The first candidate for the Loudoun County School Board’s November 2019 election has thrown his hat in the ring.
Ian Serotkin, who lives near Aldie with his wife and two children, has announced a run for the board’s Blue Ridge District. That seat has been held the past two terms by Jill Turgeon, but she’s launched a campaign for the county chairman’s post, an at-large position currently held by first-term Democrat Phyllis J. Randall.
Serotkin, 38, moved to Loudoun with his family from Woodbridge in 2013. A year after he enrolled his kids into Aldie Elementary School, the School Board considered closing that school and three others in the county. The argument from board members in favor of shuttering Loudoun’s smallest and most historic schools was that they were costly to run and there was space for those students at neighboring schools.
“That’s when I started getting involved more,” Serotkin said. “We moved to Loudoun specifically because of the great reputation that the schools have, or had, and the more we’ve gotten involved the more concerns I have about how the school system is being run.”
He said his decision to run for School Board wasn’t prompted by one issue but several, including large class sizes and crowded schools. One of his top priorities is to see the average number of students in a class significantly reduced. Right now, the average class size is 23.2 students at the elementary level, 21.7 for middle school, and 23.7 in high school.
He said he recognizes that he can’t snap his fingers and get class sizes down to 15 students, but he said the first step is talking about what steps can be taken to gradually reduce class sizes.
“During the budget process, administrators and School Board members need to begin talking about how can we drive this trend downward,” he said. “It’s not conducive to learning, it’s putting stress on teachers, and kids are falling through the cracks.”
He’d also like to see the school system improve its enrollment projections, so that school building construction can stay ahead of enrollment growth. He said on that issue and others the School Board has been too reactionary. He also cited the board’s response to complaints from parents that their children that discipline of their special needs children included seclusion and restraint. He said he’s happy the board is forming a task force to review special education practices. “But I think they need to be better at getting out in front of these issues, and really providing robust oversight to the administration to make sure those things are not happening.”
Serotkin works for business management consulting company PDRI, where he manages teams of software developers. He and his wife, Caitlin, have two children, 9-year-old Allison and 7-year-old Jack, who attend Hillsboro Charter Academy.
Follow Serotkin’s campaign at Facebook.com/VoteIanSerotkin.