Tuesday, September 21, 2010

This is a copy of the email our LEA President is sending to parents who signed our petition for full funding of the school budget last spring. This message is equally applicable to other concerned parents and citizens in the Loudoun community.

Dear Parents,

I am writing to you to thank you, once again, for your support during last year’s budget battles over LCPS school funding. Your electronic signature on our petition last spring supporting full funding of the School Board’s request to the Loudoun County Supervisors was heartening to us all. Sadly, even with over 5000 total signatures, and over 3000 of them from parents, the Supervisors shortchanged the schools again. This has led the Loudoun Education Association to engage in a series of collective actions to draw the community’s attention to the critical issue of funding this year. The community, in turn, must focus that attention on the Supervisors as they decide just how much your children and our students are worth.

You may have seen recent articles in the newspapers regarding our “work to the rule” (WTR) effort. Let me be clear, during our WTR, educators will continue to provide a rigorous academic program each and every school day for your child. What they will not do is work outside the regular work day to perform the many activities they have taken on which serve to supplement the school budget. While some have tried to portray our actions as harmful to our students, we believe nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, we believe that continuing to mask the deconstruction of our top-rated education program in Loudoun will result in the true harm to our children. As class sizes grow, some to the point of “spilling over”, each student receives less individual, focused time from the teacher. As each school’s population grows, each student receives less time and attention from all school staff. With less time and attention, academics suffer. Standardized test scores may not drop immediately, but they cannot, in the out years, escape the effects of educators being stretched too thin.

Additionally, this is the third year that school employees have had salaries frozen. Many are now forced to take on second jobs just to make ends meet. In addition, all school employees are slated to lose two days of pay due to furlough days scheduled in November. We all understand the economy is difficult at present, but Loudoun County continues to be rated as one of the wealthiest in the nation. We can afford to do better.

We anticipate that both salaries and per pupil expenditures for the current year will fall to dead last in the metropolitan region once these comparisons are completed. This is unacceptable. We need your support now, more than ever, to do better by our students and school employees.
If you are willing to help us in our effort to increase school funding in Loudoun to essential levels this year, please send your email address to me at: ssullivanlea@aol.com . Also, please access our website at www.leaweteach.org for updates on our efforts, and for periodic “calls for action”. Finally, if you have any questions about our WTR or other planned activities, please email me or call me at 703.858.7700.

We are counting on your help as we all work together to regain lost ground before it is too late.

Thank you for your support.