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.]