Letter: David Palanzi, Leesburg

Editor: There have been some troubling news reports about problems in Loudoun County Public Schools recently. Are these problems due to chronic underfunding of our schools? It is true that the LCPS budget requests have grown, the per-pupil funding by the Board of Supervisors is down by 10.1 percent since 2009, when adjusted for inflation.

Yes, the under-resourcing of our schools has led to the problems highlighted in recent news reports. After the great recession, the school board and the administration worked to buffer the impact of a shrinking budget on our students by cutting staff.

Fewer people, with an ever-increasing workload in a growing system, cannot possibly be expected to excel. In 2009, the Career and Technical Education Department consisted of a director, a supervisor, and a secretary/bookkeeper; today this department has one supervisor. This is the department which directly supervises Monroe Technology Center and the hundreds of specialized teachers at our 15 middle and 15 high schools. So why are we surprised when we have problems during the transition to the Academies of Loudoun? This is just one example of the reallocation and reduction of administrative personnel in our growing school system.

So what’s a concerned citizen to do? Contact Loudoun’s Board of Supervisors and tell them not to cut the tax rate any further. The current tax rate in Loudoun is $1.125; the advertised tax rate is $1.105, and many supervisors want to cut that rate to $1.08 or lower. This rate shorts our kids, teachers, and support employees millions of dollars and continues the pattern of underfunding our schools.

Don’t fall for the “equalized” tax propaganda. The “equalized” tax fails to factor in inflation, so it is actually a cut. Hold the Loudoun politicians to their promise to properly invest in education—and if they don’t, vote them out in 2019.

David Palanzi, Leesburg

[David Palanzi, a high school business teacher, serves as the president of Loudoun Education Association, which represents more than 3,400 employees of LCPS.]

3 thoughts on “Letter: David Palanzi, Leesburg

  • 2018-03-16 at 4:28 am
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    Just like Metro lets spend our way out of the taxpayer misery. I bet he plays More, More more by Billy Idol when he comes up with these notions. FDK money looks awfully good at present just think what could be done with that wasted cash cow. Ask yourself if David is for expansion and doubling the number of patients but we only have a finite number of doctors in the system so where is his logic. The Lea should be listed by the SPLC as a terror organization.

  • 2018-03-16 at 11:34 am
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    To norges53…
    Reading your comment, I will guess that you went to an underfunded school. You could use some help with punctuation and capitalization. Schools need proper funding. Just take a look at what has been happening in several western states. Republican governors and legislators cut taxes so much that finally teachers and parents screamed “enough!” In Oklahoma and Kansas, schools were in session only 4 days per week. Teachers were having to buy supplies for classrooms. West Virginia educators finally went on strike to get a relatively small 5% wage increase. Even while on strike, they chipped in to make sure that those children who relied on lunch programs were properly fed. And, these are the people that you don’t want to pay? For me, I want the teachers to be able to teach without having to worry if they can make the mortgage payment. Kids are our future. Improperly educated students might be the Republican dream, but it is not good for our country. Mr. Palanzi is right to caution against cutting the tax rates too much. It’s only a matter of a few dollars to each household to make sure that we give our students the education they need.

  • 2018-03-16 at 2:40 pm
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    I agree completely with this letter, but I would add to it: The underfunding of County services caused by the constant effort to cut a few pennies off the tax rate goes far beyond just the schools! County staff in all of the government departments are underpaid compared to surrounding counties, under staffed, working overtime, getting 2 percent increases in a GOOD year (averaged 1%/year since the recession) and are working harder and doing more with less every year. And there’s no end in sight because new positions won’t be funded and the ones that are, the County can’t hire qualified staff to fill because of the low salaries. Meanwhile good, dedicated, talented people are leaving right and left to go where they can earn more money. Most of the employees working for the County can’t afford to live in the county they work for! And yet Loudoun has THE HIGHEST HOUSEHOLD INCOME IN THE COUNTRY RIGHT NOW! And is voted one of the best places in the nation to live! And has been experiencing the highest growth rate in the nation for several years running! So why SHOULDN’T the privileged, happy, richest property owners in the country pay a couple extra dollars a year to fund the services they, themselves, are screaming for? It’s a simple law of supply and demand as far as I’m concerned: If, as a citizen, you are going to demand more, be prepared to supply accordingly.

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