Letter: Virginia Kramer, Leesburg

Editor:   I have been following the articles about the massive school budget being proposed for 2018—$1.1 billion!  According to last week’s article, the School Board asked the Board of Supervisors to spend more than $5.6 million in fiscal year 2017 surplus funds to purchase 34 school buses and new textbooks.  Surplus? There is a surplus?  Why has this surplus not been refunded to the taxpayers or at least put toward the new 2018 budget?  This is not the board’s money to do with as they wish; it belongs to us the taxpayers.

Buying new textbooks and digital learning resources is estimated to cost about $3 million. Why not use the surplus to buy them? The last time I became aware that there was a surplus, I neglected to write and should have. The surplus was used at that time to buy cell phones for every teacher in every school to be hooked up to the weather department so they could be notified of any bad weather. Those funds should have been returned to the taxpayers or at least put toward the next year’s budget. We do not live in an area where there is no notification of bad weather coming. This was a colossal waste of money.

Any surplus funds do not belong to the elected officials; they belong to the taxpayers.

Virginia Kramer, Leesburg

8 thoughts on “Letter: Virginia Kramer, Leesburg

  • 2017-01-12 at 4:06 pm
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    LCPS is, in general, a very poor steward of taxpayer funds. It is the cash cow of the county and never fails to squander millions on unneeded items and then fails to account for the basics. Textbooks should be the #1 item they spend money on, not something they purchase when they have “extra.” LCPS’s priorities are so backwards.

    • 2017-01-12 at 10:16 pm
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      David. What is in your list of items that are unneeded? Let’s see if they add up to millions? Be specific, please

  • 2017-01-13 at 11:19 am
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    #1 Waste is Full Day Kindergarten. It costs tens of millions of budget dollars annually and, on top of that, takes classrooms space that other grades could use and , thus, speeds up the rate at which schools fill up and forces new schools to be built sooner.
    #2 Waste is athletics. Schools are here to educate and academics should be the focus. I can’t even begin to calculate how much money is wasted for this. LCPS will complain about the poor ESL learners in the East, and then drop millions on a new athletic super field complex.
    #3 Waste is Academies of Loudoun. A private school built with public school money and funded by the public. If you want a private school education, then open your wallet and pay for one yourself.
    #4 Waste is half the people that work at Education Court.
    #5 Waste is paying $10M for a property assessed at $4M. And that was just this year. Bad land deals over the past 30 years add up to $XXXM.

    That’s a start and adds up to hundreds of millions.

    • 2017-01-13 at 8:54 pm
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      David

      For #1 – you have to take that up at the county level. If the county wants FDK, then the county has to pay for it. The schools merely supply what the county demands. You cannot blame the cost of FDK on LCPS without getting the county to retract the requirement.
      #2 and #3 – seems to me that you might be upset because your own kids are not smart enough to make it to the Academies and probably don’t play sports. The participation rate in sports is huge in the schools with teams filled across the board. You might have an argument against turf fields but an argument that sports don’t have a place in the schools does not seem to be a popular one, especially in Loudoun. Regarding the academies, when build, it will be filled with high performing students. Again, LCPS is filling a need. You would be better off campaigning county wide to get parents not to want something like the Academies. Meanwhile, where this is demand, you cannot blame LCPS for filling it.

      The school system does have plenty of room for efficiencies. Your big issues are not the places to cut.

      • 2017-01-14 at 6:43 pm
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        CareerSwitcher, as envisioned now, the Academies will cost much more than the annual cost of TJ. That is unnecessary and inefficient. And it’s not the same education as provided by TJ.

        The best performing countries have 30-35 kids per class. Loudoun has 23-25. It is a waste of money and results in inferior results. If we raised the class size by cutting the least effective teachers, we could save money and pay the remaining teachers (the best ones) more. Win-win.

        Deans. Again, it is unnecessary.

        Byard and the propaganda office. Unnecessary, untruthful and adds negative value.

        NBCT bonuses. Unnecessary. If teachers want to do obtain the cert, more power to them. The state gives them a bonus. We don’t need it (especially with PE teaches or librarians who were getting $5K extra/yr).

  • 2017-01-13 at 2:26 pm
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    I have a few CareerSwitcher: How is it the school system is always taken by surprise when projecting student population? Who are these kids? Is there some new 10,000 unit development that sprung up overnight we’re not aware of? How can the system continue to miss the numbers every year. Is there no effort made to at least talk to somebody at Harrison street, and take a fairly educated estimate at how many homes were built, or in the pipeline? Or do you all just wing it?

    Why are there so many shrinks employed by the school system, including seven Ph D’s? Is the school system and mental health services one and the same now? How much does that payroll cost? How many teachers could we afford in exchange for the resources those people suck up?

    Aren’t students and teachers really what were supposed to be focused on?

    How many people work at “education court?” Why are taxpayer kids in overcrowded classrooms, yet bureaucrats are in a big fancy buildings (which I’ll note was voted down twice by the people)?

    Thank you.

  • 2017-01-17 at 9:47 am
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    Attacking the children of those who have policy differences with you… Very progressive, CareerSwitcher.

    Stay classy…

  • 2017-01-17 at 1:39 pm
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    CS, there is no requirement for FDK. LCPS is enacting it, but there is no requirement beyond half day kindergarten.

    When we have LCPS not buying enough textbooks but seeking funding and getting millions for turf fields, we clearly have a problem with LCPS priorities. This, however, is nothing new.

    As originally planned, the Academies of Loudoun was to accept students by LOTTERY.

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