The school board election results are in and one thing is really clear – in Fairfax County, it’s good to be an incumbent and it’s good to be a Democrat. The new school board is now 10 Democrats and 2 Republicans. All the incumbents were re-elected.
Congratulations to all of last night’s winners.
Obviously, the overall results for me were a disappointment after having worked so hard to get reform-minded candidates from both parties elected. The public has made their choices and I respect that. This election was an uphill climb. I knew it going in and I gave it my best shot. Only two of the reform-minded candidates made the cut – Megan McLaughlin (Braddock-Democrat) and Elizabeth Schultz (Springfield-Republican). Louise Epstein lost to 18-year incumbent Jane Strauss in Dranesville by 4% of the vote -almost 1000 votes. That is a tough loss!
The At-Large races were also tough losses, but running countywide as a Republican or Independent in Fairfax County is a Herculean task. I’m particularly surprised our ethnically diverse county chose not to elect at least one of the two Latina, At-Large candidates. Voters also didn’t choose the only candidate in the At-Large race who brought special education expertise to the table and another who has led the fight on discipline reform. These truly were missed opportunities.
On the upside, many of these newly elected and incumbent school board members made a lot of campaign promises to reduce class size and to hire an independent auditor. They have four years to prove this wasn’t empty campaign rhetoric. Let’s hope the PTAs, PTOs and public holds them to their word. Kids, teachers and taxpayers are counting on it!
I extend deep thanks to the thousands of FCPS teachers, parents and taxpayers from both parties who joined together to push for reform this campaign. So many of you stepped out of your political comfort zones and took great professional risk to speak out on issues we all believe in. You all are an inspiration because you were willing to speak out and you worked to effect change. That is a very difficult and brave thing to do. Particular thanks go the Fairfax Education Association and the Fairfax County Federation of Teachers. I am so appreciative of the support you extended to all of the “reform” candidates. THANK YOU!
We now have a” status quo” school board again, but that doesn’t mean it will be business as usual. Our community is now better informed than ever about the issues and I’m hopeful these newly elected and re-elected school board members will respond accordingly. Let’s give them our support and encouragement to do what is best for ALL our kids and teachers on class size and budget priorities!
Even in Defeat, Fairfax School Board Candidates May Force Change – Washington Post, 11.9.11