Friday, January 17, 2014

A sincere thank you, a clarification, and next steps for taking action.

I’m writing to send sincere thanks to the incredible number of people who attended and spoke at last night’s (1/15/14) Board of Supervisors' meeting on such short notice.  Your stories were powerful and compelling. The Board of Supervisors seemed amazed by the number of speakers and the concerns that were conveyed.

Together, our voices sent a strong message that our students, schools, staff, and community deserve a fully funded budget that meets the needs of our growing school district.

Now, we've got to keep the pressure on our elected officials. The next step is to send the same clear message to the School Board. Click here to join us on our 'Day of Action' this coming Tuesday, 1/21/14.  Here are the details:

What: School Board Public Hearing and Work Session
Where: LCPS Administration Building
Address: 21000 Education Court, Ashburn, VA 20148
When: Meet at 6:00PM
Note: To sign up to speak you can call 571-252-1020 before 12:00PM on the 21st or you can sign up in person before the meeting begins.

Click here to RSVP
 
In addition to this, I also want to address the confusion that Chairman York cited during last night's Board of Supervisors' meeting.  For the past few weeks, we have been contacting the Board of Supervisors in an effort to get firm dates on the upcoming budget and tax process, to no avail.  At the Board of Supervisors' Finance Committee meeting on January 13th, the committee discussed that the Board would make a decision on the 'Advertised Tax Rate' at their February 5th meeting. Since the Board of Supervisors chooses to allow public input AFTER their action items, the final opportunity for people to address the 'Advertised Tax Rate' before its publication was indeed at last night's meeting.  With this in mind, we felt it was important to notify the public as soon as possible.
 
I firmly believe that the energy and passion of those who spoke last night led Chairman York to state that the 'Advertised Tax Rate' would be reconsidered if it did not meet the needs of our school district. To my knowledge, this would be an extremely rare move by the Board, especially when considering the recent history of under-funding our schools.  I was happy to hear Chairman York state his openness to reconsidering the 'Advertised Tax Rate' if it does not meet the needs of our schools and I hope we can take him at his word.

Looking back at the message I sent yesterday, I now realize it would have been more accurate to say 'Advertised Tax Rate' rather than solely 'Tax Rate'.  Nevertheless, I stand behind our decision to get the information out about yesterday's meeting and I truly believe that the stories we shared will help secure a budget that meets the needs of our students, schools, staff, and community as a whole.  Thank you for your understanding as we continue to navigate this incredibly complicated 
process and I look forward to working together to make sure the voices of the public are heard.

Regarding the meeting on Tuesday, I also plan to submit to the School Board the 1,800+ petition signatures calling on our public officials to pass a budget that fully funds the needs of our students, schools, staff, and community. Do you know someone who hasn't signed the petition yet? Please encourage them to do so by going to this link: http://bit.ly/StopUnderFunding.
I hope to see you there on Tuesday.

Sincerely,

~Joey

Joey Mathews, President
Loudoun Education Association