Democrats Launch Robocall Lobbying for School Funding

The voice of Supervisor Kristen Umstattd (D-Leesburg) was heard in Loudoun households this week.

A recording of the freshman county supervisor was sent via automated phone calls asking Loudouners to urge the Board of Supervisors to fully fund the school budget. The call was paid for by the Loudoun County Democratic Committee.

Other supervisors have said the county can’t afford the School Board’s full budget request. The School Board has adopted a record 1.07 billion budget, an 8.8 percent—or $86.5 million—increase from the current fiscal year. The budget requires a $58.1 million increase in local tax funding. The current real estate tax rate is $1.135 per $100 of assessed value. County Administrator Tim Hemstreet has told the board it will need to raise the rate to $1.17 to meet the schools’ budget request.

But Umstattd said, because of stable or declining property values in some neighborhoods, many wouldn’t see a big tax hike.

“When I looked at some of the average home prices to see what the impact would be of fully funding the schools, tax bills would be lower than they were two years ago,” she said in an interview Tuesday. “So if you look at what happens over the course of time, it doesn’t look like a hefty tax increase.”

The Loudoun County Republican Committee on Tuesday night issued a statement criticizing the action and specifically targeting Umstattd for going back on campaign promises to hold taxes low.

“It’s unprecedented for a sitting supervisor to record a robocall to Loudoun residents asking them to urge other supervisors for a tax increase,” Sharon Sadler, the LCRC’s first vice chairwoman, stated. “Instead of working in a collaborative manner with her fellow board members, school board members, and county staff, Supervisor Umstattd is instead turning into a mouthpiece for the far-left base of the local Democrat party.”

The LCRC says the school system’s needs can be met without raising taxes.

“Loudoun Republicans unambiguously oppose this proposed tax increase because we believe that Loudoun’s families, retirees, working individuals, and small businesses know better how to spend their hard-earned dollars than does the government,” Sadler stated. “We know that we can fund the needs of our hardworking public school teachers without raising taxes because Loudoun Republicans have accomplished just that. Perhaps Supervisor Umstattd should focus on looking for savings and working with her fellow elected officials, not recording robocalls soliciting higher taxes.”

22 thoughts on “Democrats Launch Robocall Lobbying for School Funding

  • 2016-03-16 at 12:36 pm

    Ah, yes. The tired old double-speak by the Loudoun County Republican Committee. Clearly, there was no call by Supervisor Umstattd for a tax increase. Only in the minds of the Loudoun County Republican Committee can one find the echoes of such babble-speak. I notice that the article points out that the message did NOT ask for a certain tax rate. Only that people speak out and ask that our public schools be fully funded. In fact, it is clear that Supervisor Umstattd would agree with one point raised by the Loudoun County Republican Committee: That we can fund the needs of our hardworking public school teachers without raising taxes. So, it appears that the Loudoun County Republican Committee continues its extremist views that we strip funding from our schools.

  • 2016-03-16 at 3:03 pm

    I tuned in for a snippet of last night’s BOS meeting. Chairwoman Phyllis Randall (D) declared that she “enthusiastically” supported funding additional positions in the Public Affairs Office because “they make us look good”. Phyllis recalled a story about how she was asked for multiple interviews by the press and the PAO ensured she got the best exposure.

    It’s clear the Democrats have never seen government spending they don’t support. They literally want to use your tax funds to help bolster their profile in the press. That’s not their money. It’s our money. It’s time to tell Phyllis, Kristen and the rest that we will not vote for such poor stewards going forward.

  • 2016-03-16 at 4:42 pm

    Which is it Mr. Lawgh? Does Supervisor Umstattd want a tax increase, or not want a tax increase? She says she wants a tax increase in the article?

    Where I come from, that means she wants to raise taxes on Loudoun homeowners.

  • 2016-03-16 at 6:49 pm

    Hi, Chris. I guess maybe the starting point is a basic discussion of governmental budgets. It works like this. There are governmental services supplied, that cost money. There are ways to raise money to pay for them. Schools are just one part of that budget. So, when you set priorities, you stake out what is important, and then those items that are not so much needed. I do not know where you come from, but in the real world, a public school education is a vital governmental service. Apparently, from the tone of your comment, you are one of those who apparently believe that a single dollar spent on public schools is a dollar too much. Supervisor Umstattd made her position very clear when she ran for that seat. Fully fund the public schools. I, for one, like it when an elected official keeps a promise. And as far as the Loudoun County Republican Committee seems to view this, they are for (1) slashing the public school budget, and (2) opposed to public comment, which is what Supervisor Umstattd asked the public to do: Come out and make their views known to the Board of Supervisors. Good for Supervisor Umstattd for caring, and keeping her promises.

  • 2016-03-17 at 11:37 am

    Thank you Mr. Lawgh for the civics lesson. Very enlightening. Who knew?

    I come from Loudoun County, Virginia. No place else. Right here is where I’ve always called home. Mostly, I was educated in the Loudoun County Public School system – elementary through high school. My kids attend Loudoun Public Schools. Maybe your forensic “tone reading” talents are a bit rusty.

    In your comment below, you say Supervisor Umstattd didn’t call for raising taxes on Loudoun homeowners. Yet, in the article, she clearly says: “it won’t look like that hefty of a tax increase.”
    Longtime residents have heard this same story over and over. You see, when you increase your budget by 90 million dollars over last year’s nearly 70 million dollar increase, that money has to come from somewhere in the “real world.” Around here, we call that a… tax increase.

    If it is a tax increase on Loudoun homeowners democrats want, then let’s call it a tax increase. Why all the esoteric chicanery? “Fully funded,” and “the average taxpayer won’t see it…” are all just smoke and mirror terms that we hear ad nauseam.
    You say she didn’t call for a tax increase, yet she clearly is. I’m asking you; which is it?

  • 2016-03-17 at 12:25 pm

    How sad, Chris. Maybe parents (maybe you) should spend a bit of time with your children, and ask them what happens day to day in their schools. Maybe parents (you) might learn something. To speak of having children in the public school system, and then yell that spending one dollar is one dollar too much, is beyond my ability of understanding. Oh well, I guess I learn something new every day. But I guess for some, keeping that one dollar in your pocket, is more important that a child’s future. I hope you enjoy keeping that one dollar bill hidden way deep in your wallet.

  • 2016-03-17 at 1:39 pm

    What does Lawgh mean by “fully fund” the school budget? Does he realize this is just a number they pick out of thin air based on what they think the public will possibly tolerate?

    They intentionally reduced their request by $10M’s because they realized that an 8.8% funding increase in the face of a 3.8% enrollment increase was already untenable. Originally they intended to add an additional $10M in salary raises for administrators as well as $M’s more for additional salary raises for teachers.

    Just this past week the Labor Department announced that private sector salaries increases 1.6% over the last year. With inflation of 1.0%, that means workers received real raises of just 0.6%.

    Contrast that with LCPS who is asking for 2.3% step increases, 0.8% COLA increases, and up to 1.2% additional scale increase. That’s up to 4%+ when private sector workers are getting less than 2%. And the Democrats are saying teachers MUST get 4% or else we are “underfunding” the schools. In what world are they living? Even in Bernie Sanders’ “everybody gets the same” world, that’s unfair to the private sector workers who are paying for teachers to retire at 52 years old with a $50K/yr pension already.

    Just once in your life, try to include accurate facts to bolster your opinion Lawgh.

  • 2016-03-17 at 2:24 pm

    A poor attempt at deflection Mr. Lawgh. You must not have attended Loudoun Public Schools; if you had, you’d possess a far greater reading comprehension ability than you display here.

    Perhaps the third time is the charm: You say Supervisor Umstattd didn’t call for a tax increase in your comment below (third sentence). Yet, in the above article, she’s saying it won’t be that “hefty of a tax increase.” All I’m asking you, is which is it? Is Supervisor Umstattd and democrats calling for a tax increase, or are they not calling for a tax increase? That is a very, very, simple question.

    If so, why can’t we just call it what it is: A tax increase.

    Why all the euphemisms and obfuscation? Reasonable people can have a rational discussion about the issue when we call it what it is. When some insist on calling it anything but what it actually is, you’re already suspect in any rational conversation.
    This doesn’t have to be hard.

  • 2016-03-17 at 3:05 pm

    Another in a long line of untruthful statements and positions taken by Umstattd. She is a professional politician with doublespeak dripping out of her. To full fund the schools would require higher taxes. Otherwise Ms Umstattd what will you cut from the budget to fully fund the schools so that taxes do not go up.

    Umstattds “fully funding” is a cop out. She can not dictate how the schools spend this Full Funding, so to just say “Here spend it all” is careless. And believe me she could care less. BTW Lawgh sure has a lot of insight into the actions and thinking of Umstattd. Lawgh must be close to Kristen; real close.

  • 2016-03-17 at 3:24 pm

    Ah, Chris, if only you were willing to engage in a rational discussion. First, and foremost, you have made your position very clear. You claim to have children in the Loudoun County Public Schools. Yet, you rant and rave against funding properly that school system. Rational? I think not. For someone to fight so doggedly against spending even one dollar on schools, tells me all I need to know. Bottom line, you seem to support the idea of failing to fund, to the tune of almost $100,000,000.00 dollars over the past four years, our schools. You have every right to take that position. Some talk about our children’s futures. Others, as it seems to me, want to be able to tell those he bumps into when he is 90, that he still has every dollar he ever earned in his pocket. And to heck with the future.

  • 2016-03-17 at 7:53 pm

    Your failure to answer a simple yes or no question Mr. Lawgh speaks volumes. While you may be in denial, Supervisor Umstattd is not: She’s calling it a tax increase.

    A rational person correctly identifies the issue, and then has a discussion about that issue. You refuse to even identify the issue. If you discover a copperhead coiled up in your bathroom, you don’t shut the door and tell your family members there’s a fuzzy little kitten in there, or would you?

    “Parent Intimidation 101” tactics are useless on me. Deflection, projection, fabrications, and petty innuendo may have sounded great in a dorm room rap session, but in the rational world, they serve you poorly.

    Rest assured Mr. Lawgh, taxes will be increased. It’s very likely that increase will result in new funding to the school system in excess of the 100 million dollars you speak of, and in just the last two years alone. That money has to come from somewhere, and that somewhere is Loudoun homeowners.
    I’m sorry if it upsets you that people aren’t fooled by the pretty words and catchy phrases Supervisor Umstattd and Loudoun democrats hoped we’d fall for – but we’re not.

    Loudoun democrats should fully embrace their demands for tax increases on the people of Loudoun and not hide behind the ubiquitous and silly “fully funded” phrase. Some of them are – why can’t you?
    Stop hiding and speak plainly. What can ever be wrong with honesty?

  • 2016-03-18 at 9:28 am

    SGP – I am challenging your numbers on raises in the area. Where did you get the 1.6% number? Is that for the DC area or for the entire country? You must include regional differences or you are simply spitting our the same misinformation you accuse the schools of doing.

    While you are at it, you must include the notion of promotions. As you are aware, most people in a company do not stay at the same job their entire time. As you have, they get promoted to new positions with increased salaries. Teachers do not have this option. A teacher is in the same job for their entire career unless they switch to administration, but we are not talking about administrators. Step increases, when they are offered, account in a only a tiny bit for the fact that teacher cannot get promotions like you and so many others do.

    Bottom line, teachers do not earn as much as they could if they had entered the private sector. We do get many benefits that help with this difference. But you continued disdain for teachers wanting to earn a living that allows them to live in the country is outright disrespectful to me and others who are dedicated to doing good.

  • 2016-03-18 at 9:35 am

    Ah, what a night last night! Real parents, who understand the importance of education, actually came out to speak, or show their support, for a well funded public school system for Loudoun County! Truly, democracy in action. So, for those, like my very good friend Chris, who apparently still has the very first dollar he ever made, and who has no intention of parting with it for the support of our public schools, they now have a bit of a problem. The reality is, that should this year result in a failure by the republicans on the Board of Supervisors to fully fund our school budget, the more and more it is clear just how anti-public school those board members are. Every election is repeated by another one, and every effort sometimes takes several hurdles, and it seems reasonable to conclude that adding another three reasonable people to the Board of Supervisors at the next election, will make people like my very good friend Chris, a bit unhappy. But for our children, a better public school education.

  • 2016-03-18 at 10:03 am

    CareerSwitcher, I understand it’s too hard for you to find any references on your own. That must be why you would “most certainly get a pay increase if you left teaching“, right? Such skillz you have!

    Here is the reference you seek. Real average weekly gains of 0.6%. Or nominal gains of 1.6%. Either way, it’s much less than teachers.

    Btw, there is no profession where folks get an annual promotion. And you obviously didn’t have to hand out raise pools. Most companies combine the raise and promotion pool. Thus, if you give an employee a 5% promotion raise, that means the other employees get less of a raise since it comes out of the same pot of money.

    If you claim that step increases for teachers are merely the natural progression of younger workers to older workers (more senior spots), then why does LCPS request funding for step increases? Shouldn’t older teachers retire, younger workers take their place, and the overall salary cost remain the same? But yet LCPS needs $10.4M just to implement step increase before any scale increases or COLA. What gives? Let’s see if your keen mind can figure this one out. I’m sure private sector employers are just drooling to have you come work for them.

  • 2016-03-18 at 11:03 am

    Good for you Mr. Lawgh! You’re going to get the tax increase that you, Supervisor Umstattd, and Loudoun Democrats demand — and Loudoun homeowners are going to pay for it all! Fantastic news. Congratulations my friend.

  • 2016-03-18 at 11:23 am

    SGP – the problem with actually citing a resource is that you open up the discussion to those who actually read the resource. From you site, “0.6-percent increase in real average weekly earnings over this period.” The report covers numbers from January to February this year. Taking you own view on the numbers, this translates into over a 7% increase for the year! Wow – you are suggesting that the country is experience a huge pay raise while teachers struggle. Correct?

    Hey, I never said there were annual promotions and you know that . You also know that you would not have your 6 figure salary without promotions. So, instead of robbing the tax payers for your own overpriced job, perhaps you could modify your view of teachers who are simply trying to stay afloat, like anyone else.

  • 2016-03-18 at 11:33 am

    Hopefully, the final word with my good friend, Chris. It is not about who wins or loses between you and anyone else. It is about the children of Loudoun County having the chance of an education that will propel them to success in the years to come. If you can’t see that, there really is no point in discussion anything with you. You, and your dollar bill tucked way deep in your wallet, can carry on just fine without anyone else.

  • 2016-03-18 at 11:36 am

    CareerSwitcher, does LCPS offer reading comprehension services to its teachers? Maybe someone could refer you.

    In the third paragraph, the very first sentence concludes “from February 2015 to February 2016”. In “technical jargon”, that’s what they call year-over-year. Then, later in that very same paragraph, the article says “0.6 percent increase in real average weekly earnings over this period”.

    Let’s put aside the fact that you obviously have never read an inflation/earnings press release in your life. Your economics background is essentially non-existent. Let’s look at your reading comprehension skills. You post a response that is meant to undermine my very statement. The only thing you manage to do is look like a fool and prove to the public that many of our teachers lack the very skills they are supposed to teach our students. This is exhibit #1 why we need to use objective data to measure the effectiveness of our teachers, schools and administrators.

    Congratulations, I could not have made this point better myself.

  • 2016-03-18 at 5:10 pm

    Thank you Mr. Lawgh. As one who actually came out of the Loudoun Public School system, I have been successful. They taught me reading comprehension and calling things by their correct terminology. They also taught me to avoid deceit, nor make things up out of thin air. They taught me respect for other opinions and the importance of engaging in solid, rational, debate.

    Regrettably, those essential lessons passed you by somewhere along your journey to becoming a huckster for a political party. You, nor your political party, care about the education of kids; all you want is the money, and the control over people that comes with it. You can wrap yourself in the 1990’s “it’s for the kids” meme, but it’s just a lie.

    At least some democrats at last night’s hearing were honest; they demand taxes on Loudoun homeowners be raised

  • 2016-03-18 at 5:30 pm

    SGP-again, you are trying to use data to prove points that are not connected. The numbers you cite for last year are across the country and include the low increased for teachers as well as the outrageous increase for overpriced consultants named Brian. For this the future, your resource indicates something else might materialize. Even if it does not, the numbers are too wide to be connected to LCPS teachers. Basically, you are advocating that teachers should be content with the same pay every year while you continue to prosper off the public tab doing nothing for society except push paper back and forth.

  • 2016-03-19 at 5:37 am

    CareerSwitcher, I’m surprised you even showed your (virtual) face after taking such a thrashing. Question. Do your kids read this? I should hope not. It would be sad to watch their parent fail test after test after test in public. Hint: most folks with any honor would say, “wow, I was wrong yet again. I stand corrected”. But CareerSwitcher just seems to ignore the fundamental reading error that a 3rd grader would be ashamed about.

    You seem to be putting words in my mouth yet again. Or maybe it’s because your memory is so poor.

    1. I have always advocated for a step increase. That averages 2.3%. That is MORE than private sector workers received last year. The fact that junior teachers get less and senior teachers (with nowhere else to transfer) get much more is the fault of LCPS, not the taxpayer.

    2. I do not advocate for this “scale adjustment”. LCPS has shown that only about 15 of its mid-grade teachers leave for other districts in the area (e.g. Fairfax) whereas over 3x as many as transferring into LCPS. That means are highly competitive. Only fools, or liars, claim a scale increase is needed to make our scale “competitive” when more teachers are coming rather than going.

    The whole reason I cited a source was to demonstrate how you refused to every base your claims on any reference. And not only could you not comprehend the reference, you have failed once again to cite any reference of your own. I guess that constitutes “science” to you. Just make something up out of thin air and expect everyone to believe your opinion as fact. Come to think of it, there are a lot of speakers at LCPS/BOS meetings who do the same thing. No wonder private sector employers are unwilling to hire them….. I’m glad you have job security at LCPS. For your kids’ sake…..

  • 2016-03-19 at 9:32 pm

    SGP-Quite generous of you to change your view and support teacher salaries now. Thanks for coming around to a reasonable point of view. Now we can move on and not have read anymore posts about how wealth teachers are.

    I am so glad we are on the same page

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