Red Apple Mom

October 28, 2011

FCPS Pictures You Must See to Believe

FCPS Central HQ

FCPS Central HQ Lobby

FCPS Computerized Parking Lot

A picture really is worth a thousand words isn’t it?

This is the Fairfax County Public Schools headquarters, known as “Gatehouse,” located in Falls Church.

It’s a pretty large building which makes it hard to believe claims that central HQ staff is “lean.”  If it were so lean, why the need for so much administrative office space?

Notice the beautiful granite lobby flooring.

Notice the computerized parking garage system that tells visitors how many spots are available on each floor.

FCPS Central HQ Cafeteria

FCPS headquarters also contain a fitness center and on-site credit union.  Check out the beautiful cafeteria  – which seems rather unnecessary considering that at least six restaurants and a grocery store are within a three-block walking distance from this building.

FCPS Student Trailers

FCPS Student Trailer

Now juxtepose FCPS administrators’ plush work space with our student’s 21st century classroom – double-wide trailers with no indoor plumbing and usually lacking air conditioning.

As of today – Friday, October, 28th, we are 10 days away from electing a new school board.  Sitting school board members who are seeking re-election are telling voters not to look to the past.  Why?   Well, the pictures displayed here demonstrate incumbents have focused our valuable tax dollars on themselves before students!

While our kids sit in trailers, these long-time incumbents were voting themselves beautiful plush administrative offices.  And they didn’t do it just once, they did it twice.  In 2008, several of these sitting incumbents – particularly Jane Strauss, Kathy Smith and Dan Storck – voted to spend up to $130 million on a second plush administrative building.  (FCPS School Board Minutes  9/18/08 & 10/2/08)

Thankfully, that debacle – known as Gatehouse II – was voted down by a very prudent Board of Supervisors.

I’m not buying this eleventh-hour,  canned campaign rhetoric that 18-year incumbent Jane Strauss and 12-year incumbent Ilyrong Moon are throwing out about 21st century classrooms.  We’ve been in the 21st century for a decade now.  They have both been in office for almost two decades each!  Why weren’t they preparing us for the 21st century during the 20th century? 

It’s time to get this school district’s priorities right again.  We can’t do that if Jane Strauss, Ilyrong Moon and Kathy Smith are re-elected.

If these incumbents really cared about all students, they would have lowered class size years ago and made administrators work out of trailers instead of our kids and teachers.

On Tuesday, November 8th, say NO to expensive new administrative buildings.

Say NO to incumbents Jane Strauss, Ilyrong Moon, Kathy Smith and Dan Storck.

Say YES to NEW School Board members who will use tax dollars efficiently and put kids and teachers first!

The decision is in your hands voters.

McLean Connection Class Size Article

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April 9, 2011

Serving Up Some Crow For FCPS Officials on School Renovations & Additions

Remember the scathing editorial School Board member Liz Bradsher wrote last October in the Fairfax Times?  It’s the one where she attacked a parent who raised important questions about FCPS’ renovation queue relative to FCPS’ closure of Clifton ES.

Liz Bradsher

Bradsher’s editorial titled “Don’t Let the Facts Get In the Way of a Good Op Ed” specifically stated:  “…Clifton Elementary School has 366 students and all students can be moved to successful nearby schools without the necessity of additions or renovations.

Well, well, well.  Look out Ms. Bradsher –looks like some multi-million dollar facts are getting “in the way.” You told parents and taxpayers that additions and renovations weren’t needed.   The FCPS Proposed 2011 School Bond Referendum tells a different story.

The proposed 2011 bond, released by FCPS last week, shows $13.7 million  for “additions and renovations” to schools that Clifton ES students will now be transferred to.

Among the proposed bond projects include:

Fairfax Villa ES (6 rooms) $ 3,129,294

Greenbriar East ES (9 rooms) $ 3,889,687

Union Mill ES (8 rooms) $ 3,419,715

Modular Relocations $ 3,250,000

Capacity Enhancement Subtotal: $ 13,688,696

Ready to eat some crow Ms. Bradsher?

Save some for FCPS Chief Operation Officer for Facilities Planning Dean Tistadt.

Dean Tistadt

Back in October, Tistadt told concerned parents and taxpayers at a SW Boundary study meeting that FCPS already had money for any projects that might be needed as the result of shifting students from Clifton ES to new schools.

“We actually have a great deal of money in what we call the “construction reserve,” Tistadt is quoted in the Centreville Patch.   The Patch quotes Tistadt saying that the funds were left over from previous bond referendums.  “According to law, that money can be spent on any capital project,” said Tistadt.

So FCPS, if you already have leftover bond money , why are you sticking taxpayers with an additional proposed $13.7 million tab on the 2011 Bond? 

And if you already have leftover bond money, why the delay in jumpstarting much needed renovations at FCPS’ legacy high schools like Langley and West Springfield who have languished in the renovation queue for way too long?!

I smell the need for a serious audit of FCPS’ budget.  Board of Supervisors, are you listening?

© Catherine Lorenze and Red Apple Mom, 2001. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Catherine Lorenze and Red Apple Mom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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