- This week has been all about next year's budget situation. Our joint meeting with the Supervisors on Tuesday went well. It focused on facts and figures, everyone recognizes the gravity of the situation and the importance of working together in a new way. Leesburg Today, Loudoun Extra.
- On Wednesday morning the Supervisors Finance Committee met and decided to recommend that the county spend no more next year than it spent in the current year, and perhaps significantly less. This wouldn't be a big deal if we weren't still growing so fast, and hadn't been cutting it pretty close in our funding levels to begin with. Under this best case scenario (which is still very much subject to change), we'll have the same number of teachers, and the same number of classrooms, and the same number of dollars, with which to teach an anticipated 2,500 extra students.
- Last night, LEAP held a budget forum with presentations by LCPS CFO Leigh Burden and the County's Deputy CFO, Ben Mays. Supervsiors Burton and Kurtz, along with School Board members Tom Reed, Priscilla Godfrey and myself were part of a panel which spoke and answered questions as well. In the audience were Chairman Robert DuPree, members Tom Marshall and Warren Geurin and Andrea McGimsey. Superintendent Hatrick spoke as well. I was surprised after the meeting was over that the parents did not seem alarmed by the budget outlook judging by their questions and the post-meeting conversations. "Wait until they see the impact" was the comment of another board member this morning.
- Speaking of LEAP, they have started a new blog of their own, LEAPForLoudoun. I will add it to my link list.
- And speaking of things to add to my link list, I am extremely excited by the Loudoun County Library's LoudounPedia project. I have advocated for months for somebody to start an LCPS wiki for the community to build. The Loudoun Education section of LoudounPedia is exactly that, and I'm already signed up as a contributor.
- Another item going up on my list is the School Board's new electronic document management system. I don't see next week's meeting documents up there yet but I believe it will be soon.
- Virginia is ahead of all other states in tracking true graduation rates among high school students, and Loudoun is tops in the state. Washington Post. Technically we're #2 in the state, but the #1 is Falls Church City which has a total of 1,906 students in a grand total of four schools.
Community input is key. Let your representatives know what you're willing to give up in terms of programs and services. This is no time to ask for new expenditures or declare anything off limits. Many people will be happy to suggest things that other people should forgo, but that's not nearly so convincing as saying "I will do without, if it will help the community." That's the kind of service that both Barak Obama and John McCain have spoken of throughout the campaign. It's the kind of service they have both exemplified with their lives. We all have an opportunity to follow their example, right now, right here at home.