As was seen in last night's vote on the LCPS budget:
- Motions were made that revealed a financial impact but not a human/educational impact. These motions were shared with board members mid-afternoon on budget-adoption day; they were not vetted by staff in advance. The educational professionals who are held responsible for the decisions made by a school board were not given an opportunity to voice their concerns about what would happen as a result of these potential cuts. There were some motions that would have kept us from meeting the Standards of Quality, which impact accreditation. Thankfully those motions did not pass. The decision not to vet motions for impacts shows a lack of transparency to the public.
- The Catoctin District will feel a number of the impacts last night; and, I regret that members who represent the same schools as I do voted to support these negative impacts. Transportation cuts were sought (and didn't pass thankfully) as well as removal of SPED and ELL teachers/teachers assistants from the proposed budget. These program positions were in place to stabilize SPED seats in Leesburg and to "bring home" the SPED children attending schools in Western Loudoun and Ashburn. FLES teachers will receive RIF notices. Brain research showing cognitive development as well as the data showing educational gains for LCPS students due to this program were disregarded... I am concerned about the program impact.
- Full Day Kindergarten is not even given a chance to get started in schools that have space. The future phases of implementation could have been pushed off while we work on the capital side...
- I am very concerned that a message was sent to employees that this school board will not stand up for people potentially losing jobs even though the previous board used cost reduction measures to keep job loss from occurring. Again - teachers will receive RIFs as a result of the school board adopting its budget last night, not because we have reached the reconciliation phase of the budget process.
- All employees will get a $1750 "raise" if they are salaried or $.50/hour "raise" if they are classified. This reduces the current pay level for hundreds of employees because insurance costs were raised 8% in the budget. I understand and support putting more of the insurance cost on employees... All employees will be impacted by the rate increase yet not all will receive a pay "raise." The message sent by this motion's adoption - if you are new to LCPS, you have been rewarded; if you have been an employee who has weathered the financial storm of recent years, you have been "punished." Ironically, the motion I put forward to allow a 2% COLA would have been a $5.8 million "savings," while the Fox motion only netted an approximate $2.8 million savings.
- Hundreds of people spoke and sent emails in support of the proposed budget. I have never seen this many people come out this early in the process. The majority of the public who wrote and who spoke supported the proposed budget.
- Once an election is over, we are accountable to all members of the public, even to those who did not vote for us.
- As a parent of school-aged children, I will feel these impacts as will my children. As a teacher with experience who would have been "punished" by the salary vote, I am sorry that the majority did not support an "equal pay" for you teachers in the classroom or you who are principals, assistant principals, senior staff, and classified employees who have remained dedicated to LCPS. As a district representative, I am sorry that all of my schools will know today the first phase of FY13 impacts, and additionally Leesburg's SPED students will feel them even more. And as a taxpayer, I don't think that anyone will move their business into Loudoun if last night's message is the overwhelming theme of this budget cycle.