Wednesday, January 4, 2012

School Board Update

News for 2012:
FY2013 Budget, Capital Improvements,  
Name for New ES 

Dear Friends,

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season.

January is a very busy time for the School Board, as we consider the Capital Improvement Program and begin work on the budget. This year we start as a brand-new Board, all of us elected in November to four-year terms, including six new members. This Board will have a particularly important task this year of starting a search for a new Superintendent to replace Dr. Jack Dale, retiring in June 2013.

As we are a new Board, I also anticipate that we will revisit our goals and processes, so this should be an exciting and busy year. As always, I will look to parents, teachers, students, and community members for your input on the major decisions we will be making to move our stellar school system forward.

We will have any number of issues and proposals to discuss this year, and I'll outline more of them in future newsletters, but this time I'm going to focus on the major pieces we will be taking up right away. If you have issues you want to bring to the Board, please don't hesitate to let me know or to testify before the Board at one of our regular meetings or at budget hearings.

Budget Timeline:
The Superintendent announces his proposed FY2013 Budget on Jan. 12, starting a budget process that ends in May.

The School Board will hold public hearings on the budget on Jan. 30 and 31. Those wanting to speak may start signing up on Jan. 13 by going to this link:  

The School Board will hold a budget work session on Feb. 2, when Board members will discuss amendments they would like to make to the Superintendent's plan. On Feb. 9 the Board will approve an Advertised budget to send to the Board of Supervisors. After the Board of Supervisors determines in April how much the county transfer to FCPS will be, the Board will approve a final budget in May.

The budget plan is important because it shows where any increased emphasis will be, new or expanded programs and any funding cuts. As Budget Vice Chair,  I will be even more deeply involved in the process this year.

Capital Improvement Program:
The big news this year is that the CIP includes a plan to build another new elementary school in Mason District. Several of our schools in Mason remain overcrowded, especially Bailey's Elementary School for the Arts and Sciences, with most requiring trailers to use as classrooms.  FCPS expects to see continuing increases in student enrollment, particularly in our area.

Here's the link to the CIP and background information:

CIP hearings will be held at 6 pm on Mon., Jan. 9.  The Board has scheduled a work session on Monday, Jan. 23, and will vote on the CIP at its business meeting on Thursday, Jan. 26.

To sign up to testify on Jan. 9, here is the link:

Falls Church High School: FCHS is in desperate need of a renovation but at this point is not scheduled for one any time soon. One of my goals is to figure out how to move renovation plans forward at this school, and I have been having discussions with colleagues and other leaders on this issue.

Parents at FCHS recently formed a group called UPROAR to raise awareness of the major facilities needs at this school and to advocate for a renovation. I applaud their efforts and look forward to working with them. If you would like to be involved in this effort, please let me know and I will connect you to UPROAR leaders.

Naming the New Elementary School at Lacey Site:
Soon we will have a name for our brand-new elementary school at the Lacey Center site. How nice it will be to finally call it by its own name! The School Board ultimately approves the name for the school, but first we want to get the community's input and proposals.

A public meeting has been scheduled at 7 pm, Wed., Jan. 18 at Falls Church High School to consider suggestions. After community input and a recommendation from the Superintendent, the Board will approve the name. I'm hoping this can be completed in February.

If you would like to propose a name for the new school, please plan to attend the Jan. 18 meeting to make a formal recommendation.  (If you cannot attend the meeting but wish to submit a name for consideration at the meeting, send an email with the proposed school name to   no later than January 16th.)  Please keep in mind that elementary schools usually are given geographical or historical names. Anyone attending the meeting may suggest a name for consideration, and will be given an opportunity to make a presentation. After all recommendations have been presented, community members that reside within the school boundaries will be asked to vote for their preferred choices. Please bring proof of residency (such as a drivers license) if you would like to vote. Each residing household will be allowed one vote for the first, one vote for the second, and one vote for the third choice names. More than one round of voting may be needed to reduce the number of suggested names to an agreed upon number before taking the final vote.

If you have questions, please contact the Cluster III office at 571-423-1130. To view the full process for naming a new school, see Regulation 8170:

Web Site: Keep informed on news about the school by visiting the recently reactivated "Lacey" web site:  

I'm looking forward to working with all of you in the coming year!