First, I want to thank Megan McLaughlin and Elizabeth Schultz, the only two School Board Members who sought to give voice to Fairfax County in front of the Virginia Board of Education.
On April 10, Megan McLaughlin (Braddock) and Elizabeth Schultz (Springfield), Democratic and Republican endorsed respectively, sought to move two school hours from June 25 to June 23 making that Monday a full instructional day for elementary students and saving Fairfax County $300,000 in fuel costs by making Tuesday, June 24 the final school day.
All instruction and testing will be completed well before June 25. The expense now is only necessary for compliance with a bureaucratic rule. The School Board may formally request a waiver from the rule.
How productive can this time be for students on June 25? As you know, the first and last hour of work are typically the least productive as you settle in and then prepare to leave. No students will stare at the clock counting seconds before summer break. Not in Fairfax County, right? Adding two hours to the shortened Monday schedule would have been more effective time management as well as money management.
Speaking of money, have you heard? Fairfax County Public Schools does not have funds to waste. With our priorities, we never have money to waste. In fact, as you likely know, we are expecting a $21 million reduction in support from Richmond while increasing our student population by over 3,000 new students at an increased cost of over $25 million.
The request for a waiver from the Virginia Board of Education allowing Fairfax County Public Schools to invest time and funds more wisely would have cost us nothing and saved us $300,000 at least. When pinching pennies, every piece helps.
School Board members Moon, McElveen, Velkoff, Strauss, Hynes, Derenak Kaufax, Evans, Storck, Reed, and Smith each voted to deny Fairfax County a voice to make the reasonable request.
If they will not use the platform we provide and advocate our community’s best interests, why should they be trusted with our voice or our vote?
I remain curious what actions would have been taken by Chris Braunlich, President of Virginia Board of Education, former Fairfax County School Board Member and vice president of the Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy where he promotes free markets, limited government and individual responsibility, if asked to help Fairfax County better manage our time and $300,000 from taxpayers by granting the waiver.
The irony, of course, now June 25, 2014 is another day Fairfax County students cannot run off to spend money supporting Virginia’s tourism industry at King’s Dominion unless their families skip the last non-curriculum school day and further undermine the argument for wasting $300,000 in fuel costs. Thank you.
Will Radle, Fairfax County