil/teaching position ratio for grades eight through 12 of any of these nearby school divisions, there would be significant funds to address both teacher salaries and obtaining the special-needs teachers required to improve services provided to these students.
While there all small difference among these school divisions in SOL pass rates over the last four years, they are all reasonably comparable to the pass rates of Fauquier County. There does not seem to be an educational advantage to Fauquier’s lower pupil/teaching position ratio for grades eight through 12, but there is an obvious reduction to teaching staff salaries because of it.
With this background information, it is surprising that only one candidate at the Oct.2school board Candidates Forum said they would support addressing class size and multiple teachers per classroom assignment methods currently used by our school system. This candidate is Shelly Norden, who is running for the Scott District school board representative position.
Shelly is a 17-year teacher from inside the Fauquier School system, willing to give up her teaching position to serve as our representative. She offers a pragmatic, common sense view of what needs to be done to address long term school division issues.
Please join me in supporting and voting for Shelly Norden for Scott District school board representative on Nov. 5.