- Raise academic achievement for all students
- Keep our children safe and classrooms orderly
- Build new classrooms and schools to reduce overcrowding
- Insure accountability by administrators, teachers, parents and students
- Develop more public-private partnerships
I support its further overall reduction, but recognize the trade-offs that this investment requires will make that difficult to achieve.
Provisions for Special Needs Students:
Each student in need of special services must receive them, not only is this the law, but it is essential to my commitment to a quality education for all.
Bond Fund Allocation between Renovating and New Schools:
There needs to be a balance, but each set of circumstances and trade-offs are different. As a generally mature District, I will be focused on
insuring that our schools and our District gets its fair share of bond funding.
FCPS Boundary Process:
Maximum citizen and parental involvement is essential to maximizing satisfaction with the new boundaries and minimizing distress and dissatisfaction. This process must start very early, with multiple meetings and with maximum broadcasting of each step of the process to secure community involvement. With this involvement, I can best represent the communities’ interests as we work to address the inherent trade-offs in cohesiveness, diversity, stability, etc. that these changes bring.
Ideas to Address Overcrowding:
Building more classrooms and schools are essential, but several immediate options are possible including, reviewing programs to eliminate those no longer as highly valued and constructing-out permanent classrooms using modular units that can be built more quickly and less expensively.
Priorities may vary during my expected term of office, but of the items on your list class size and teachers salaries are the most important at this time.
With over 50% of the County budget spent on schools (the highest in the Metro area), over 55% of those funds from local property taxes, Virginia ranked near the bottom among the states on support for education, and the low return on tax dollars that Northern Virginia receives back from Virginia we clearly have a major state-wide problem. Alternatives to property tax increases are essential and it is my hope (and I will work to support this) that the Governor and the legislature are successful in implementing changes to correct this.
Relationship with Public Officials:
My approach, as with most issues, will be a positive, but assertive one on behalf of the District. I will work very hard to develop friendly, effective relationships with all officials, by making and maintaining regular contact with each of them. I will use the considerable resources of FCPS to educate state officials and legislators about our special needs and our importance to Virginia’s growth and success in the 21st Century.
FCPS Budget Priorities Role:
My role will be to provide leadership, direction and decision-making on the budget to the community and other elected and appointed officials. FCPS staff’s role is to provide the tools and data to properly assess the programs and options to be considered by the Board.
Cost Savings Opportunities:
As a member of the FCPS Budget Task Force, which has been looking at this issue in depth, there are no obvious major cost savings opportunities. The Gibson consulting work, if done well, should prove helpful in identifying opportunities for savings. My approach would be to begin an in-depth review on a program by program basis. I would use internal auditors/program evaluators where possible and outside ones if necessary.
School Vouchers and Tax Credits for Private Schooling:
I am not in favor of using public monies for these purposes.
Charter Schools and Magnet Schools:
FCPS offers possibly the most comprehensive set of academic options in the country, so it is unlikely that a charter school could add a program distinct enough to warrant consideration. At the same time, FCPS and its staff do not have a monopoly on innovation and good ideas. As a result, I would always be open to considering other programs from other sources that might better meet the diverse needs of our students. I am willing to consider magnet schools, but believe, in general, that the wide choice of programs from AP, IB and academies, where students remain tied to a base school, is preferable.
Gifted and Talented Program:
As a parent of a “GT” student, a “regular” education student and a “special” education student, the most important thing I have learned is to insure that each student gets the support s/he needs to excel academically and behaviorally. I believe that a strong “GT” program is essential, but prefer, as much as possible, that all specially-educated students be mainstreamed with other students whenever possible.
Standards of Learning and Standards of Quality:
I support minimum academic standards that are measurable and testable in order to monitor whether students are securing the basic education skills they will need to have a chance for success in life. As a leader and manager, I understand and value the importance of metrics in gauging movement toward critical goals and as one of many measures to be used in evaluating success. Learning should never stop at the Standards of Learning, it should only be the beginning toward
the critical thinking skills society needs.
Suitability of Certain Books in School Libraries:
The Board should always have the final say on the materials to made available at the FCPS Libraries, but I expect to have capable and qualified school librarians and FCPS committees to review and evaluate
these materials and would expect to support their recommendations.
I understand the value and importance of teaching systematic phonics, but also recognize children may have different needs and learning styles. I know that one of mine did. FCPS is large enough and diverse enough to need a variety of methods for teaching reading. I would utilize the reading teachers and experts on staff to guide me in any decisions that I may need to make on this issue.
Home Schooled Students Participation at Local Schools:
In general, a student’s participation with a school should be based upon his/her taking core academic courses there. This minimum level of involvement is important to developing the affiliation and loyalty essential to learning to be part of a larger team and positively contributing to the school climate, which is central to the whole school experience.
Diversity Development and Personal Experiences:
I don’t believe it is possible to do enough to increase understanding and greater awareness of other cultures, backgrounds and experiences. I will always look for ways to improve upon this most essential element of our American experience. Practically every aspect of my employment, educational and personal experiences have involved relationships with people of every race, color, creed, condition and orientation. I have made great effort throughout my life to model these ideals.
FCPS Education of Diverse Students and Improving Minority Achievement:
FCPS appears to offer a wide variety of programs to support its diverse student population, but more success must be achieved. Parents are the key, along with student specific education programs that support the parent and student’s academic goals.