The Loudoun County School Board has adopted its list of legislative changes it wants to see made in the General Assembly early next year.
The board’s 2018 Legislative Program has very few changes from previous years. It asks state lawmakers to provide funding to cover the cost of following all state mandates and for more flexibility to develop new, more student-centered assessment and accountability systems.
Board members disagreed on two points in the program: one that deals with eminent domain and another that asks for a new law that would allow local school boards to retain any unspent money. Right now, the law requires that any surplus funds are returned to the county.
School Board member Debbie Rose (Algonkian) wanted a request deleted from the program that asks lawmakers to permit local school boards to buy real estate without the property being subject to “unrecorded equitable servitudes, easements, negative easements or any other undocumented encumbrances.”
“I value that property right,” Rose said. “I don’t want us to be advocating to diminish property rights.”
She was joined by Chairman Jeff Morse (Dulles), Eric DeKenipp (Catoctin) and Jill Turgeon (Blue Ridge), but not enough votes to take the request off the Legislative Program.
Rose, Morse, Turgeon and Tom Marshall (Leesburg) also wanted to delete an item that asks legislators to allow school boards to keep any unspent funds. “I’ve stated before this is taxpayers’ money and this is a valuable check on spending that I think we need to continue to do,” Rose said.
But the majority of the board disagreed, and voted to keep that request in the program.
The School Board’s Legislative Program serves as a formal request to the delegates and state senators who represent Loudoun County in the General Assembly. School Board members will present the program to lawmakers at an annual Legislative Breakfast on Dec. 1, and follow up with a dinner with Loudoun’s delegation in Richmond on Jan. 22.