Ryan Sawyers is Chairman of the Prince William County School Board, the 2nd largest school system in Virginia and the 35th largest school system in the country. In 2015, he was the first Democrat in the county’s history to win the elected, county-wide Chairman’s seat. He is a husband, father, and small business owner.
Ryan ran on a platform of increasing teacher pay, reducing class sizes and teacher/counselor workloads, paid maternity leave for employees, and more funding from the Republican controlled Board of County Supervisors. During his first 18 months as Chairman, the Prince William County School Board has many accomplishments. Here are a few:
- Passed consecutive step increases for employees. This disrupted the annual fight that employees would have to go through to get their well-deserved pay raise.
- Corrected previous wrongs. The previous school board, under Republican control, added 7% to the contract day for teachers in retribution for the teachers asking for a 2.8% raise. This 7% increase was removed during Sawyers’ first year as Chairman to increase employee morale and added to their new step increase.
- Treated school nurses like professionals. School nurses were added to the professional pay scale which not only gave them a pay increase but it showed school nurses that the school board wants to treat them like the professionals that they are when keeping our children safe and healthy.
- Stripped the name of a segregationist, massive resistance Governor from a local middle school. They renamed that school after a living, 87 year-old African American war hero who earned the Bronze Star.
- Regularly received more money from an extremely conservative Board of County Supervisors by fighting for extra funding for class size reduction and an expedited Capital Improvements Program to help reduce the largest classrooms sizes, and teacher workloads, in the entire Commonwealth of Virginia.
- Expanded the bandwidth in all 95 schools in Prince William County so learning can happen in conjunction with today’s technology needs.
- Expanded middle school advanced science programs
- Brought attention to the massive disparity in infrastructure between the eastern and western parts of the county at the elementary school level.
Ryan has stood on his bedrock of progressive principles since the day he took office and he will do the same when he is in Congress. He will fight to fund public education, protect a woman’s right to choose, reduce student debt and college tuition at state colleges, fight for a living wage and Project Labor Agreements so government dollars are spent wisely the first time, and fight for small businesses by reducing the burden of health care costs and establishing broadband internet to all parts of the district so businesses can use technology more efficiently.