PWEA Endorses Lateef
Prince William County, Va. – One candidate for Prince William County Board Chairman says he’s got educators on his side.
Dr. Babur Lateef told PotomacLocal.com Monday he has received the endorsement of the Prince William Education Association.
The Manassas-based organization choose Lateef after a more than hour-long interview, where he fielded questions about the state of education in Prince William and what has been, in recent months, a strained relationship between the county’s school board and Board of Supervisors, he said.
“We tend to watch the supervisors and school board members talk only around budget time. We need an ongoing relationship where were constantly meeting with them to make sure they get what they need and they’re not overspending what they have,” said Lateef.
Lateef says more communication between the School Board and county supervisors would not mean more oversight by county government officials, but it would mean Board of Supervisors respecting the wishes of the elected school board, said Lateef.
Prince William supervisors last fall wrangled with the School Board over accepting federal stimulus money that would have been used to hire 180 new teachers. School officials wanted the money, but supervisors were concerned about paying the teachers after the one-year federal stimulus grant expired.
It was a reversal from 2009 when Prince William schools accepted $25 million in federal stimulus funds.
“Originally, the county had a five year plan they worked out with the school system. The only problem is that after year one they do something, they change the tax rate, it’s like a yo-yo, and the problem is we don’t stick to a plan,” said Lateef. “It’s not as if [PWEA] is coming to us and asking for a whole bunch of money, but they are asking for something that is predictable.”
Lateef’s endorsement comes after conservative political blogger, Jim Riley, submitted a petition to Virginia Commonwealth Attorney Ken Cuccinelli demanding answers from Prince William County Commonwealth Attorney Paul Ebert as to whether or not he is investigating Lateef for possible bank fraud in connection to Lateef’s foreclosed home.
Ebert has also not returned phone calls to PotomacLocal.com about the petition and Lateef also says he’s not heard from Ebert.
“Most of my patients who follow the campaign, most of the people I talk to look at this and they’re not even asking about this. It’s just a distraction that is meant to take people away from what’s important in this campaign,” said Lateef.
Lateef oversees an ophthalmologist practice in Woodbridge and has campaigned on a platform for better schools and transportation options.
The PWEA lobbies for interests of Prince William County schools, faculty and staff.
Lateef faces Republican incumbent Corey Stewart and Independent John Gray in the general election on Nov. 8.