Editor: I am writing to you in response to the March 25 article, “Supervisors Cut Tax Rate, School Budget, Then Just Fund Everything Else.” As someone who grew up in the LCPS System, but is also studying to become a teacher, it’s upsetting that the Board of Supervisors decided to make this school budget cut.
Here’s the thing: just three months ago, theUS News and World Reportnamed Loudoun County as the #1 richest county in the US, #6 in “healthiest communities,” and #5 in “urban counties with high performing economies.” So, then, why are we cutting the school systems budget by $17,205,187 and funding everything else? To get the “real estate tax rate below $1?”
Your article also states that teachers will still get a 4% raise this year, and the minimum raise to secure state matching funds. Your article also has the supervisor stating that “what our teachers went through this year is not comparable. […] I have full respect for what our county employees have done.” So, then why, when teachers have gone above and beyond, has the minimum become our standard for teachers pay and educational funding?
Additionally, according to a Newsroom report in 2017, “individuals with higher education levels earn more, pay more taxes, and are more likely than others to be employed and to have job benefits such as retirement and health insurance.”It is seen that a young person’s education is what will set them up for a possible lifetime of success. So, why are we then minimizing our education fund? Why are we not putting more money into education to improve it that much more?
Also, what is one of the first departments that will get cut from schools who are lacking money? It certainly won’t be science, technology, engineering, or math due to the county’s push towards STEM-centered curriculum. So, the most likely departments will be elective courses, specifically the arts. I advocated an increase in arts education funding when I was still in high school, but the arts are important now more than ever. The arts have been a way for students to express themselves and have conversations about difficult topics. Isn’t that what students need right now, an outlet and conversations about their difficult questions? Additionally, in the book “Teach Like a Champion”by Doug Lemov, it is pointed out that arts education helps close the achievement gap, achieve higher-order thinking, deeper insight, positive behavior, independence, and, of course creativity-all things that are beneficial to any student.
So I ask the board this: as the richest county in the nation, why are we deciding to cut our school budget by $17,205,187? It will undermine our teachers, students, and the overall ability to give students the best and most well-rounded education possible.
Grace Saville, Leesburg