FCPS School Board Public Hearing – Budget – January 31, 2017
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FCPS School Board Public Hearing – Budget – January 31, 2017

August 18, 2019


GOOD EVENING. WELCOME TO TONIGHT’S PUBLIC
HEARING ON THE FY 2018 ADVERTISED BUDGET. I AM THE LEE DISTRICT
REPRESENTATIVE TO THE FAIRFAX COUNTY SCHOOL BOARD AND THE
CHAIR OF THE BUDGET COMMITTEE WITH VICE CHAIR MR. ILRYONG
MOON. I WANT TO THANK YOU FOR COMING
OUT TONIGHT AND TALK TO US ABOUT THE ADVERTISED BUDGET. IF YOU HAVE NOT DONE SO, PLEASE
PROVIDE YOUR WRITTEN COMMENTS TO THE CLERKS IN THE BOX TO THE
RIGHT AND TURN OFF OUR SILENCE YOUR CELL PHONES. TONIGHT WE HAVE A LITTLE OVER 40
SPEAKERS. EACH SPEAKER IS ALLOTTED 3
MINUTES. I ASK THAT YOU STAY WITHIN THE
TIME LIMIT. THE DEPUTY CLERK WILL START THE
TIMER WHEN YOU BEGIN TO SPEAK AND YOU CAN SEE IT ON THE CLOCK
THERE. THE BUZZER SOUNDS AT THE
CONCLUSION OF THE 3 MINUTES AND I WILL ASK YOU TO FINISH UP. THREE NAMES ARE ANNOUNCED AT A
TIME AND PLEASE MOVE CLOSER TO THE FRONT OF THE AUDITORIUM. IF A SPEAKER IS NOT THERE WHEN
THE NAME IS CALLED, THE NAMES WILL BE CALLED AT A LATER TIME. IF YOU HAVE NOT REGISTERED TO
SPEAK BUT WOULD LIKE THE OPPORTUNITY TO ADDRESS US, SEE
ONE OF THE CLERKS TO SIGN UP FOR ONE OF THE SPEAKER SLOTS. THERE IS THE OPPORTUNITY FOR
SPEAKERS TO SPEAK AT THE REMAINING OF THE HEARING AFTER
THE REGISTERED SPEAKERS HAVE ADDRESSED THE BOARD IF NO SHOWS
ARE AVAILABLE. STATE YOUR NAME WHEN YOU SPEAK
AND ONCE YOU HAVE SPOKEN, PLEASE SEE THE CLERKS AS THEY’LL
COLLECT YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION. SO THROUGHOUT THE EVENING, YOU
MAY NOTICE THAT SOME OF THE BOARD MEMBERS LEAVE THE TABLE,
JUST KNOW YOUR VOICE IS BEING HEARD, THERE ARE TELEVISIONS IN
THE BACK WHILE BOARD MEMBERS MAY HAVE COME DIRECTLY FROM WORK AND
GETTING SOMETHING TO EAT BACK THERE. THEY ARE LISTENING TO YOU.
AND WITH THAT, WE CAN BEGIN. WE’LL BEGIN WITH THE FIRST
STUDENT SPEAKER THAT IS ISABELLA NICOLA AND AFTER THAT, WE HAVE A
GROUP. [NAMES OF SPEAKERS BEING READ]
HI, EVERYONE. I AM ISABELLA NICOLA. I’M IN THE FIFTH GRADE. I AM HERE TO TALK ABOUT THE
STRING. MY TEACHERS HAVE MADE MY
EXPERIENCE IN THE PROGRAM WONDERFUL. THE PROGRAM TEACHES THE WONDERS
OF MUSIC AND WONDER OF THE NOTES. IT IS AN EARN WILLING PROCESS
AND ALSO A FUN AND ENJOYING TIME. I WOULD KNOW, I’M IN THE SPRINGS
PROGRAM. I THINK THAT MANY PEOPLE THAT
ARE IN THE PROGRAM HAVE ENJOYED THE PROCESS OF LEARNING MUSIC
AND THE NOTES. THIS IS WHY WE
SHOULD MAINLY KEEP THE STRINGS PROGRAM. MANY PEOPLE ARE IN IT AND MANY
PEOPLE WOULD DISLIKE IT IF WE GOT RID OF IT. ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE IS ME. THE STRINGS PROGRAM IS WONDER. IT IS A JOURNEY OF THE MUSIC. DURING MY TIME IN STRINGS,
LAUGHED, SMILED AND LEARNED MUSIC. I KNOW THAT I’M NOT THE ONLY
PERSON WHO ADMITS THAT WILL THE MISS THE STRINGS PROGRAM IF IT
IS GONE. I ALWAYS THOUGHT TO MYSELF, MAN,
I WISH I COULD PLAY STRINGS. HOW COULD I THOUGH. I WAS GOING TO GIVE UP, BUT
STRINGS HAS CHANGED EVERYTHING. I TRIED TO WORK THROUGH THE HARD
STUFF. I THINK THAT THE PROGRAM TEACHES
US PEOPLE NOT TO GIVE UP WHEN THINGS GET ROUGH. I STRONGLY THINK WE SHOULD KEEP
IT. THANK YOU. [APPLAUSE]
THANK YOU SO MUCH. [NAMES OF SPEAKERS BEING READ]
YOU CAN ALL COME UP TO THE MIC. GOOD EVENING. I AM TOMMY. I’M IN THE 4TH GRADE. I MOVED TO VIRGINIA FROM
GERMANY. I WENT TO A GERMAN SCHOOL AND MY
PARENTS WERE EXCITED I COULD CONTINUE THE GERMAN LEARNING. I KNEW THAT IT WAS THE BEST
SCHOOL FOR ME. GOING TO ORANGE HUNT REALLY
HELPED ME TO LEARN GERMAN AND REMEMBER THE GERMAN I HAD
LEARNED BEFORE. I WOULD MISS IT IF I COULDN’T
SPEAK GERMAN ANY MORE. MY BROTHER IS IN THE SECOND
GRADE AND HE WENT TO GERMAN SCHOOL TOO. HE’S NOT IN THE GERMAN IMMERSION
PROGRAM YET. HE GETS GERMAN ONCE A WEEK BUT
THAT IS NOT ENOUGH. WE TRY TO SPEAK AT HOME WHEN WE
CAN, BUT THE DIFFERENCE IS NOTICEABLE. I’M AFRAID THAT IF ORANGE HUNT
DOESN’T HAVE THE GERMAN ANY MORE I WILL FORGET GERMAN TOO. WHEN WE LIVED IN GERMAN, MOST OF
THE AMERICANS DIDN’T SPEAK ANOTHER LANGUAGE. MOST OF THE GERMAN PEOPLE SPOKE
MORE THAN ONE LANGUAGE. WE LEARNED ENGLISH IN SCHOOL
EVERY DAY AND THAT WAS EASY AND FUN FOR ME. I SEE WHY IT IS VALUABLE TO
LEARN MORE THAN ONE LANGUAGE. VOTE TO KEEP THE IMMERSION
PROGRAMS GOING FOR MY FUTURE AND MY BROTHER’S FUTURE AND ALL OF
THE KIDS IN THE FAIRFAX COUNTY SCHOOLS. GOOD EVENING. I AM RYAN AND I AM IN SECOND
GRADE AT ORANGE HUNT ELEMENTARY SCHOOL. I WANT TO GO GERMAN IMMERSION
CLASSES BECAUSE I LIKE TO LEARN THE WORDS IN GERMAN. I KNOW MOST OF THE WORDS. I WISH I HAD GERMAN MORE THAN
ONCE A WEEK. IT IS IMPORTANT TO KEEP LEARNING
GERMAN BECAUSE I LOVE SPEAKING A SECOND LANGUAGE. IT IS REALLY COOL AND MOST
AMERICAN KIDS DON’T DO IT. PLEASE HELP GERMAN IMMERSION
PROGRAMS SO I CAN DO TO NEXT YEAR HOPEFULLY. GOOD NIGHT. I LIKE THE GERMAN, IT IS REALLY
FUN. I HAVE GERMAN ONCE A WEEK. [APPLAUSE]
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR SHARING YOUR THOUGHTS WITH US. WE APPRECIATE IT. THE NEXT SPEAKERS ARE [NAMES OF
SPEAKERS BEING READ] ERIC? HELLO. I AM ERIC. I AM TEN YEARS OLD AND A 4TH
GRADER. I’M A DUAL CITIZEN OF AMERICA
AND SWITZERLAND. I HAVE LEARNED TO SPEAK GERMAN
CORRECTLY AS SCHOOL. I CAN HAVE CONVERSATIONS WITH
ANYONE THAT SPEAKS GERMAN. ORANGE HUNT IS GREAT BECAUSE A
LOT OF GERMAN KIDS THAT LIVE IN THE AREA. I LOVE LIVING IN A DIVERSE
COMMUNITY. THE GERMAN LANGUAGE IS AN
IMPORTANT PART OF WHO I AM. I ALSO KNOW THAT LEARNING
DIFFERENT LANGUAGES WHEN YOU ARE YOUNG HELPS TO DEVELOP MORE
PARTS OF YOUR BRAIN. I AM BILINGUAL I WILL HAVE MORE
SUCK IN SCHOOL THAN I OTHERWISE WOULD HAVE AND WHEN YOU ARE A
GROWN UP IT IS HARDER TO LEARN TO SPEAK MORE LANGS. I CORRECT MY PARENTS’ GERMAN ALL
THE TIME. YOU CAN GROW UP KNOWING ONE
LANGUAGE, BUT KNOWING MORE IS BETTER. IT IS LIKE BEING CUT OFF FROM
THE REST OF THE WORLD. IF YOU MAKE A FRIEND AND THEY
SPEAK A DIFFERENT LANGUAGE FROM YOU, WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO TALK
ABOUT? I WANT TO LEARN MORE LANGUAGES
BECAUSE I WANT TO MAKE FRIENDS FROM AROUND THE WORLD. PLEASE DON’T CUT THE LANGUAGE
IMMERSION PROGRAM. THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME. YOU ARE WELCOME. THANK YOU FOR COMING. I’M A 4TH GRADER AT OUR RANG
HUNT ELEMENTARY SCHOOL AND I WANT TO TELL YOU WHY THE
LANGUAGE IMMERSION PROGRAMS ARE IMPORTANT TO ME. WE ARE IN THE GERMAN IMMERSION
PROGRAM BECAUSE WE HAVE FAMILY MEMBERS IN GERMANY. LEARNING A NEW LANGUAGE CAN MAKE
YOU MORE SUCCESSFUL IN YOUR CAREER. MY DAD TRAVELS FOR WORK AND HE
KNOWS A LOT LANGUAGES. IT IS IMPORTANT FOR KIDS TO
LEARN WHEN THEY ARE YOUNGER BECAUSE THEIR BRAINS ARE LIKE
SPONGES. MY TEACHERS WORK HARD TO MAKE
LEARNING FUN BY DOING GAMES AND SONGS AND OUT DOOR ACTIVITIES. I ALSO THINK IT IS FUN TO LEARN
A NEW LANGUAGE. RECENTLY I HAVE COMPLETE ADD
PROJECT AND IT WAS IN GERMAN. I WAS VERY PROUD OF IT. I ALSO DON’T WANT ANYBODY AFTER
ME TO MISS OUT OF THE OPPORTUNITY I HAD OF LEARNING A
NEW LANGUAGE. MAINLY MY YOUNGER SISTER. IMMERSION IS AN IMPORTANT AND WE
SHOULD KEEP IT IN THE FAIRFAX PUBLIC SCHOOLS. THANK YOU AND GOOD NIGHT. THANK YOU. [NAMES OF SPEAKERS BEING READ]
I AM MARY DI SPIRITO. I LIVED IN FAIRFAX FOR 40 YEARS
AND MY DAUGHTER ATTENDED SCHOOL IN THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS FROM THE
TIME SHE WAS IN KINDERGARTEN THROUGH HIGH SCHOOL. BUT TONIGHT I WANT TO TALK TO
YOU ABOUT SOMETHING ELSE. I AM A VOLUNTEER. THE PARENTS PROVIDE A VERY
ESSENTIAL SERVICE FOR THE COMMUNITY, FOR THE STUDENTS AND
FOR THE PARENTS. WHEN THIS POSITION WAS CREATED
ABOUT 25 YEARS AGO, WE DIDN’T HAVE QUITE AS MANY PEOPLE IN
FAIRFAX COUNTY, WE WEREN’T AS DIVERSE AS WE ARE TODAY. SO THE PARENT LIAISONS ARE DOING
A DIFFERENT JOB THESE DAYS AND IT IS A VERY DIFFICULT JOB. WE HAVE TO SUPPORT THEM AND I
WORK CLOSELY WITH THEM ON A NUMBER OF THINGS. FIRST BEING THE HOLIDAY BASKET
PROGRAM AND I ASSUME YOU ARE FAMILIAR WITH THAT. THANKSGIVING AND CHRISTMAS. I AM ONE OF THE PEOPLE IN THE
COMMUNITY WHO LOOKS FOR DONORS OR SPONSORS FOR FAMILIES. MOST OF THOSE REFERRALS FOR
FAMILIES COME FROM PARENT LIAISONS. THE PROGRAM DEPENDS ON THEM. THEY’LL GET THE RIGHT ANSWERS
FOR ME. MY HUSBAND COORDINATES THE ACRA
FURNITURE PROGRAM AND WE WORK WITH THE PARENT LIAISON. MANY TIMES WHEN SHE CALLS OR
SENDS US A NOTE, WE KNOW WE CAN COUNT ON HER TO SCREEN THOSE
REQUESTS WELL AND HAVE THEM VETTED. AND WHEN IT COMES TO MAKE THE
DELIVERY SHE MAKES SURE THE FAMILY IS AT HOME AND READY FOR
THE VOLUNTEERS TO MAKE THE DELIVERY. THE PARENT LIAISONS GET INTO A
NUMBER OF THINGS THAT ARE QUITE UNUSUAL AND EARLIER IN THE YEAR,
MARIA CALLED ME, A PARENT HAD BEEN IN A VERY SEVERE ACCIDENT
AND THE MOTHER WAS IN A COMA IN THE HOSPITAL AND THE FATHER WAS
IN THE HOSPITAL. THIS FAMILY WAS FACING EVICTION
WHILE THEY WERE BOTH IN THE HOSPITAL MARIA WORKED HARD TO
PUT TOGETHER A PACKAGE. SHE PUT TOGETHER A PACKAGE TO
HAVE THE PEOPLE IN THE COMMUNITY SUPPORTING THIS FAMILY. THEY DIDN’T GET EVICTED. THE BUDGET COMMITTEE AND THE
FULL BOARD I HOPE WILL CONSIDER SERIOUSLY WHAT PARENT LIE YA
SONS DO AND HOW THEY SUPPORT THE COMMUNITY. THANK YOU. [APPLAUSE]
[NAMES OF SPEAKERS BEING READ] I AM KEVIN. ONE OF THE OWNERS OF FOX’S
MUSIC, A LOCAL MUSIC STORE SERVING NORTHERN VIRGINIA FOR
OVER 60 YEARS. AND YES, I AM HERE TONIGHT TO
URGE YOU NOT TO CUT THE 4TH GRADE STRINGS. STUDENTS WOULD SUFFER THE MOST
IF THE FIRST YEAR OF STRINGS WAS CUT. THERE WOULD BE SERIOUS DAMAGE TO
THE LARGE NORTHERN VIRGINIA MUSIC BUSINESS COMMUNITY. IN THIS AGE T INTERNET AND THE
THIN PROFIT MARGINS, THE INSTRUMENTALS ARE IMPORTANT TO
THE MUSIC STORE OWNERS. I RECENTLY ANALYZED THE RENTAL
NUMBERS AND 4TH GRADE BEGINNERS ACCOUNT FOR 75% OF OUR STRING
RENTAL BUSINESS. A FIGURE CONFIRMED BY OTHER
LOCAL RETAILERS. A LOSS OF THIS MAGNITUDE WOULD
BE DEVASTATING TO THE MUSIC DEALERS THAT INVESTED IN THE
STOCK OF RENTAL INSTRUMENTS. PRIVATE TEACHING STUDIOS AND
OTHERS WOULD SURF. I REALIZE THAT THE WELFARE OF
THE LOCAL BUSINESS IS NOT THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE SCHOOL
BOARD. BUT THE BUDGET CUTS HAVE
REPERCUSSIONS AT THE COMMUNITY AT LARGE AND IT IS IMPORTANT TO
BE AWARE OF THE CONSEQUENCES. YOU MIGHT CONSIDER THAT THE
BUSINESS LOSSES ON THIS SCALE WOULD FURTHER ERODE THE
COMMERCIAL TAX BASE THAT HELPS TO SUPPORT THE SCHOOLS. ELIMINATING THE 4TH GRADE STRING
WOULD HURT THE ENROLLMENT OF THE ENTIRE STRINGS PROGRAM AND IT IS
INSTRUMENTAL IN THE LEARNING AND FOR CAPTURING THE INTEREST OF
CHILDREN AT THE MOST RECEPTIVE AGE. THERE IS NO WAY THAT THE PROGRAM
CAN MAINTAIN THE CURRENT HIGH STANDARDS. IT SETS A DANGEROUS PRECEDENT. IF YOU CUT 4TH GRADE STRINGS NOW
AND NEXT TIME 5TH GRADE AND THE NEXT TIME THE ELIMINATION OF
MUSIC ALL TOGETHER AND BY THEN, THE MUSIC PROGRAM WILL BE ON THE
ROAD TO MEDIOCRITY AND THE ENROLLMENT DECLINED DOCUMENTED
WHEN THE FEEDER PROGRAMS ARE CUT. NO LONGER WILL BAND AND STRINGS
BE THE CROWN IN THE FAIRFAX COUNTY THAT THEY ARE TODAY. FROM THE WOODSON HIGH SCHOOL
BAND, I VOUCH FOR THE CHARACTER BUILDING EXPERIENCE THAT THE
SCHOOL MUSIC PROVIDES AND TEACHING SELF-DISCIPLINE AND
TEAM WORK AND CULTURAL HERITAGE AND POSITIVE CREATIVE OUTLET
THAT IS NEEDED. LET’S NOT FORGET WHAT IS MOST
IMPORTANT. THE PRESERVATION THROUGH
EDUCATION OF ONE OF MAN KIND’S AGELESS AND SUBLIME ENDEAVORS. IT FULFILLS A NEED IN THE HUMAN
PSYCH. DOESN’T IT DESERVE TO BE IN THE
CURRICULUM. [APPLAUSE]
THANK YOU. [NAMES OF SPEAKERS BEING READ]
GOOD EVENING. IN SEPTEMBER, MY SON FELIX
STARTED THE SPANISH PROGRAM AND HIS LATIN MOTHER COULDN’T BE
MORE THRILLED. YOU SEE, I WAS BORN AND RAISED
IN VENEZUELA, 12 YEARS AGO I MOVED TO WASHINGTON DC TO PURSUE
STUDIES AND MARRIED AN AMERICAN CITIZEN AND WE MOVED TO VIRGINIA
FOR THE PROSPECT OF THE KIDS ATTENDING THE BEST SCHOOLS. I LOOK BACK ON MY LIFE, BY FAR
THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT DECISION WAS ENROLLED IN THE
IMMERSION PROGRAM AND ALLOWED ME TO BECOME BILINGUAL. IT AFFORDED ME THE POSSIBILITY
OF TAKING PART IN THE LIFE OF DIFFERENT CULTURES, BECOME AN
INTERMEDIARY BETWEEN THE CULTURES AND EXPAND MY SOCIAL
NETWORK AND CONTRIBUTED IN WAYS TO MY PROFESSIONAL SUCCESS. PERHAPS THE MOST POIGNANT MEMORY
OF BEING AWARE OF BEING BILINGUAL WAS HOW MY PARENTS
LAUGHED SO HARD WHEN I WATCHED A STAND UP COMEDY ON CABLE TV. MY PARENTS WERE NOT ABLE TO
UNDERSTAND AND COMPREHEND THE HUMOR. ASIDE FROM THE ECONOMIC VALUE
FOR MY CHILDREN, LEARNING SPANISH IS A FORCE OF
SELF-KNOWLEDGE. IT WILL HELP THEM UNLOCK THE
WISDOM AND CHARACTER OF THE SOUTH AMERICAN GRANDPARENTS AND
AUNTS AND UNCLES AND THE TRUTH OF THEIR FAMILY’S HISTORY. IT IS A FORM OF CULTURAL CAPITAL
AND KNOW WHO THEY ARE AND WHERE THEY CAME FROM. IN THIS TIME OF EXTREME
CONTRASTS IT IS IMPORTANT TO EMBRACE THE BILINGUAL EDUCATION
TO FOSTER EMPATHY AND TOLERANCE AND INCLUSION. I MAKE A CALL TO THE COMMUNITY
TO KEEP THE IMMERSION PROGRAM AND IT IS SO SHORT SIGHTED TO
ELIMINATE THE WORLD CLASS PROGRAM LIKE OURS TO RESOLVE A
SHORT TERM BUDGET ISSUE. THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME. [APPLAUSE]
THANK YOU. GOOD EVENING. I AM LIZ. I HAVE BEEN ON THE LEADERSHIP
TEAM SINCE 2008. I BEGAN WORKING ON HEALTH SCHOOL
START TIMES WHEN MY OLDEST CHILD WAS 7 AND MY YOUNGEST AT 3. NOW MY DAUGHTER IS AT LANGLEY. SLEEP DIDN’T ASK THE MEMBERS TO
SPEAK TONIGHT. WE WOULD LIKE TO THANK THE
BOARD, THE TRANSPORTATION TEAM AND THE COMMUNITY FOR
IMPLEMENTING THE LATER HIGH SCHOOL START TIMES TWO YEARS
AGO. YOU LAUNCHED JUST IN TIME FOR MY
DAUGHTER START HIGH SCHOOL. I HAVE SEEN THE SCIENCE PLAY OUT
IN HER. IT IS HARDER AND HARDER TO FALL
ASLEEP BEFORE 10:00. WITH THE EXTRA TIME IN THE
MORNING SHE’S NOT MISSED A DAY OF SCHOOL, HER GRADES ARE GREAT
AND A LIFE OUTSIDE OF SCHOOL AND HE’S A VERY ENJOYABLE TEENAGER. I HAVE LISTENED TO VOLUMES OF
PARENTS THAT EXPRESSED THEIR PRAISE AND THANKSGIVING FOR THE
LATER HIGH SCHOOL START. THE SKY DIDN’T FALL, SPORTS
DIDN’T COLLAPSE, BUT THE SUN IS SHINING FOR THE CHILDREN. BUT THE WORK ISN’T DONE. MIDDLE SCHOOLER AND THEIR
FAMILIES ARE HURTING. I AM SURE YOU RECALL THE GROUP
OF STUDENTS THAT SPOKE LAST FALL WITH THE MIDDLE SCHOOL START AND
ASKING THE ADOLESCENTS TO BOARD THE BUSES AT 6:00 A.M. IS NOT
ACCEPTABLE. MY SON STARTS MIDDLE SCHOOL NEXT
YEAR AND THE FIRST BLOCK BELL RING TWO HOURS EARLIER THAN IT
HAS FOR THE PAST 7 YEARS WHEN THE BODY CLOCK IS SHIFTING LATER
AND LATER. WAKING UP AT 5:45 MEANS HE
MISSES THE RESTORATIVE TIME OF SLEEP. FAIRFAX SCHOOLS DID GREAT WORK
WHEN THEY HELPED THE HIGH SCHOOL FAMILIES. YOU MADE THE COMMITMENT TO
CONTINUE THE WORK TO HELP THE MIDDLE SCHOOL KIDS. IT IS TWO YEARS AND IT IS TIME
TO FULFILL THE PROMISE. I UNDERSTAND THAT THE BUDGET IS
A CHALLENGE. WE DON’T GIVE UP. PERHAPS WE PUSH BACK THE TIME A
LITTLE BIT EACH YEAR. I AM OPEN TO HOW WE GET THERE,
BUT WE HAVE THE START. WE CAN’T ALLOW ANOTHER
GENERATION OF KIDS TO SUFFER WHEN WE KNOW THE SCIENCE AND WE
HAVE SEEN THE AFFECTS IN THE FAMILIES AROUND US. PLEASE I URGE YOU TO INCLUDE THE
HEALTHY SCHOOL START TIMES IN THE BUDGET THIS YEAR. THANK YOU. [NAMES OF SPEAKERS BEING READ]
GOOD EVENING. I AM HERE PTA PRESIDENT AS A
PARENT AND AS A FAIRFAX COUNTY EMPLOYEE. NEEDLESS TO SAY I HAVE SPENT A
LOT OF TIME AT OUR WONDERFUL SCHOOL. I BOUGHT IN THE SCHOOL SYSTEM
HOOK LINE AND SINKER. MY HUSBAND GRADUATED FROM
McCLAIN HIGH SCHOOL. 11 YEARS AGO WE DISAGREED ON
WHERE TO BUY A HOUSE. I WAS SET ON ARLINGTON. HE WON BECAUSE OF THE SCHOOL
SYSTEM. I KNEW IT GROWING UP IN VIRGINIA
BEACH IN A TINY SCHOOL AND THE COLLEGE COUNSELLOR SAID YOU HAVE
TO COMPETE WITH THE FAIRFAX COUNTY KIDS FOR COLLEGE
ENTRANCE. FAIRFAX ENJOYED A LONG HISTORY. FAIRFAX IS THE GOLD STANDARD. WE CERTAINLY THOUGHT IT WAS, WE
STUDIED FAIRFAX COUNTY AND THE SYSTEMS AND MODELLED OURSELVES
AFTER IT. OUR SCHOOL SYSTEM’S SYSTEM IS
TIED TO THE PROPERTY VALUES, LOW CRIME RATES AND STRONG
COMMUNITIES. WHEN THE SCHOOL SYSTEM DOES
WELL, IT IS NOT JUST THE CHILDREN THAT BENEFITS T HOMES
ARE MORE DESIRABLE AND VALUE AND HISTORICALLY THE SCHOOL SYSTEM
IS THE ANCHOR. REAL ESTATE IN FAIRFAX COUNTY IS
ALWAYS A GOOD INVESTMENT. WE ARE LOSING THE TALENT TO THE
NEIGHBORING COUNTIES, AND WE SEE IT CLEARLY ON THE EDGES OF THE
DISTRICT. I’M HERE TO ECHO THE FEELING
THAT THE PTA BOARD ARE FEELING. WE CANNOT FALL BEHIND. WE KNOW YOU HAVE A DIFFICULT
DECISION TO MAKE. WE APPRECIATE YOU MAKING THE
DECISIONS ON OUR BEHALF AND THAT YOU ARE MAKING THE DECISIONS IN
OUR BEST INTEREST. WE KNOW YOU NEED US WITH YOU AND
WE ARE WILLING TO STEP UP. WE WISH TO MOURN ANY LOSS OF
THINGS IN OUR PROGRAMS. SO HOW DO WE KEEP IT ALL? HOW DO WE MAINTAIN WHAT WE HAVE. THE WONDERFUL PROGRAMS THAT WE
HAVE IN PLACE. I AM ASKING WHAT THE COMMUNITIES
CAN DO. I URGE YOU ALL TO CONSIDER ALL
OF THE LEARNERS. WE ARE TRYING TO HELP. THERE IS A BUDDY SCHOOL, AND WE
HAVE SPENT THE YEAR MAKING FLASH CARDS AND HELPING THEM STUDY AND
BOARD GAMES AND DONATING WARM CLOTHING FOR THE KIDS. YOU HAVE A BIG COUNTY TO ANSWER
TO. BUT BEFORE YOU MAKE THE CUTS TO
THE PROGRAMS, PLEASE INVOLVE US, REACH OUT TO US, SEE HOW WE CAN
BE OF SERVICE TOO. THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME. [NAMES OF SPEAKERS BEING READ]
HI. THIS IS MY DAUGHTER KATE. AND THIS IS MY SON BEN. THEY ARE IN THE JAPANESE
IMMERSION PROGRAM. KATE’S GOAL IS FOR US TO SAVE
MONEY AND TRY TO GO TO TOKYO OLYMPICS IN 2020. SO KEEP IT UNTIL 6TH GRADE. I AM DISAPPOINTED THAT THE ISSUE
CONTINUES TO COME UP AS A SENSIBLE PROGRAM TO LOOK. WE LOOKED AT CHANGING TRENDS AT
OUR SCHOOL THAT MAY AFFECT WHETHER OR NOT THIS ENDS UP
BEING A PROJECTED COST SAVINGS. THIS YEAR IN FIRST GRADE, THERE
ARE 64 KIDS IN THE JAPANESE IMMERSION PROGRAM AND ONLY 30 IN
THE GENERAL ED. SO IT IS THE FIRST YEAR THIS
HAPPENED AND PULLING MORE FROM THE BOUNDARY KIDS. IT IS SERVING THE COMMUNITY THAT
IT IS AND THAT IS EXCEPTIONAL. ANOTHER THING THAT WE ARE DOING
IS THE FRUIT BASKETING FOR THE GRADES AS THEY BECOME LONGER. THEY MIXED THE CLASSES SO ONE
ENGLISH AND ONE SOCIAL STUDIES CLASS ALL TOGETHER AND THEY DO
THE LANGUAGE SEPARATE FROM THAT SO LESS OF A STAFFING NEED. THAT HELPS THEM MEET THE KIDS AT
THE SCHOOL. WE ARE ENCOURAGING IT AT THE
LOWER GRADES TO MIX THEM TOGETHER. THE THIRD THING, IS SINCE FOX
MILL HAS ADVANCED MATH BEGINNING IN THE THIRD GRADE, WE ARE
SEEING LESS KIDS GOING TO THE AP CENTER AND WE ARE KEEPING THE
NUMBERS. THAT IS A GREAT TREND AND IT IS
A GOOD FIT FOR US. THE SAVINGS ARE A LITTLE
OVERSOLD. MY OTHER CONCERN IT IS SUCH A
MAJOR CUT TO A PROGRAM THAT WE CAN’T BE REDONE. I WOULD URGE CUTS THAT CAN BE
UNDONE IN A YEAR. THIS CAN’T BE. THE OTHER THING IS I JUST IN
THIS POLITICAL CLIMATE, THE PR OF FAIRFAX COUNTY ELIMINATING
THE FOREIGN LANGUAGE PROGRAMS IT IS ANOTHER NAIL IN THE COFFIN OF
THIS WHOLE ENVIRONMENT. IN HER CLASS ALONE THERE ARE
OFFICER’S KIDS. THIS IS SERVING A COMMUNITY THAT
WANT NATIVE BILINGUAL LANGUAGE SKILLS. WE TRY TO LEARN LANGUAGES AS
ADULTS AND IT IS VERY DIFFICULT. SO WITH THAT, I SAY THANK YOU
AND THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE ON THIS BOARD. I APPRECIATE IT VERY MUCH. GOOD NIGHT. [APPLAUSE]
THANK YOU. [NAMES OF SPEAKERS BEING READ]
SHE WANTED THE CELLO. SHE COULDN’T BRING IT ON THE
BUS. THEN WE CONSIDERED THE VIOLIN. WHEN WE APPROACHED THE STRINGS
TEACHERS THEY SAID YES. WE CAN WORK WITH ISABELLE AND
MAKE IT POSSIBLE FOR HER TO PLAY THE VILLAIN. THEY TRIED EVERYTHING FROM A TO
Z TO MAKE IT POSSIBLE FOR HER TO PLAY LIKE HER PEERS. THE MUSIC PROGRAM AT FAIRFAX IS
JUST AS IMPORTANT AS OTHER ASPECTS OF THE CURRICULUM. A CHILD IS MORE THAN THE MATH,
SCIENCE AND LANGUAGE ARTS, IT IS A HUMAN BEING AND DIFFERENT WAYS
OF EXPRESSING THEIR INDIVIDUALITY. MUSIC IS AN ESCAPE FROM A CHILD
FROM THE SOCIAL MEDIA SOCIETY. I DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU, I WOULD
RATHER HAVE MY CHILD PRACTICES VIOLIN NOTES THAN ON THE PHONE. THE STRINGS PROGRAM BUILT THE
FOUNDATION TO LOVE MUSIC. IF WE REMOVED THE PROGRAM AT THE
4TH GRADE LEVEL WE’LL MISS THE WINDOW FOR THE COMMIT AND LOVE
FOR THE HOBBY AND ADMIRING THE ARTS. HAD IT NOT BEEN FOR THE
DEDICATION OF THE TEACHERS, MY DAUGHTER WOULDN’T BE IN THE
CONCERT IN FRONT OF THE PEOPLE AND SAYING I DID IT MOMMA, YOU
WERE RIGHT, I CAN DO ANYTHING IF I DON’T GIVE UP. PLEASE DON’T GIVE UP ON OUR
CHILDREN. THANK YOU. THANK YOU. [NAMES OF SPEAKERS BEING
READ] MR. GAGNON. GRIS? GOOD EVENING. I AM A MOM OF TWO KIDS A
DAUGHTER AND SON. THEY BOTH ORANGE HUNT
ELEMENTARY. WE DO SPEAK ALREADY AT HOME A
DIFFERENT LANGUAGE. I SPEAK GERMAN ALSO. SO I KNOW THREE LANGUAGES BUT I
KNOW HOW IMPORTANT IT IS NOT JUST HERE BUT ALL OVER THE WORLD
TO KNOW THE LANGUAGES. THE IMMERSION PROGRAM IS JUST A
SMALL FRACTION OF THE TOTAL FAIRFAX COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS
BUDGET SO YOU HAVE TO THINK ABOUT THAT. IT IS 1.9, BUT STILL, FULLY
IMPLEMENTED IMMERSION PROGRAMS ARE COST NEUTRAL AND IN FACT,
THE TRANSPORTATION COSTS WILL INCREASE BUZZ THE IMMERSION
STUDENTS WILL NOW BE RIDING BUSES. BY KIDS QUALIFY FOR THE AAP OR
THE REGULAR DISTRICT THEY’LL BE RIDING THE BUSES. SO THIS HIGHER THE COST. MY BIGGEST FEAR IS THAT THE
IMMERSION PROGRAMS ARE ELIMINATED AND THEY’LL NEVER
COME BACK. THE COST FOR THE PROGRAMS IN IF
FUTURE WILL BE STRUGGLING. FAIRFAX COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS
WILL BEHIND THE NEIGHBOR COUNTIES THAT ARE ADDING THE
IMMERSION PROGRAMS EVERY YEAR. I WANT TO BE HERE BECAUSE OF THE
PROGRAM, BECAUSE OF THE IMMERSION. IT IS REALLY IMPORTANT. WE NEED TO DO THE RIGHT THING
NOW FOR THE FUTURE. TO REMAIN A TOP NOTCH SCHOOL
SYSTEM IN A COMPETITIVE MARKET AND MAINTAIN THE IMMERSION
PROGRAM AND GIVE THE CHILDREN THE OPPORTUNITY TO REACH THEIR
FULL POTENTIAL. WE CANNOT ELIMINATE THE
IMMERSION PROGRAM. WE NEED TO SAVE IT AND EXPAND IT
AND GO FURTHER WITH THAT. THERE ARE SO MANY PARENTS THAT
WOULD LIKE THEIR KIDS THERE. IT IS HARD TO GET THERE. BUT IT IS REALLY, REALLY GREAT
PROGRAM. IT IS THE BEST THING AT THE
FAIRFAX PUBLIC SCHOOLS. THANK YOU. MY KIDS ARE NOT HERE BECAUSE
THEY ARE HOME AND SLEEPING. THEY NEED THEIR SLEEP. THANK YOU. [NAMES OF SPEAKERS BEING READ]
HI, GOOD EVENING. I’M KATHLEEN MALLARD. I AM WITH THE FAIRFAX COUNTY
TAXPAYER ALLIANCE. MY REMARKS ARE NOT PART OF THEIR
AGENDA. GOOD EVENING, SUPERINTENDENT AND
BOARD. I SPENT TIME TODAY REVIEWING THE
PROPOSED 2018 BUDGET AND THE MANY RELATED CHARTS AND FACTS
AND FIGURES AND I AM SEEING DOUBLE RIGHT. THE MAGNITUDE OF THE JOB MUST BE
OVERWHELMING. I WANT TO SHARE THOUGHTS ABOUT
THE REVENUE SIDE. YOU HAVE AN IMPORTANT JOB AND A
GREAT RESPONSIBILITY TO THE TAXPAYERS BECAUSE THE REVENUES
ARE FROM THE COUNTY STATE AND FEDERAL SOURCES, THAT TRANSLATE
INTO THE REVENUES FROM THE TAXPAYERS. FAIRFAX COUNTY CHILDREN 190,000
OF THEM RECEIVE AN EXCELLENT EDUCATION FOR APPROXIMATELY
$15,000 PER PUPIL PER YEAR. IT IS COMING TO KNOW REAL
PERSONAL COST EXCEPT FOR THE TAXES THAT THE PARENTS PAY. I KNOW MANY TEACHERS, PRINCIPALS
AND ADMINISTRATORS ALL AROUND THE REGION. I KNOW HOW FORTUNATE ARE
CHILDREN ARE TO LIVE IN THIS PART OF THE WORLD. BUT I WAS TALKING TO TEACHERS
WHO WERE VERY DISAPPOINTED WITH WHAT FORMER SUPERINTENDENT GARSA
DID. SHE’S HIRED TO BE PRESIDENT FOR
A NONPROFIT EDUCATION BASED IN COLUMBUS, OHIO AND PUBLISHED
RECORDS EARNING $370,000 A YEAR. BUT TELL FOR KIDS WORKS WITH
FCPS FOR SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT. RECENTLY FCPS SIGNED A FIVE YEAR
SERVICE CONTRACT WITH THE NONPROFIT AGENCY FOR $280,000,
AND I DON’T KNOW IF THAT IS PER YEAR OR THE FIVE YEARS. AT ANY RATE, THIS IS A REAL
CONFLICT OF INTEREST, I WOULD SAY. THIS IS SOMETHING THAT COULD BE
CUT. WHY CUT THE IMMERSION PROGRAMS
AND THE STRINGS, CUT THIS CONTRACT, THESE TEACHERS I MET
SAID THEY HAVE PEOPLE COMING IN AND OBSERVING THEM AND WRITING
THE REPORTS AND IT WAS NOT HELPFUL TO THEM. ANOTHER AREA THAT I AM CONCERNED
IS THE DRUG, SAFE AND DRUG FREE YOUTH PROGRAM. I LIVE NEAR THE McCLAIN HIGH
SCHOOL AND MY NEIGHBORHOOD FOUND TWO BAGS OF MARIJUANA AND LACED
WITH SOMETHING AND THIS AREA IS SEEING A LARGE INCREASE IN DRUG
RELATED INCIDENTS. I FOUND A LITTLE BAGS OF PAPER
THAT YOU ROLL UP CIGARETTES, SO I THINK WE REALLY NEED TO BE
LOOKING AT THOSE PROGRAMS. DON’T CUT THE VERY IMPORTANT
PROGRAMS THAT KEEP THEM AWAY FROM DRUGS. FAMILY PLAY A ROLE IN THE
CHILDREN’S EDUCATION, LET’S SEE ACTION THAT SUPPORTS THAT. THANK YOU VERY MUCH. [NAMES OF SPEAKERS BEING READ]
GOOD EVENING. AS CPA AND 20 YEARS EXPERIENCE
IN ACCOUNTING AND FINANCE I AM TALKING ABOUT THE 2018 PROPOSED
BUDGET. WE ALL KNOW THAT THE BOARD HAS A
MISSION OF PROVIDING THE HIGH QUALITY EDUCATION TO YOUR
STUDENTS AND THE BUDGET HAS TO BE STUDENT CENTERED BUDGET. IN THE PAST 16 YEARS, FROM 2000
TO 2016 THE BUDGET INCREASED A HUNDRED PERCENT. DOUBLED. OUR STUDENT ENROLLMENT FOR THE
SAME PERIOD ONLY INCREASED 2 THE 22%. MEANING THAT THE MONEY SPENT IS
FIVE TIMES MORE THAN OUR STUDENTS ENROLLMENT. WHERE DOES THE MONEY GO? I GIVE YOU THREE EXAMPLES OF HOW
THE BUDGET CURRENT BUDGET IS MISMANAGED AND OUR TAXPAYER
MONEY IS ILL SPENT. EXAMPLE NUMBER ONE, LOOKING AT
THE CHART, STUDENTS AND TEACHERS EXPOSED TO THIS IC AND
CONCUSSION RISKS WHILE YOU SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS WORK IN THE
SEXY GLASSY AND SHINY SCHOOL BOARD BUILDING. THAT IS MONEY ILL SPENT. THAT IS NOT A STUDENT CENTERED
BUDGET. EXAMPLE NUMBER TWO, THE
SUPERINTENDENT EARNED $350,000 A YEAR PLUS FRINGE BENEFITS WHILE
THE TEACHERS HAVE TO DEAL WITH A LARGE SIZED CLASSROOM WITH NO
PAY INCREASE FOR YEARS, HAVE TO LIVE IN AN APARTMENT MILES AND
MILES AWAY FROM THE SCHOOL. THAT IS NOT A STUDENT CENTERED
BUDGET. EXAMPLE NUMBER THREE, INFLUX OF
THE FAMILIES COMING TO OUR COUNTY AND TO STRESS OUR SCHOOL
SYSTEM. HAVE YOU NOTICED THE INCREASE
NUMBER OF BAGGERS WITH KIDS WONDERING AROUND THE SHOPPING
CENTERS? HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH THAT. ASSUMING ONE FAMILY HAS THREE
KIDS SENT INTO YOUR COUNTY SYSTEM AND EVERY CHILD WE PAY
$14,000 FOR EDUCATION. AND 12 YEARS OF PUBLIC
EDUCATION, THAT IS $500,000 PER FAMILY. WE TAXPAYERS ARE PICKING UP THE
TAB. THAT DOESN’T INCLUDE THE FREE
HEALTH INSURANCE, THE FREE LUNCH AND FREE PROGRAM. SO WITH THREE REASONS, I URGE
YOU TO CONSIDER THIS WHEN YOU APPROVE OR DISAPPROVE THE SCHOOL
BUDGET. WE TAXPAYERS, YOU WORK FOR US,
THE TAXPAYERS, WE WANT REASONABLY AND RESPONSIBLE
SCHOOL BUDGET. THANK YOU VERY MUCH. [NAMES OF SPEAKERS BEING READ]
I AM PARENT OF A STUDENT IN THE IMMERSION PROGRAM AT FAIRFAX
COUNTY. DON’T CUT THE IMMERSION PROGRAM. INSTEAD MAKE START DECISIONS
THAT WILL BENEFIT THE STUDENTS AND COUNTY AS A WELL. THE RESEARCH SHOWS THE BENEFITS
OF THE IMMERSION PROGRAMS, PROFICIENCY IN A SECOND
LANGUAGE, HIGHER LEVELS OF READING AND BETTER PATTERN
RECOGNITION AND PROBLEM SOLVING AND MORE SUCCESSFUL SCHOOLING
EXPERIENCES. TWO PROGRAMS SPANISH HELP THE
NATIVE SPANISH SPEAKERS AS WELL AND RESULTING IN INCREASING
ENROLLMENT IN THE POST SECONDARY EDUCATION. SO IF YOU ARE AWARE OF THE
FACTS AND THE IMMERSION PROGRAM IS
SET, IT IS PURELY A FINANCIAL ISSUE. BY STATE LAW THE COUNTY HAS TO
HAVE A BALANCED BUDGET. WE HAVE TO RAISE THE REVENUES OR
CUT THE EXPENSES. YOU CAN INCREASE THE FEES FOR
THE PROGRAMS OR ELIMINATE THE WAIVERS FOR FEES. AND OR CAPITAL ON THE STATE AND
FEDERAL GRANTS AND WAIVERS ALLOWING FOR THE EXPENDITURES
ALLOWED FOR DISBURSEMENT. TO CUT EXPENSES, THE TASK FORCE
CONSIDERED ELIMINATING PROGRAMS INCREASING CLASS SIZES AND
REDUCING PAY AND PENSIONS. THIS
IS NOT THE DIRECTION THAT WE SHOULD GO. IF THE BOARD WANTS TO MOVE IN
THIS DIRECTION, I URGE YOU TO CONSIDER REDUCING THE
ADMINISTRATIVE SPENDING AND CENTRALIZED THE RESPONSIBILITIES
AND USING FCPS ECONOMY OF SCALE TO INCREASE THE POWER OF
SPENDING. I URGE YOU TO INCREASE YOUR OUT
RAGE. THESE DISCUSSIONS HAPPEN EVERY
YEAR AND THEY DON’T NEED TO. FCPS HAS TO KNOW THAT WE MOVE TO
THE COUNTY BECAUSE OF THE SCHOOLS. THE TAX BASE OF THE STATE
INCREASES. I MOVED HERE BECAUSE OF THE
SCHOOLS AND INSTEAD OF INCREASING THE FEES T QUALITY OF
THE SCHOOLS WILL DECREASE, IF THAT HAPPENS, WE’LL STOP SEEING
FAIRFAX COUNTY AS A PLACE FOR FAMILIES TO SEE AND A FAMILIES
TO HAVE BEEN. IN THE 90s AND EARLY 2000s WITH
6.4% HIGHER TAXES AND THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS AT THE PEAK OF THE
PERFORMANCE NATIONWIDE. I URGE YOU TO MAKE SMART BUDGET
DECISIONS TO PROVIDE THE PROGRAMS AND SERVICES TO
CHILDREN. MAKE USE OF THE FEDERAL GRANTS
AND WAIVERS AND DON’T CUT THE IMMERSION PROGRAM. IT IS HELPFUL FOR THE STUDENTS
AND FAMILIES AND OUR COUNTY. THANK YOU. [NAMES OF SPEAKERS BEING READ]
GOOD EVENING. I AM HERE TO ADDRESS THE MENTAL
SERVICES IN THE SCHOOLS. IN SEPTEMBER 2011, WE ENROLLED
MY DAUGHTER IN A FAIRFAX HIGH SCHOOL A BRIGHT AND SHINY
FRESHMAN. SHE HAD BIG PLANS. SHE WANTED TO JOIN THE ROTC
PROGRAM. HE WANTED TO MAKE NEW FRIENDS
AND GO TO PROM. AFTER HIGH SCHOOL, HER PLAN WAS
TO JOIN MILITARY, THE MARINES. SHE WANTED TO STUDY FORENSICS
AND BY AGE 30 THE PLAN WAS TO WORK AT THE FBI. TWO MONTHS INTO 9TH GRADE THIS
CHANGED WITH A FAINTING SPELL IN GUITAR CLASS. AFTER MANY, MANY SUCH EPISODES
SHE WAS DIAGNOSED WITH POTTS. IT WAS THE BEGINNING OF A NIGHT
MARE. AMBULANCES, DOCTORS, IN SCHOOL
FOR A COUPLE OF DAYS, OUT OF SCHOOL FOR A COUPLE OF WEEKS,
HOW MANY BOUND PAPERS AND SCHOOL MEETINGS. AT EACH SCHOOL MEETING, THE
COUNSELLORS AND TEACHERS AND THE IEP REPS AND SOCIAL WORKERS WERE
SINCERE TO HELP MY DAUGHTER GET THE GRADUATION, HOWEVER, AFTER
THE MEETINGS WERE OVER AND HER HEALTH CAUSED HER TO BE ABSENT
FOR WEEKS AT A TIME, WE GOT CRICKETS. NO ONE CONTACTED US TO ASK
WHETHER IS SHE AND HOW IS SHE. IN THE SCHOOLS, I THINK WE DO A
GOOD JOB OF GIVING RECOGNITION TO STAR ATHLETES, AND ACADEMIC
SUPER STARS. WE DO A GOOD JOB OF PROVIDING
SUPPORT FOR KIDS DEALING WITH TEEN PREGNANCY AND BROKEN BONES
AND ATTENTION TO THE THOSE KIDS THAT CAUSE HALLWAY FIGHTS. BUT WHAT ABOUT THE CHALLENGE
BEING INVISIBLE. CHRONIC INVISIBLE ILLNESS AND
INVISIBLE SADNESS IS SUCH A CHALLENGE. THESE KIDS ARE DESPERATELY
HANGING ON AND NEED TO KNOW THEY MATTER TOO. SOMETHING ABOUT HANGING ON JUST
IN ITSELF IS AN ACHIEVEMENT FOR THESE KIDS. IT TOOK FIVE YEARS BUT MY
DAUGHTER GRADUATED. THE WEEK BEFORE THE CEREMONY, I
MET WITH THE SCHOOL PRINCIPAL, A SORT OF EXIT INTERVIEW. I HAD SOME QUESTIONS. I ASKED WHY DURING MY CHILD’S
EXTENDED ABSENCES NO ONE EVER CALLED TO CHECK ON THEIR
STUDENT. WHY DIDN’T THE CAPTAIN IN JROTC
HAVE THE KIDS SEND A CARD. WHY DIDN’T THE SOCIAL WORKER
COME TO THE HOUSE AS SHE HAD PROMISED? THESE SMALL THINGS WOULD HAVE
MEANT A LOT TO HER AND LIFTED THE LONELINESS. KNOWING THE SCHOOL MISSED HER
WOULD HAVE MEANT THE WORLD. AT THE TIME OF THE EXIT
INTERVIEW THERE WAS A WEEK OF SCHOOL LEFT. THE PRINCIPAL HAD A WEEK TO DO
SOMETHING, FOR THE STUDENT THAT REFUSED TO GIVE UP. IF HE HAD SPENT FIVE MINUTES
WITH HER, THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN MEANINGFUL. SHE WALKED ACROSS THE STAGE ON
JUNE 16TH. IT WAS A HARD JOURNEY FULL OF
EXPERIENCES SHE HAD MISSED BUT THE FINAL DISAPPOINTMENT WAS THE
CRICKETS FROM THE PRINCIPAL’S OFFICE. JULY 13TH, ATTENDED A PUBLIC
WORKSHOP MENTAL RESOURCES FOR THE LOCAL YOUTH. I LISTENED CAREFULLY. I HEARD A VERY WELL MEANING
SPEAKER SHARE EFFORTS MADE TO HELP KIDS SUFFERING FROM MENTAL
HEALTH ISSUES. WHAT
[SPEAKING SPANISH] [APPLAUSE]
SO I WILL TRANSLATE. GOOD EVENING. AS A MOTHER I AM GLAD TO KNOW I
HAVE A FRIEND THAT HAS THE SAME CULTURE AND SPEAKS THE SAME
LANGUAGE WHEN I ARRIVE TO THE SCHOOL. SHE TELLS ME WHAT HAPPENS TO MY
SON AT SCHOOL. THE FACT WE HAVE SOMEONE TO
LISTEN TO US OUR CHILDREN AND US AS PARENTS. WE ARE GRATEFUL THAT SHE INFORMS
US OF THE PROGRAMS THAT BENEFIT US AS PARENTS AND THE COMMUNITY. FOR EXAMPLE, WHERE WE RECEIVE AN
ENGLISH CLASS AND ECONOMIC ASSISTANCE. I SPEAK OF OTHER ACTIVITIES THEY
HELP TO ORGANIZATION AND HAVE IN THE COMMUNITY. LIKE WHEN THEY DISTRIBUTE FOOD
IN THE COMMUNITY. THEY MAKE SURE THAT THE CHILDREN
HAVE CHRISTMAS GIFTS. IN PARTICULAR, THIS SUMMER WHEN
SUMMER SCHOOL WAS ELIMINATED OUR FAMILY LEAH SON LOOKED FOR THE
FUNDS TO PROVIDE A SUMMER SCHOOL PROGRAM FOR 30 STUDENTS IN THE
SCHOOL. WITHOUT THE PROGRAM THE STUDENTS
WOULD HAVE BEEN AT HOME AND LOST THE OPPORTUNITY TO LEARN MORE. MANY PARENTS LEAVE THE JOBS FOR
OTHER POSITIONS THAT HAVE BENEFITS. TRULY OUR COMMUNITY NEEDS TO
ASSURE THEY ARE STAYING IN THE SCHOOLS. THE BEST WAY IS SUPPORTING THEM
AND ASSURE THEY RECEIVE BENEFITS. PLEASE SUPPORT THEM SO THEY’LL
CONTINUE TO SUPPORT US AND OUR CHILDREN. MAY GOD BLESS YOU. THANK YOU. [NAMES BEING READ]
GOOD EVENING. I AM PAIGE. I GO TO LOWER RIDGE ELEMENTARY
SCHOOL AND IN THE SPANISH IMMERSION SCHOOL. DEAR SCHOOL BOARD, WE BELIEVE
YOU SHOULDN’T CUT THE IMMERSION PROGRAM. THAT WOULD MEAN SOME OF THE
FRIENDS WOULD LEAVE OUR SCHOOL AND FORCED TO GO TO ANOTHER
SCHOOL. THERE ARE MANY REASONS NOT TO
CUT THE IMMERSION PROGRAM. ONE, BEING BILINGUAL MEANS YOU
CAN GET A BETTER JOB. TWO, BEING BILINGUAL MAKES YOU
SMARTER. THREE, ACCORDING TO THE NEW YORK
TIMES ARTICLE, BILINGUALS ARE SOLVE PUZZLES BETTER. THESE ARE FEW OF THE MANY
REASONS TO KEEP THE IMMERSION PROGRAM. PLEASE KEEP THE IMMERSION
PROGRAM. THE FOURTH, FIFTH AND SIXTH
GRADE IMMERSION STUDENTS. THANK YOU. [NAMES BEING READ]
ON BEHALF OF THE ADVOCATES ACROSS VIRGINIA I WANT TO THANK
THE FCPS STAFF IN SUPPORTING THE REGULATION SO THE CLASSES ARE
NOT ABOVE 29. WE HOPE THAT THE SCHOOL BOARD
WILL CONTINUE THE CAP THE CLASSES AT 29. EVEN IF YOU END UP CHANGING THE
STAFFING FORMULAS AS PROPOSED BY THE TASK FORCE AND YOU ARE
FACING FISCAL CONSTRAINTS, THERE IS CRITICAL, WE HAVE POCKETS OF
OVERLY LARGE CLASSES STILL. MANY OF THE CLASS PARENTS,
TEACHERS AND STUDENTS CONTACTED THE STATE LEADERS ASKING THEM TO
SUPPORT STATE LEVEL BIPARTISAN BILLS TO REDUCE THE CLASS SIZES. AS WELL AS TO ASK FOR DISCLOSURE
ON MIDDLE AND HIGH SCHOOL CLASS SIZES AND SAFETY LAB CAPS FOR
THE SCIENCE LABS. FCPS SUPPORTS THE TRANSPARENCY,
WE ASK FCPS TO LEAD THE WAY, WALK THE WALK, AND REPORT THE
CLASS SIZE FOR THE MIDDLE AND HIGH SCHOOL CLASS SIZES. THIS DATA WILL HELP YOU FIGURE
OUT WHETHER WE ARE COMPLYING FOR THE STATE LAW.
24 STUDENTS TO EVERY ONE ENGLISH TEACHER. I HAVE NO IDEA WHETHER THAT IS
COMPLIED WITH BECAUSE WE DON’T HAVE THE CLASS SIZE DATA FOR THE
MIDDLE SCHOOL AND HIGH SCHOOL CLASS SIZES. THE OTHER THING ABOUT THIS DATA
IF YOU DISCLOSE THE CLASS SIZES IT HELPS YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT THE
SCIENCE LABS LOOK LIKE AND I WOULD LIKE TO BRING TO YOUR
ATTENTION THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE ASTA AND ACS AND THE SCIENCE
TEACHER ASSOCIATION THAT RECOMMEND 24 FOR THE SCIENCE
LABS. IT IS YOUR DUTY OF CARE TO HELP
SUPPORT THIS BECAUSE WE DON’T WANT TO HAVE TRAGEDIES LIKE WE
HAVE SEEN IN THE RECENT PAST. YOU HAVE DEMONSTRATED YOUR
CONCERN FOR THE STUDENT HEALTH AND WELLNESS IN THE PAST WITH A
DECISION TO VOTE FOR LATER HIGH SCHOOL START TIMES AND MORE
HEALTHY CAFETERIA FOOD AND WE HOPE YOU WILL SUPPORT THE
SCIENCE LABS AND WE HAVE BEEN TOLD WE COULD CAP THE SCIENCE
LAB CLASSES AT 24 WITHOUT ADDITIONAL RESOURCES. IF PRINCIPALS WERE DIRECTED TO
THAT MAKE A PRIORITY. I ASK THAT YOU DO THAT. FOR THE INTEREST OF THE TEACHERS
AND STUDENTS DISCLOSE THE MIDDLE AND HIGH SCHOOL CLASSES AND
SUPPORT REGULATION 13.02.01. THANK YOU. [NAMES BEING READ]
GOOD EVENING. I AM JOHNNY JOHNSON AND
GRANDFATHER TO FOUR CHILDREN ATTENDING THE FAIRFAX SCHOOL
SYSTEM. YESTERDAY YOU HEARD FROM MY
DAUGHTER AND GRANDDAUGHTER. TO START WITH, I WANT TO THANK
YOU FOR PROVIDING THE OPPORTUNITY TO SPEAK AND EXPRESS
MY APPRECIATION. I KNOW YOU SERVE IN THE BEST
INTEREST OF THE YOUTH IN FAIRFAX. IT IS WITH THOSE INTERESTS THAT
I SPEAK AS AN ADVOCATE FOR THE RETENTION OF THE 4TH GRADE
STRINGS. FIRST, AS MENTIONED PREVIOUSLY,
IT IS CONCLUSIVE PROVED THAT PARTICIPATION IN THE MUSIC
ENHANCES A LEARNING ACHIEVEMENT TO THE YOUTH. IT IS DETERMINED THE EARLIER
THIS EXPERIENCE, THE GREATER THE BENEFIT. FROM THIS PERSPECTIVE, INCLUDING
STRINGS AT THE THIRD OR THE SECOND GRADE LEVEL WOULD BE
BETTER. DELAYING STRINGS FROM FOURTH TO
FIFTH GRADE IS DETRIMENTAL TO THE POSITIVE EFFECTS EXPERIENCED
THROUGH MUSIC EDUCATION. IT IS WELL DOCUMENTED THAT
TALENT DEVELOPMENT IS AFFECTED BY THE AGE AT WHICH THE CHILD
BEGINS THEIR STUDIES. MOTOR SKILLS, THE WORKINGS OF
THE MIND IS DEVELOPING IN CHILDREN, THE OLDER THE CHILD,
THE MORE EFFORT NEEDED TO ACQUIRE IS SKILLS NEEDED TO PLAY
THE INSTRUMENT. THE PROPOSED BUDGET SAVINGS ARE
JUST NOT A REALITY. THE BUDGET CUT CONTEMPLATES
SAVING OF $14,800 PER SCHOOL. THAT’S 2 MILLION DIVIDED BY 142
SCHOOLS FOR THE MATH BUFFS. SINCE THE PROGRAMMING COSTS FOR
4TH GRADE STRINGS IS NEGLIGIBLE, IT HAS TO COME FROM THE
PERSONNEL CUTS. CUTTING ONE TEACHER FOR EVERY
FOUR ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS. SINCE MOST STRING TEACHERS ARE
TEACHING AT LEAST TWO SCHOOLS, AFTER REQUIRED CUTS TO MEET THE
$2 MILLION, THAT WOULD LEAVE ONE STRING TEACHER FOR EVERY FOUR
SCHOOLS. SORRY, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,
CAN’T BE DONE. MOST STRING TEACHERS ARE
TEACHING SIX CLASSES A DAY SPLIT BETWEEN TWO SCHOOLS AND EATING
THEIR LUNCH IN THE CAR TRAVELLING BETWEEN THE SCHOOLS. CUTTING THE CLASS PER DAY PER
SCHOOL LEAVES THE STRING TEACHER WITH THE TASK OF COVERING TWO
CLASSES PER DAY PER SCHOOL OR 8 CLASSES PER DAY AT FOUR
DIFFERENT SCHOOLS. ONCE AGAIN, CAN’T REALISTICALLY
BE DONE. WITH THE IDEAL SPACE, THEY MIGHT
BE ABLE TO DO THREE SCHOOLS, BUT NEVER FOUR. YOU HAVE HEARD THE STATISTICS
LAST EVENING ABOUT 80% OF THE STRING PROGRAMS ARE SET UP
AROUND THE TRIPLE T SCHEDULE. WHEN THE KIDS, WHEN THE 4TH
GRADERS HAVE TO GO SOME WHERE AND THROWN BACK INTO THE GENERAL
TRIPLE T CLASSROOM, THEY STILL HAVE TO HAVE A TEACHER. THERE CUTS THE CUT IN PERSONNEL. WE ARE TALKING ABOUT 7500 KIDS
REPRESENTS ONE HALF OF THE 4TH GRADERS. THE GREAT CONCERN IS THE LOOMING
DETERIORATION OF THE FABRIC OF THE SCHOOL SYSTEM. I ENVISION A DEATH BY A THOUSAND
CUTS OR PIECE BY PIECE THE THINGS THAT THE MAKE THE
DISTRICT AN OUTSTANDING SCHOOL DISTRICT ARE SLICED AWAY UNTIL
ALL IS LEFT ARE THE SKELETAL REMAINS. I ONLY TRUST IN THE BOARD ON THE
VISION TO MAKE THE COUNTY SCHOOLS GREAT. THANK YOU. THANK YOU. I WILL TAKE A MOMENT TO SEE IF
ANY OF THE SPEAKERS THAT SIGNED UP EARLIER ARE HERE YET? [NAMES BEING READ]
GOOD EVENING. I AM JASON. A 1989 GRADUATE OF ROBERT E. LEE
HIGH SCHOOL AND TWO SCHOOLS AT LEE RIGHT NOW. I AM HERE TO TALK ABOUT A FEW
THINGS. WE ARE STARTING WITH THE
ADVANCED ACADEMIC PROGRAM AT THE HIGH SCHOOL LEVEL. WE HAVE TWO PROGRAMS AT THE HIGH
SCHOOL. AT THE IB SCHOOLS LIKELY ON
AVERAGE 86% OF THE STUDENTS ARE NOT GETTING THE DIPLOMA. THAT IS 3.2%
12,000 DIPLOMAS. IF YOU CUT IB THAT IS NOT A
SEVERE IMPACT ON 97% OF THE STUDENTS IN THE SYSTEM. OTHER STUDENTS TAKE THE IB
CLASSES BUT NOT GETTING THE DIPLOMA. IT IS A FACT THAT ON YOUR BUDGET
IB COSTS TWICE AS MUCH PER STUDENT SERVED. $246 PER STUDENT SERVED FOR AP. IT IS INTERESTING AN ARTICLE IN
THE WASHINGTON POST QUOTES A FORMER SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER, THE
GOAL WAS TO REDUCE CONVINCE THE MIDDLE CLASS FAMILIES NOT TO
LEAVE CERTAIN SCHOOLS. WHEN YOU PUT IN THE PROGRAMS AT
THE CERTAIN SCHOOLS, YOU HAVE GIVING THE PEOPLE JUSTIFICATION
I DON’T WANT TO GO TO THIS SCHOOL BUT OVER THERE. AND IT HAS DRIVEN THE SCHOOLS
FROM THE UNDER PERFORMING SCHOOLS SUCH AS LEE, TO THE
SOUTH COUNTIES, LAKE BRADDOCKS OF THE WORLD. IT IS BASICALLY A FACT, THAT
LAST YEAR 88 STUDENTS THAT PLACED OUT OF LEAGUE FOR AP. THE NUMBER WAS SO SMALL COMING
INTO LEE, THEY COULDN’T TELL ME. IT WAS LESS THAN FIVE. JUST BETWEEN AP AND IB. LEE LOST PLENTY OF OTHER
STUDENTS OTHER THAN THAT. IF THEY ARE NOT WILLING TO CUT A
PROGRAM THAT AFFECTS A SMALL NUMBER OF STUDENTS AND DRIVES
THE TRANSFERS AND COST MORE THAN THE AMERICAN PROGRAMS, I DON’T
KNOW WHAT YOU ARE WILLING TO CUT. THIS IS A PLACE TO START. LEE HAS BEEN SEVERELY DECIMATED
BY THE CHANGES. IT IS LEGITIMATE FOR PARENTS TO
PAY FOR THE IB OR THE AP FEES. THAT IS A FAIR THING TO DO. IT IS FAIR TO CHARGE FAMILIES TO
TRANSFER. THE BIGGER PICTURE, LOTS OF THE
PROGRAMS SET UP A PUPIL PLACEMENT AND DIFFERENCES AND
TRANSFER SCURRY EVERYWHERE. EVERYWHERE TO GO TO GET OUT OF A
CERTAIN SCHOOL. YOU CAN IMAGINE WHAT THIS DOES
TO THE SCHOOL PERFORMANCE. I FAVOR ANY CHANGES THAT BRING
THE STUDENTS BACK TO THE LEE PYRAMID. REDUCING AP OR BRINGING AAP
STUDENTS BACK. IF YOU CAN’T DO IT AT ALL, BRING
THEM BACK TO PYRAMID AT LEAST. FOR IMMERSION, I HAVE NOTHING
AGAINST THE IMMERSION, BUT IF YOU DIG INTO THE NUMBERS, YOU
WILL FIND THAT THE PEOPLE TAKING ADVANTAGE OF THIS, PARTICULARLY
THE MAGNET PROGRAM ARE NOT THE FREE OR REDUCED LUNCH STUDENTS
AND THEY ARE LEFT BEHIND AND THE WEALTHY KIDS ARE FLEEING. THAT IS ALL. THANK YOU. [NAMES BEING READ]
I AM RALPH COOPER. GOOD EVENING, SUPERINTENDENT,
BOARD MEMBERS, COMMUNITY MEMBERS AND FAIRFAX COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOL
STAFF. NONE OF THIS HAPPENS WITHOUT YOU
ALL. I AM THE COMMUNITY ADVOCATE FOR
EDUCATION. I AM A MEMBER OF THE NAACP. I AM HERE TO TALK ABOUT
SOMETHING THAT MOST FOLKS DON’T TALK ABOUT, AND THAT’S OUR EARLY
CHILDHOOD PROGRAM AND ALSO ADDRESS THE FACT THAT FOR ABOUT
TWO YEARS OR MORE, WE HAVE BEEN HAVING A WAITING LIST FOR THREE
OR FOUR-YEAR-OLDS. THIS MEANS THEY ARE NOT READY TO
ATTEND SCHOOL WHEN THEY COME IN. I HAVE A FOUR-YEAR-OLD GRANDSON
AND HE’S FIRED UP TO LEARN, BUT GETS FRUSTRATED WHEN HE’S NOT
WITH HIS PEERS. I HAVE HAD EXPERIENCE WORKING
WITH THE PARENTS ON THE PARENT HANDBOOK AND THE PARENTS
EXPRESSED CONCERN WHILE ONE CHILD WAS ABLE TO GET INTO HEAD
START AND THE DAMAGE DONE TO THE OTHER CHILD THAT WAS NOT. THE RECOMMENDATION THAT I HAVE
HERE FROM THE NAACP IS WOULD LIKE A BUDGET AMENDMENT. YOU HAVE IDENTIFIED MONEY
ALREADY FOR EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT. WE RECOMMEND TWO THINGS, FIRST
OF ALL FIND SEED MONEY FOR CIP TO GET A FEASIBILITY STUDY TO
FIND OUT WHAT IS THE BEST PROJECT TO START THE REDUCING
THE WAITING LIST. THE SECOND ONE IS BASICALLY YOU
NEED TO MOVE SOME MONEY DOWN TO LOWER END SCHOOLS THAT DON’T
HAVE A LOT OF MONEY SO THEY CAN GET THE SPECIAL ATTENTION AND
TEACHERS THEY NEED TO ACCELERATE THE ACHIEVEMENT GAP. I WILL USE THAT WORD AGAIN. ACCELERATE THE PACE OF THE
ACHIEVEMENT GAP. BECAUSE WE KEEP MOVING AT A SHOW
PACE. I WILL CLOSE OUT WITH THE
FOLLOWING THINGS, I HAVE BEEN IN THIS COUNTY FOR 20 PLUS YEARS. I HAVE BEEN AROUND AND HEARING
THE IMPORTANCE OF THE EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT AND
INVOLVEMENT AND WE MUST IF WE ARE GOING TO SURVIVE AS A
COUNTY, YOU HAVE TO TAKE CARE OF THESE KIDS. IT IS A NO-BRAINER. INVEST IN THEM YOUNG. THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR
TIME AND EFFORT. I PUT THE NAME ON THE NEW
PRESIDENT AND EDUCATION CHAIR OF THE NAACP ON THE SHEET AND YOU
CAN GET THE RIGHT PEOPLE TO GET THIS MOVING. THANK YOU. THANK YOU, MR. COOPER. [NAMES BEING READ]
GOOD EVENING. THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR THIS
OPPORTUNITY. I AM HERE TO SUPPORT THE
INITIATIVE OF PROVIDING BENEFITS TO THE PARENT LIAISON. I AM NOW A RETIRED SOCIAL WORKER
FROM ARLINGTON COUNTY. WE HAVE MANY PREVENTIVE SERVICES
IN THE COMMUNITY. AND MAINLY OUR WORK IS
CONCENTRATED BUT IN OTHER PLACES CONCENTRATED MAINLY IN THE OTHER
PLACE OF BAILEY GROVE. IT IS THROUGH THE PARENT LIAISON
THAT WE MAKE THE SUCCESSFUL PROGRAM. THEY KNOW THE COMMUNITY AND KNOW
AND UNDERSTAND THE ISSUES THAT THE PARENTS BRING TO THEM. THROUGH THE PARENT LIAISONS ARE
BUILDING BRIDGES WITH FAMILIES WHO OTHERWISE WOULD BE
DISCONNECTED AND ISOLATED AND THAT IS WHERE THE PROBLEMS START
AND NO ONE KNOWS, IF THEY HAVE LIKE IT SAYS HERE, THE HEART OF
THE SCHOOL, BUT NOT ONLY THE HEARTS, IN THEM THEY HAVE HANDS
AND VOICES AND ARMS TO OUTREACH AND THROUGH THEM THE PROGRAMS
AND THE CHILDREN ARE BETTER SERVED. FOR OUR COMMUNITY ORGANIZATION
SUCH AS HACAN WHICH IS COMMUNITY BASED THEY ARE NETWORKING AND
THE KNOWLEDGE THAT THEY HAVE OF THE PARENTS NEEDS AND PROBLEMS
GUIDE US IN PROVIDING THOSE SERVICES TO THE PARENTS AND TO
THE CHILDREN THAT ARE RELEVANT. TEMPERATURE PATIENTS LIAISONS
KNOW THE PARENTS AND GIVE US THE INFORMATION THAT WE CAN THEN
DISTRIBUTE. THROUGH THE GUIDANCE AND THROUGH
THEIR SUPPORT WE CAN GIVE MEANINGFUL SERVICES TO THESE
FAMILIES. I AM VERY MUCH IN SUPPORT NOT
ONLY DO THEY WORK WITH THE FAMILIES IN THIS TIMES OF
DIVERSE POPULATIONS, MANY OF THESE PARENTS LIAISONS HAVE THE
LANGUAGE CAPACITY AND THE CULTURE TO REACH OUT TO OUR
VIBRANT IMMIGRANT DIVERSE POPULATION. SO PLEASE THESE QUALIFIED
LEADERS THAT ARE FIGHTING FOR THE CLOSENESS OF THE PARENTS AND
CHILDREN, WE PROMOTE AND ASK AND URGE THE BOARD TO MAKE THEM
RECEIVE THE FULL RETIRE AND BENEFITS AND THE HEALTH
INSURANCE WHICH THEY DESERVE. THEY WORK MANY HOURS WITH MUCH
DEVOTION AND MUCH DEDICATION. SO PLEASE. THANK YOU VERY MUCH. THANK YOU. [NAMES BEING READ]
GOOD EVENING. FIRST OF ALL, THANK YOU FOR
EXTENDING THE BUDGET HEARINGS A SECOND NIGHT. I APPRECIATE YOU TAKING THE TIME
TO HEAR ME OUT. I AM A STRINGS TEACHER AT WILLOW
STRINGS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL IN FAIRFAX. CENTERVILLE AND GREEN BRIAR. I AM HERE TONIGHT TO SPEAK ABOUT
THE IMPORTANCE OF CONTINUING THE 4TH GRADE STRINGS PROGRAM. I AM NOT A FAIRFAX NATIVE. I GREW UP IN VARIOUS OTHER
STATES AND PARTICIPATED IN THE STRINGS PROGRAM SINCE TEN YEARS
OLD. WITHOUT A DOUBT THE MUSIC
PROGRAM HERE IS THE HIGHEST LEVEL THAT I HAVE EVER
WITNESSED. FCPS HAS ONE OF THE BEST STRINGS
PROGRAM IN THE NATION, PARTLY DUE TO THE FACT THAT WE START IN
4TH GRADE. THAT IS WHAT ATTRACTED ME TO
TEACH IN THE AREA. FOR A PROGRAM THAT THRIVED FOR
50 YEARS, IT IS A SLAP IN THE FACE. ONE OF THE CURRENT 4TH GRADE
STUDENTS HAS A HISTORY OF ADHD AND OTHER ISSUES. HE’S TURNED OUT TO BE A MODEL
STUDENT AND THE TOP IN THE CLASS. HE COMES IN TO CLASS AND SHOWS
OFF WHAT HE’S LEARNED. HE ENCOURAGES OTHER CLASSMATES
TO FOCUS. LAST WEEK DURING THE CONCERT HIS
MOM CAME UP TO ME AND THANKED ME FOR THE EMAIL. IT IS A DELIGHT TO RECEIVE GOOD
NEWS FROM THE SCHOOL. THESE ARE THE TYPES OF STUDENTS
WHOM WE TEACH AND EVERY MUSIC TEACHER IN THE ROOM HAS A DOZEN
STORIES TO TELL JUST LIKE MINE. WE TEACH STUDENTS WHO MAY
OTHERWISE NOT EXCEL IN OTHER SUBJECTS. WE TEACH STUDENTS FROM ALL WALKS
OF LIFE. YES, IT IS POSSIBLE TO BEGIN THE
STRINGS IN LATER GRADES. BUT CONSIDER THIS, LEARNING AN
INSTRUMENT IS PROVEN TO ENHANCE THE MOTOR SKILLS AND AUDITORY,
NONVERBAL REASONING AND LANGUAGE AND BRAIN PLASTICITY AND
RESPONSIBILITY, DEFER GRATIFICATION AND TIME
MANAGEMENT, GOAL SETTING AND SENSE OF COMMUNITY AND PROJECT
BASED LEARNING AND MULTICULTURE CURRICULUM. ALSO, THERE ARE STUDIES THAT
THEORIZE THAT THE PRIME AGE IS BIRTH AND NINE YEARS OLD. DURING THE DEVELOPING BRAIN CAN
PROCESS AND UNDERSTAND THESE MORE FLUENTLY. WHAT IS THE AVERAGE AGE OF A 4TH
GRADE IN AMERICA, NINE YEARS OLD. ALONG WITH THE BENEFITS, IT IS
INTUITIVE TO BEGIN THE INSTRUMENTAL PROGRAM EARLIER,
NOT LATER. THE IDEA OF IT SAVING MONEY IS
QUESTIONABLE AS BEST. IT IS INVESTMENT IN THE
TRANSFERABLE LIFE SKILLS AND IMPLORE YOU IN PRESERVING THE
STRINGS PROGRAM. THANK YOU. THANK YOU. [APPLAUSE]
[NAMES BEING READ] GOOD EVENING. THANK YOU FOR THIS OPPORTUNITY
TO PRESENT MY VIEWS ON FAIRFAX’S FY 2018 BUDGET. MY HUSBAND AND I ARE THE PROUD
PARENTS OF TWO CURRENT FAIRFAX STUDENTS WHO ATTEND OR HAVE
ATTENDED COLUMBIA ELEMENTARY, GLASGOW HOLMES YEB SCHOOLS. OUR DAUGHTER TESTIFIED LAST
NIGHT FOR THE FULL FUNDING OF THE IB AND IBYMP PROGRAM. SHE INFORMED SHE’S GOING TO PER
SUE THE DIPLOMA. MY RESPONSE TO THE GENTLEMAN WAS
ADDING IT FEEDER SCHOOLS WOULD CREATE MORE OF A BALANCE AND
MORE OF AN INTEREST. I AM HONORED TO SERVE AS THE
PRESIDENT OF THE HOLMES MIDDLE SCHOOL PTA. WE ARE HOME TO STUDENTS THAT ARE
FROM 50 COUNTRIES. WE ARE VERY FORTUNATE TO LIVE IN
THE NEIGHBORHOOD. I HAVE BEEN INVOLVED IN THE
SCHOOLS AND I HAVE CONTRIBUTED MORE THAN HUNDREDS OF HOURS OF
VOLUNTEER TIME TO HOLMES. BECAUSE ALL THINGS IN FAIRFAX
ARE NOT CREATED EQUAL. STUDENTS IN CERTAIN PARTS OF THE
COUNTY HAVE MORE ADVANTAGES THAN OTHERS. SOME SCHOOLS WITH PTAs HAVE
BUDGETS WITH A RANGE OF A HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS. AND THEY HAVE CORPORATE
SPONSORS. OUR BUDGET WAS $4,000 LAST YEAR. I’M WORKING TO CHANGE THAT. THESE SCHOOLS TEND TO HAVE AFTER
SCHOOL PROGRAMMING, AND IN MOST CASES THE PTA PROVIDE TEACHER
GRANTS AND OTHER OPPORTUNITIES THAT MAKE THE FIELD TRIPS AND
AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAMMING POSSIBLE AND THE PROGRAMS ARE
IMPORTANT TO AUGMENTS AND LIGHTING THE SPARK IN THE
CHILDREN’S DRIVE FOR LEARNING. We also find that families 1
move to our neighborhoods precisely because we have IBMYP
and IB. Please do not take that away
from us. Thank you, ma’am. I need you to wrap up. Thank you so much. [applause]
Good evening. My son is in fifth grade in
Glasgow middle school. He’s a good student since he was
in the first grade he was bottom of his class. When he was in Glasgow he went
to — I went to the parent — she helped me arrange to meet
with the teacher and a counselor to make sure my son was put in
the correct class. I want my son to go to the
college. I didn’t know what type course
he need to take so that when he graduate from this high school,
he can go to college. Ms. Donovan has explained to me
the course my son should be taking. She was also let me know about
program that can support my son so that the he can go to
college. I am very — for this
information because I know that this will help my son successful
in life. I’m sorry my English is not too
well but I try it. Because of Ms. Donovan I learn
about the English class at Glasgow. I am taking them. I also participate in the 10
week parents program. Mrs. Donovan encourage to me to
take every time I go to the school. I have become friendly with 2
Mrs. Donovan. She takes the time to listen to
me and my son only in the 6th grade but I know as he goes to
7th and 8th grade that Ms. Donovan will be there to
support me and my son. Cannot imagine school without
someone like her. I am here tonight to support the
position to parents like — I think every school should have
someone like Mrs. Donovan to help parents, and to encourage
students. People who take these jobs are
very good at their job understand. I ask that would you please —
benefits to parents listen so that they can stay in our school
and continue help families like me. I’m sorry. What I want to say, she help me
too much in the school and my son too. Thank you. [applause]
We have Maria Teresa laguna and Ronald Wilcox and liana
montECINOS. Ms. laGUNA? Ronald Wilcox. Members of the Fairfax County
school board, I’m concerned about the direction of spending
in public schools. This view is shared by Fairfax
County citizens demonstrated of the meal tax referendum which
suffered a massive defeat in the year that county voters voted
Democrat. The referendum was promoted by
the county as a $90 million benefit to the public schools,
and it still failed. The message of taxpayers to the
school board was clear. 3
Stop wasting money and make real cuts. The school board needs to set
real priorities and make hard choices. That is why you are elected. A good goal for Fairfax County
public schools is to reduce wasteful spending and to get the
school budget down to less than 50% of the county budget. This can be achieved without
academic harm by reducing the mission of the county schools. The schools should not be, try
to be in any state and achieve any social welfare goal. If there are services that the
school board thinks should be provided outside the core
mission of academic success, they should seek private dollars
for those nonessential projects. One area that blow as hole in
the Fairfax County school budget is the education of the DACA
program children. The DACA program amounts to
state sponsored kidnapping, and we should not cooperate with
this. The program lures children from
their parents overseas and they come to America essentially
becoming orphans and when the school bus drops them back at
the group home, they are essentially placed under house
arrest under the control of the court appointed guardians. Fairfax County public schools is
compliant in this kidnapping by facilitating the education of
those now wards of the state. Fairfax County public school
board should end this uncompassionate costly
cooperation with the DACA program and denounce this mass
orphanization of children from 4 other countries and demand these
children be returned to their parents for a proper parentally
guarded upbringing. Also, sanctuary cities policies
such as harboring illegal aliens who then illegally stress local
communities with tax burdens the school board should object. I recommend you take pensions to
defined contribution plans, fire underperforming teachers so we
can pay the best teachers competitive wages, not having a
competitive salary system and unacceptable poor management. Thank you. Liana montECINOS followed by
Moira Clark and Sarah Clark. Ms. MontECINOS? Moira Clark? Are you going to come together? I hear you. By the way, I forgot to put
something in the paper. That’s okay, you can tell us. Hello, that means hello good
evening in German. My name is Moira Clark. I am in the German immersion
program at orange hunt elementary school. I am in third grade. I think it is important for
immersion programs to be here because learning different
languages can help us understand about the culture and way of
living in different countries. I think it is important to
understand about other countries because if we understand about
them, then we can interact with them while we know what to
expect. Another reason I like German
immersion is because I have relatives in Germany and I like
to be able to speak a different language. 5
I am also in kinder corps at my school. Kinder corps is an after-school
program is a German show biz choir. I like learning traditional
songs from another country because it helps me to
understand the culture of that country. When I am at home, I like to
speak German so my family already knows some German. I taught my brother a song from
kinder corps. About half the teachers at my
school teach German immersion, so if immersion were cut,
several teachers would be, would, would, would, would not
have jobs at my school. I have been in German immersion
since first grade, so if there were no more German immersion, I
would feel as if part of my existence was challenged. Thank you for listening to my
speech. Thank you for sharing. [applause]
Sarah Clark, followed by Christy Donovan followed by
misha robins. Good evening. My name is Sarah Clark, I am the
parent of the third grader who just spoke who’s in the German
immersion program. Two future students you may have
seen trying to disturb things up in the back all night. Thank you for the opportunity on
the second night to express to you our preferences. Can you hear me? Okay. Echoing to me. Okay. Can you hear me now? Okay. 6
I’m here to remind you why we have a language immersion
program. I know you’ve heard the data
over and over again from the parents about the benefits of
two language instructions of students regardless of their
home language. We don’t speak the target
language at our home, but we still get the improved working
memory, the better selective attention, the superior
executive function, and of course what we all care about,
the math and science scores higher for students both in
English and in non-English languages. For the non-native English
speakers the dual way immersion is the most cost effective way
to bring up grade level. The Fairfax County economic
development authority actively recruits businesses from abroad. They have offices in Berlin and
Bangalore and across the world. If we don’t speak those
languages, we are considerably less attractive place for are
them to relocate businesses. In my volunteer work locally,
we’re in desperately need of people who can speak the other
language. There are 50 of us and two speak
another language and we don’t meet the needs of our community. Nationally I can speak to you as
a professor of government and local security studies. Congressional hearings recently
referred to our foreign language capabilities as a national
security crisis. We don’t have the critical
language speakers that we need, and I can’t tell you what those 7
language skills are going to be in 20 years, 20 years ago nobody
would’ve thought it was farcy but those with language skills
will be those. Those with language skills in
French or Spanish are more able to learn the languages they need
to know and can figure out how to read the Russian and the
Korean newspapers to figure out what they’re supposed to be
reporting on. These aren’t luxuries that we
try at cocktail parties. These are necessities that we
need to know these languages and what they learn now impacts
their ability to help us and help our community tomorrow. We all know there’s not enough
money. We all know we’re chasing after
too few dollars so we need the programs most effective. Language immersion is effective
for English speakers and nontarget language speakers. It’s cheaper and more effective. They’re getting their language
instruction in the state mandated subject areas. They have to learn math. They have to learn science. They’re learning those in their
languages. It’s why in our house immersion
looks like talking about the phases of the moon in German. I can’t understood it. I assume she’s right. Her work sheets say she’s right. They talk about fractions in
German. Her work sheets say she is right
and I hope she is because I can’t speak it but she seems to
understand it. When she talks to her German
relatives, I don’t know what 8 they are talking about. I think I said something about
birthday but they can understand and speak fluently together. We used to be unique for having
immersion. I urge you to keep it. Thank you. Thank you. [applause]
Christy Donovan followed by misha robins and Michael —
Good even, everyone. First I want to say I actually
took the time to watch the work video or the video from the work
session last Monday, and I really appreciate the support
that you all have shown for language immersion. I know eight out of nine of you
suggested you don’t want to touch language immersion so I
know there is a lot support here for this. Last year I came here to tell
you about the experience that my fifth grade daughter who you
heard earlier tonight at laurel ridge has had in Spanish
language immersion program at laurel ridge. Sadly as we knew this definitely
was approaching, I am here again to speak to the value and
benefits of language immersion. I want you to listen, I want you
to close your eyes and I want you to listen to the sounds of
my younger daughter’s kindergarten immersion class
singing their morning song in Spanish two weeks ago. [Music]
If you could see that video, you would see the tremendous joy
on these children’s faces as they sing these songs in Spanish
and they know what these words mean. 9
The only one I know is bilar, and that’s when they start doing
their dance. So it’s just, it’s just, it’s
hard breaking to evening think that we would lose something
like this. You’ve heard many facts and
figures about the benefits of immersion. You heard them last year, you’ve
heard them last night, you’ve heard them tonight. I’m here to remind you the
elimination of this program would affect real people not
just students and teachers involved but all of the
potential future interactions our children will have with the
world. There is nothing we need more in
this world right now than compassion, love, and
understanding for other cultures. Through exposure to another
language and culture, our children are learning these
things, and they’re learning them from people other than
their parents. They’re getting them from me but
they’re getting it from their teachers and their community
around them. So while FCPS once again
considers eliminating language immersion with once again remind
thou cyst this is a curricular approach. I have seen articles about
expansion in I.D., Washington, Arizona, and the rocky mountain
school district in Tennessee. That’s just in the last month
that I’ve read about that. In fact in the November
election, California lifted an 18-year restriction on bilingual 10
education which is projected to rapidly increase bilingual edges
education statewide. They are expecting serious
teacher shortages because they are planning to expand it so
broadly. We know language immersion
provides a multitude of benefits including comparisons that show
immersion students outperform students who only learn English. If you want better test scores
and higher school ratings you really should be talking about
expansion of these programs not elimination. Thank you very much for your
time. Thank you. [applause]
Misha robbins. Michael? Good evening. Thank you board members for
listening to all us parents and some of the children speak. The reason I’ve decided to speak
here is for my three daughters. All of which are in enrolled in
Fairfax County public schools, and their education means
everything to me. In the last four years my
children have been involved in the German immersion program at
orange hunt, I’ve seen them develop a fondness and love for
the German language and for their culture. And it’s a great thing to have
seen. Over the past 22 years, the
German immersion program at orange hunt has built a very
vibrant community within the parents, teachers, and have
fostered great student relationships. I am sure that the other 11
language immersion schools and other parts of the county have
also built these similar relationships, and these are
things that would be destroyed should the funding of the
immersion programs be taken away. On top of this, the kids if they
were to leave these programs, they would be heart broken, they
would miss their friends, the school dynamics would change
dramatically. Amazing teachers would be left
on the sidelines. Staff and other parents would
also be trying to find a new role within their communities T.
seems on the surface that eliminating language immersion
may provide some immediate cost savings, but I believe you will
find that there will be more spending in rerouting these
children and students into different base schools,
producing larger class sizes and costs coming from bus
transportation. In addition, it is possible the
reputational risk of removing this program is immense and many
have not considered this when dealing with this cost savings
of cutting this program. The language immersion program
is one of the best within the United States, and Fairfax
County has been the standard bearer for a long time. Should this program be
eliminated just when other programs are, and other regional
counties are coming online, it would be a disservice. I think it would be also
important to remember that a lot of people are coming to this
area for these language 12 immersion programs. If they decide not to come to
this area, there would be huge tax hits from the families
moving to here and also the employers that sometimes seek
out relocating to Fairfax County just because of these language
immersion programs. I’m thinking within the German
language program, VW, air bus, and SAP have huge headquarters
within Fairfax County. They came here because of these
language immersion programs. They might decide differently
next time around when there’s a huge enrollment for new
staffing. Lastly, it goes without saying
that once the program is eliminated, it is very rarely
ever resurrected. Thank you very much for your
time. Thank you. [applause]
Larisa Marian followed by Marty abbott. Dear members of the school
board, I am a strings teach at belvedere and — elementary. Of my 286 students, 146 are
fourth graders, and 60 are, yes, third graders. I wish to propose that instead
of placing fourth grade strings on the cutting block every year,
we should be considering how to grow our instrument program. How to expand it for younger
grades with more time for individualized attention and
deeper performance opportunities for all students. As an immigrant coming from
poverty myself, I come from a country where instrumental music
is not available in every school. 13
But in only one school per county, and so students in my
native country Romania who study music are part of an elite
considered to be talented but here in America I have been so
inspired because here instrumental music is available
in public schools widely, and this means that it is not
accessible only an to an elite number of students based on an
arbitrary circumstance but it is accessible to all and we believe
that every child can and will succeed in music given the right
support and environment. And I wish to share a few
anonymous examples I have encountered as a teacher of how
the most important tool, time, has helped my students. Both my schools are title 1, and
in our communities, private lessons are out of reach for the
great many. Two years ago, my student J. was
in fourth grade. She played a beautiful violin
due to the county’s ISA program, and she also joined the
after-school strings group. Over several months, J.
blossomed into the most confident player. I called her mom one evening to
find out that she was a single parent struggling to raise her
daughter who spoke in Spanish and knowing that her daughter
was successful in school made her cry and it made me cry. My student L is learning violin
in fourth grade. Like many students on free and
reduced lunch, L cannot afford private lessons. Nonetheless, L practices the
violin daily, oftentimes practices with friends and gets 14
involved in every opportunity with springs. L tells me she plans to become a
student. My student Joe plays the violent
in fourth grade even though she has only two fingers on each
hand and on each leg. Starting in fourth grade has
been helpful in establishing a good foundation for Joe and now
she frequently helps other students in her class taking a
leadership role. My students progress because
they were able to try and try again over time as their own
time. In the equation of education,
time is the most precious variable. It is power that give learnings
and teachers, cutting one ear of strings education would take
from the power. We must grow accessibility of
education to all. Please do not cut fourth grade
strings. Thank you. Good evening school board
members and interim superintendent. I’m with the national
organization dedicated to the promotion of language learning. I am also a very proud former
Fairfax County teacher and administrator. I taught at Marshall high school
for 14 years, and worked in the language office and
instructional services. In fact I was working in the
world language office in March of 1989 when the Fairfax school
board voted to implement the language immersion program in
eight elementary schools. After the eight original 15
programs were established there was a concerted effort of the
part of the school system to expand strategically both in the
location of the programs and the languages offered to make the
program accessible to as many students as possible. In those days, implementing an
immersion program was ground breaking. Fairfax County was one of the
first school systems in the entire country to implement a
Japanese immersion program. In 1984 the emperor and empress
made an historic visit to the United States. They included one school in
their 16-day tour, great falls elementary. In maybe 95, Fairfax County
students were asked to demonstrate language skills
before a senate subcommittee hearing on the lack of language
skills in the U.S. there was an audible gasp when the students
got up and solved math problems in Japanese. The Fairfax County economic
development authority as you previously heard routinely use
photos of the students in the immersion program in
advertisements to attract national and international
businesses to Fairfax County. This school system has right lay
been referred to as a lighthouse district leading the way and
providing excellent opportunities for realizing the
vision of language education for all students. In both the immersion and the —
programs and with the current Fairfax County portrait of a
graduate calling for students to communicate effectively in 16
multiple languages, to make meaningful connections, the
school system’s commitment to language education has not
wavered. Through the challenging budget
times and I know that Mrs. Strauss and Mr. Moon in
particular remember this, FCPS school board support for the
immersion program has been steadfast. However, it’s important to know
that immersion programs are no longer ground breaking and
they’re quite the norm around the country as you’ve heard. The rest of the country have
caught up to Fairfax County, entire states such as Utah and
Delaware have provided funding for elementary immersion
programs specifically to raise a multilingual citizenry to
attract and retain international businesses to their respective
states. New York has passed a state law
that if more than 20 students of the same heritage language are
enrolled in a school they must be give instruction in their
native language giving rise to an increasing number of
immersion programs in New York City. Although the exact numbers are
difficult to confirm, at least 39 states and the District of
Columbia have implemented over 2,000 language programs to date. We now have even more compelling
research information which you’ve already heard and it’s
important with a study that’s coming out next month that we
maintain the immersion programs. We cannot allow the beacon in
this lighthouse school district to be dimmed by cutting programs 17
that may have once been considered nice to have but are
now essential for the future well-being of our children. Thank you. Thank you. I’m going to go over our no show
slots, calling those individuals one more time for their
opportunity to speak. [reading names]
All right. So I have some, we had that was
11 no shows, and I have several who have signed up to speak in
that no show slots and I will start with Anna Marie Harrison. Hello, that means in German
hello my name is Anna Marie. German immersion means a lot to
me because it’s fun learning another language and awesome
that we can share the opportunity with other students. It would be great for more
people to learn a new language like my sister who is currently
at — well my younger sister who is currently at hunt valley to
be able to speak German with us. I enjoy German because it gives
me the opportunity to learn and speak a new language and all my
teachers in German and every time have been really nice and
they don’t challenge you too much. They challenge you a bit and
don’t make stuff too easy. Please don’t cut the German
immersion. Thank you. [applause]
Thank you. Are you lila Harrison? All right. Hello, which means in German
my name is lila. My parents took the opportunity
to let me learn a foreign 18 language in first grade because
they have always wanted to speak a language fluently. Like my youngest sister I also
went to kindergarten at hunt valley and in first grade
decided to put me in orange hunt so I could learn German. German gives you an opportunity
to interact with students and teachers in different language. My sister and I started in first
grade and she has had the same teachers as me in the past
years. My family and I hope that my
youngest sister amber will be able to interact with us in
German. I sincerely hope you won’t take
the opportunity away from us. [speaking in German]
Which means in German I hope you have a good evening and a
good night. Thank you. Thank you. [applause]
Next I have Maria — Good evening superintendent
lockhart and school board members. My name is Maria. My husband Peter and I are proud
parents of two children, Elizabeth and Andrew, one who’s
at lake Braddock and is continuing the Spanish immersion
program in 7th grade, and my son Andrew who is a fifth grader
at ravensworth elementary. I’m an immigrant who was born in
Venezuela and grew up in Fairfax County public schools learning
English. I’m speaking today to urge the
school board to keep the foreign language immersion program in
our county’s elementary and middle schools. 19
My husband and I have been very happy with the Spanish immersion
program at ravensworth and lake Braddock. My children enjoy the immersion
program. They both have been in the
program since first grade. My husband and I have seen so
much progress in the children’s Spanish language skills. We believe their overall
cognitive ability has been enhanced by thinking and working
through science and math curriculum in another language
and children are language sponges and there have been
several studies that have shown immersion at an early age in a
foreign language is the best way to ensure fluency. My husband and I decided early
on that Spanish immersion program is something we wanted
for our children and we wanted them to graduate hopefully with
advanced placement creds for college. The language immersion program
should not be eliminated in Fairfax County because public
schools. D.C., Arlington, prince georges,
Montgomery county school systems are expanding their foreign
language and immersion programs and Fairfax County should be
doing the same. To be bilingual will give all
our children more opportunities in life. If the foreign language
immersion programs are eliminated, many families
including ours will be negatively impacted. Since we live on the boundary of
ravensworth and lake Braddock my husband and I drive our children 20
to school each day. My children will have to return
to their base school if immersion programs are
eliminated. This will cause an unaccepted
influx of children back to their base schools, and that would
leave many empty seats at our immersion schools, about 100 at
ravensworth. Also there will be an increase
in transportation costs because all of these kids will be going
back to their schools and riding the school buses. It’s no secret Fairfax County
public schools are the envy of public school systems throughout
the United States. This level of excellence has
been achieved by our outstanding teachers, very supportive
community, parents, children, and of course, your leadership
with the vision of keeping our children, expanding their
horizons and looking out for their future. The school needs to keep its
current program to graduate the best students, and in closing, I
ask you superintendent lockhart and you school board members,
please, please, keep the early foreign language immersion
programs at the elementary and middle schools. They strengthen Fairfax County
public schools and our community. They help our students become
invaluable global citizens of our future, which is very
important especially in what’s happening in today’s world. Thank you very much for your
time and consideration. Have a good evening. Thank you. 21
[applause] I have Charlotte Wilmore and
Gary wilmore. [speaking Spanish]
Hello and good evening my name is Charlotte will more. We do not want to cancel the
immersion program. When I was little I was
attending London town elementary. While I was there I met my best
friend Hannah. It was a great experience to
have learned Spanish and met a great friend. For me and for many of the
children that are here, it is very important to have learned
in the other children learn different languages because then
when we are adults who work, it will be important, and you will
get better jobs if you have the ability to speak multiple
languages. To me it is special that my
parents don’t know Spanish, my mom taught me Chinese and my dad
taught me English. Spanish immersion taught me
Spanish and I want other children to have the opportunity
to go to immersion and learn different languages. Thank you. [applause]
Thank you. [speaking in Spanish]
I like Spanish because my mom and dad don’t know Spanish but
me and my sister know Spanish. [Laughter]
My friends speak Spanish, so do I.
Spanish is very important because some kids know Spanish,
some kids don’t know Spanish. My name is Gary wilmore, and I
go to laurel ridge. 22
Thank you so much. [applause]
Natalie burke followed by nicholas Dunn. [speaking in Spanish]
In English that’s hello my name is Natalie burke. I love Spanish because when we
learn Spanish, my teacher makes it fun by using different ways
of teaching us. We get to do fun activities
while learning. I get to learn something most
kids don’t get to learn. I don’t want the school board to
eliminate Spanish because I learn something new every day
when I go to school. I can speak fluent Spanish. Please don’t take Spanish away. Thank you. [applause]
[speaking in Spanish] Hi, my name is nicholas Dunn. I am 9 years old and I am in
4th grade. I’ve been in Spanish immersion
for all my years at fort hunt elementary school. I love my school, I love my
teachers, and I love my Spanish immersion. If we lose immersion, so many of
my favorite teachers will lose their jobs and the class sizes
will increase. When my sister was in sixth
grade her afternoon class had 31 students and I think that is way
too much. I think we need to reduce class
sizes. Spanish is also important to me
because I love learning this language. I love it because I am
Cuban-American and I love to speak Spanish with my
grandparents. 23
I love my teachers. Don’t make them leave. Please keep immersion going. Thank you. [applause]
Thank you so much. And I believe that concludes oh,
we have some more speakers up here? All right. We have slots for let me see,
one, two, three, four — three more. We have opportunities for three
more of you to speak. And just say your name loudly
because I don’t have it here in front of me. Hi, my name is elisa and I go
to fort hunt elementary. This is my fourth year in
Spanish immersion. Immersion is like the door key
to a door in culture, language, and friendship. Last year I went to costa rica. Helping me understand the
culture and conversations. From secret conversations at
home saying 20 in Spanish better than my mom and staying at fort
hunt instead of going to stratford for the AAP, immersion
has truly impacted me. So please, please don’t lock
this door and throw away this wonderful key. Thank you. Thank you. [applause]
Would anyone else like to speak to us from that group? Please come up. I go to fort hunt elementary
school. I think it is important to have
Spanish immersion because it is a huge opportunity for kids to
learn other languages. I think it’s also important that 24
you can go to different countries and communicate with
other people, places like Costa Rica, Peru, Mexico, and many
more. But just remember, the world
without language is just, well, nothing. Spanish immersion means so much
to me. Because I learn stuff that I
usually would not be able to learn, please do not take this
opportunity away. Thank you. Thank you. [applause]
Hello, my name is — [Speaking in Spanish]
If you take away Spanish immersion, people will not know
what I just said or kids. If I was an adult, I would not
want this for my child because if I moved to Costa Rica my kid
would not have anyone to talk to because they speak Spanish. Please do not ruin this
opportunity for kids like me to not get a chance to speak
another language. [applause]
Thank you. Has everyone spoken who wants to
speak to us? All right. Well, thank you all for
attending tonight, particularly you students. You’ve been very articulate and
passionate about what you like, and we really value your
opinion, so thank you all for coming out tonight. [applause]
Thank you to the parents and all other advocates as well for all
of your causes. We do appreciate that. The FY 2018 advertised budget 25
will be discussed here at a work session on Thursday evening
beginning at 7:00 p.m. I hope you plan to attend that
to watch us talk about what you said to us. And finally, I do want to remind
you that on April 4th through 6th, the
board of
supervisors will be holding their own public hearing. It’s imperative that you all
come out to those public hearings as well because they
are our funding bodies, and they need to hear from you students,
remind your parents, April 4th, 5th, and 6th,
and if you go to fairfaxCounty.gov your parents
can figure out how you can sign up and speak to them as well
because they are the people that
give us the money to help us make our decisions. So thank you all so much for
coming out tonight. If I may add just one more
thing. Before county board of
supervisors set their tax rate, real property taxes, it’s
important for the county
residents to express their views on what the property tax rate
should be. I think there is a way you can
sign up to speak before they set the tax rate because that will
determine total revenue that will come to
the county. That date is February 28th
when the board of supervisors authorizes the proposed real
estate tax rate. That is February 28th. So again, go to
fairfaxCounty.gov and look for their calendar as well as
opportunities to testify before 26
them as well. Thank you so much. This work session is adjourned. [applause]

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