Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) are one of our county’s greatest assets. As a graduate of FCPS, I know first-hand the value that our school system delivers. It is because of my FCPS education that I was able to attend UVA on an Army ROTC scholarship. However, FCPS currently faces many serious challenges that will require strong, collaborative leadership to address.
Rapidly rising student enrollment and an increasingly diverse student body are increasing the shools’financial requirements at the same time that County revenues are stagnating. As evidence, the Superintendent has announced the FY2017 budget projects a $100 million deficit. Additionally, we are losing our best teachers to surrounding counties because our compensation is not competitive. The quality of education for our children will deteriorate if these trends continue and in Dranesville, we are already feeling the impact. Herndon and McLean are the 2nd and 3rd most over crowded high schools in the County, and Coates is the most overcrowded elementary school in the County. It is projected to be more than 80% above capacity in 2018.
As Supervisor, I will be a strong supporter for our public schools. I will work hard to improve the relationship between the Board of Supervisors and the School Board. Within 30 days of taking office, I will meet with our School Board members and the Superintendent to begin collaborative dialogue around proactively addressing our challenges.
I will support tough investment decisions that will ensure our limited tax dollars are focused on where they will have the highest impact – in our classrooms and with our teachers and students. Restoring strong economic growth to Fairfax County will be the most effective way to generate the revenues we need to ensure our schools remain the best in the nation and that we retain our best teachers. I will ensure we do just that.