Thursday, January 13, 2011

School Board Report

Dear Friends,  

Happy New Year!

January is a very busy time for the School Board. Among the issues highlighted below are the FY2012 budget, the Capital Improvement Program and the Annandale Regional Study, which is very important to a number of schools in our area. One of the community meetings on the high school report is TONIGHT (Jan. 13), 7 pm in the Annandale High School Lecture Hall. Two more are next week (see below).

Annandale Regional Study:
The Annandale Regional Study reports--on ways to reduce overcrowding at Annandale High School and how to draw boundaries for the new elementary school being built at the old Lacey Center site--are posted on Board Docs now. I was very impressed with the work of the two committees in outlining options for the School Board to consider.

The high school/middle school group was very creative in giving us a number of non-boundary-change options, and I am looking forward to getting community feedback on these out-of-the-box ideas. While the focus of the study was to relieve AHS and projected overcrowding at Poe Middle School, other surrounding schools could be affected by the various proposals. If we do have to move toward boundary changes, it would affect other schools that would be receiving more students, for example.

The elementary group provided six possible boundary scenarios for the new elementary school at the site of the old Lacey Center (3705 Crest Dr.) in Annandale.  The schools with the most potential impacts from various scenarios are Annandale Terrace ES, Beech Tree ES, Belvedere ES, Columbia ES and Woodburn ES. One scenario (A1) would affect Sleepy Hollow ES, Westlawn ES and Pine Springs ES.

That group also grappled with whether the new school should be K-5 (as most of our Mason District ES are now) or K-6 (as most ES in other parts of the county are).  Their preference was for the new school to be a "clean-feeder" to Glasgow MS and Stuart HS. Another interesting option they explored and offered was for the school to be K-8, which would be unique for our county.

Please give me your feedback on the reports and the options offered by writing to my FCPS email address, . Community input is critical to this process. One way to express your views is to attend one of the community meetings and fill out a survey form.

Next steps: FCPS staff will analyze the options, the School Board will start work on these issues in April, we will hold hearings on recommendations and plan to take final votes in July.  While I was reluctant to have action on these important issues take place during the summer, taking a vote in June would leave less time for staff work and public input and waiting until September would give parents less than a year to plan for any changes.

Whatever we adopt is scheduled to become effective in Fall 2012, when the new elementary school opens.

Here's the links to the reports:

Community meetings are scheduled to discuss these studies tonight at Annandale High School (Lecture Hall), as well as Jan. 18 and 19 (HS focus on the 18th, ES focus on the 19th).  Here's the link to more details on when and where:

Please let as many people as you can know about the community meetings. There will be other opportunities as we move forward to voice opinions, but these meetings offer a chance to see the presentations and ask questions about the Ad Hoc study groups' work.  
To see more background documents, Frequently Asked Questions and who represented you school on the committee, go to this link:

FY2012 Budget: Superintendent Jack Dale released his FY2012 Proposed Budget on Jan. 6. It includes no increase in class size, none of the onerous program reductions we were facing this time last year, and a step increase and 2% salary increase for teachers and other employees. It would, however, continue the fees for AP/IB tests and for sports.

Next steps: School Board members will be asking questions and considering amendments to the Superintendent's budget.  Public hearings will be held on Jan. 24 and 25, the School Board will hold a work session on Jan. 27, and the Board will adopt its Advertised Budget on Feb. 3. It then goes to the Board of Supervisors, which determines in April how much the transfer to the school system will be. The School Board then adopts a final Approved Budget in May.

I'll be communicating with you more on my thoughts about the budget as we go through this process, but do want to hear your views. If you'd like to testify on the FY 2012 budget, please sign up online at this link:

Capital Improvement Program: The School Board will consider the Capital Improvement Program at our Jan. 20 regular meeting.  For more information on the CIP: