A local advocacy group whose purpose is to maintain and improve the quality of education in the Shenandoah County Public Schools has weighed in on next year’s school budget.
A letter dated Friday was delivered to all six School Board members.
Parents Alliance for Strong Schools Vice President Abby Walters said the letter of priorities is important to their mission and to providing information to parents.
The letter outlines eight funding priorities of the organization for the development of the 2020 school budget.
• A needs-based budget that adequately reflects the needs of the division.
• Competitive compensation for teachers and staff.
The group applauded the pay increase last year but believes a step increase and an inflation adjustment are appropriate for next year.
• Continued commitment to Pre-K education.
“We believe that SCPS is wise to take full advantage of the Virginia Pre-school Initiative under which the state contributes 62 percent of the cost of providing services to children in high-risk categories,” the group stated in the letter.
• Continued replacement of aging buses.
• Continued commitment to special education, which the county has a growing population of children who require specialized services, the letter states.
• Continued investment in career and technical education.
• Continued commitment to dual enrollment.
• Continued commitment to school security.
The letter was signed by 18 members of the PASS board. It was not signed by PASS President Dan Walsh, does not advocate policy before the School Board because his wife Cyndy Walsh is vice chair of that board.
Walters said most of the priority list is already being done by the division and it is important to continue those.
She said the group understands that some of the priorities may be difficult politically, and it is important for the group to show support for them. One example is compensation.
“We have parties who are for low taxes,” Walters said.
Board members could not be reached for comment before press deadline on Friday.