The budget and boundaries continue to dominate our School Board work as we wind down the school year.
Budget: The Board approved our FY2012 budget on May 26. It includes teacher pay raises (step increase plus 1%), eliminating AP/IB testing fees, putting full-day kindergarten in the remaining schools that don't yet have it, adding a needs-based funding addition to our neediest high schools (such as those in Mason District), and setting aside $500,000 for any changes the School Board decides to make on student discipline policies and procedures.
Sports Fee Cap Approved: As you know, I'd like to eliminate the $100 per sport fees as soon as possible, but we didn't have the resources to do it this year. In the meantime, I supported a cap of two fees per student per year to at least give some relief to three-season athletes and their families. The Board unanimously approved the two-fee-per-student cap, and that will go into effect in the new school year.
Athletic Fee Waivers for Seniors: In addition, high school principals have been informed that each high school has received $1,200 from Capital One game nights to allow them to waive athletic fees of senior students who have extenuating circumstances and can't pay them. Principals have until June 6 to request these waivers for specific seniors.
Annandale/Lacey Site Boundary and NonBoundary Options: You should have received my special report on the posting of the 4 options for boundary and nonboundary solutions to the overcrowding at Annandale High School and Poe Middle School, as well as for the new elementary school at the Lacey Center site. The School Board is scheduled to make final decisions on these on July 28, for implementation in Fall 2012.
Since the postings, and before, I have been working with parents, teachers and other community members to develop the best possible approaches. In particular, I've set up meetings with Facilities staff and a delegation from the Belvedere ES community, including representatives from Sleepy Hollow Woods and Columbia Pines, as well as for Bren Mar Park ES (which would be significantly affected by all scenarios on the table). I've also been meeting with and working with the Glasgow MS community, at risk of losing its Advanced Academic Program (GT) Center in some of the scenarios. I plan to reach out to the Parklawn ES community, as well, since they would be affected by two of the high school scenarios.
The final recommendation by FCPS staff will be posted as New Business for the June 23 regular School Board meeting. When that recommendation is posted, I will send you a special report. After we receive that recommendation, the School Board will consider it and can accept or amend it at its regular meeting on July 28. Hearings on the proposal will be held July 11 and 12.
A great deal of background information, such as the Ad Hoc Study Committee's high school report and elementary school report, is on the FCPS web site.
Who should pay special attention? Anyone with students now attending, or scheduled to attend, Annandale HS, Poe MS, Glasgow MS, Holmes MS.
Elementary schools whose students may well be most affected by possible AHS/Poe boundary changes: Bren Mar Park, Parklawn, Wakefield Forest.
Elementary schools whose students may well be most affected by options for the new elementary school at the Lacey Center site: Annandale Terrace, Beech Tree, Woodburn, Belvedere, Pine Spring.
Two community dialogues on these options have been held and one more remains:
June 6: Specifically for speakers of other languages and will include interpreters for Arabic, Farsi, Korean, Spanish, Vietnamese and Cambodian. At Annandale Terrace Elementary, 7604 Herald Street, Annandale (use entrance 1). The meeting will be held in the gymnasium, adjacent to the Parent Resource Center.
To register (you won't be turned away if you don't, but this helps for planning purposes):
These changes will have a significant impact on several schools in our area. Please keep informed and express your views to the School Board by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org
All the best,Sandy