The Washington Post has done a nice little puff piece on Loudoun County’s new Superintendent of schools, the very nice, affable, everyone loves him, Eric Williams. He likes “project based learning”, more technology in schools, and of course more “critical thinking”, whatever that is. (I’ve heard the term used in education for at least 25 years and no one seems to have a precise definition nor have they defined what facts students have learned to critically think about.) I don’t suppose that’s important. Same ol’, same ol’ education jargon we’ve heard forever with no proof that any of it is important or aids in the education of anyone. But everyone loves projects and Ipads! Read the article here.
The More Things Change in LCPS, The More They Stay The Same
written by Jeanine Martin October 27, 2014
Also known as Lovettsville Lady, I am a Republican activist in the wilds of western Loudoun County.
Why are we constantly spending millions on new schools when we let our schools sit empty and idle one quarter of the year? Why not use the facilities we have year ’round? Then there would be no need to constantly build more schools. I know that teachers hate change and would strenuously object even if they were working exactly the same number of hours but parents in communities with year ’round schools love it. Imagine being able to vacation in the fall and spring and take a ski trip or a trip to Europe in March? Why are we all stuck with this silly agrarian calendar from 1880? It’s costing us a fortune and there’s no educational or financial reason for it.
How will year round school reduce the need for new buildings! How will it lower costs? Please explain
At least the SB got started early on the budget, so let’s keep our fingers crossed that it will be nothing like last year. Sup Williams doesn’t seem like he is vying to be king of the hill like Hatrick, nor do I see him whipping up the LEA and parent masses to protest at BOS meetings the way Hatrick did. A lot remains to be seen, but he does seem like a nice guy!
Unfortunately, the BOS has already decided on the school budget, even before analyzing the needs and financial requirements. This year will be the same fiasco as always.
Most honest people admit there are constraints in the LC budget, the LCPS can’t possibly continue to dramatically increase it’s percentage of the entire county budget without all other services suffering. Some folks (like former Sup Hatrick and the LEA) won’t be satisfied until the LCPS eats up the entire budget – and even then it wouldn’t be enough. It’s an appetite that can not be filled, and county residents do NOT want to continually raise taxes to feed it.
My hope is the LC BOS holds firm, tells the LCPS and the SB what they are looking at up front. There has to be receptive ears from the LCPS, so if Sup Williams wants an honest working relationship – he will have to work within the constraints of the total county budget. “Pie in the Sky” should have walked out the door with Hatrick.
The BOS “held firm” the last two years. They did this without lowering taxes, just cutting services, lowering teacher pay, and programs. Monthly home payments were not decreased noticeably, all while the BOS falsely claims to be fiscally conservative. If we are going to restrict the schools, we might as well see some individual savings. This has not happened here.
Please cite where teacher’s pay went down. Also please cite where services were cut. I don’t know if you mean LCPS service, or county – but I need specifics – not just blanket stmts. LC BOS went with an equalized rate last year, the LCPS got over 8% increase from the prior year. The BOS doesn’t have any say in how the money in the LCPS is appropriated so if you have a complaint on a “cut” (which usually means the same amount of money was spent but the increase was rejected) then you need to blame former Sup Hatrick. My taxes remained the same.
Your taxes remained the same while programs like ESL and activity were cut. Teachers pay decreased through increased insurance costs. Department chairs have to teach extra classes. There are many examples of this. Do not try to say that teachers were not affected. All this while taxes did not decrease. of course. The decision on what to cut rests with the SB but the BOS sets the budget and forces the SB to make the hard decisions. Again, this happens without regard for required financial commitments or desires of the community, The BOS only considers the optics of their decisions, not the consequences.
Can you cite where ESL was cut? Or how about this – I will confer with my SB rep to see if what you are saying is true, and I have a feeling it is not. I don’t particularly mind if Dept Chairs have to teach extra classes. I am in favor of eliminating Deans in Middle School too – and even High School. I know some of those positions were eliminated but those Deans were reassigned to the classroom – so they didn’t lose their jobs. And who among us in private industry AND other county employees are not paying more for health insurance? Have you read the papers? This problem is sweeping the nation. The adjustment last budget cycle (2013) to eliminate the disparity between LCPS and other LC agencies in HC benefitsdid happen, and it needed to. One side can’t be getting a better deal than the other. All county employees should be in the same HC pool, and now they are.
Further, no one is going to make me feel bad because my taxes weren’t raised. Honestly, the attitude that I am supposed to have guilt because LCPS had to tighten it’s belt after an 8% increase is absurd. There has been no crisis at LCPS, there has not been massive layoffs, overstaffing in administration has been addresses to some degree.
Next you will tell me LCPS teachers are leaving in droves. No they aren’t. But every year we hear (from the LEA) how they are enticed to go to work for neighboring counties like Fairfax. It’s not true. Nor is the opposite, despite the FCPS teachers claiming they are leaving for LCPS. This has been debunked many times.
You can complain to the BOS about “consequences” – they have a fiduciary responsibility to the tax payers. Thankfully they realize that 8% was enough this past Spring – I hope they hold the line next Spring.
That might be ELL instead f ESl. Also teacher raises were delayed and parking and sports fees raised. The point is that there are consequences to the tax decisions. You don’t have to feel bad. You do have to acknowledge that there are impacts that affect our school personnel financially, raise costs for parents, and cut programs. If you are fine with the results then fine. Celibrate the fact that teachers and others are taking the brunt of the decisions. Don’t hide from them or deny them. Be happy that your taxes have not decreased and be happy that teachers are doing more with leas
Teacher raises were not delayed, instead of making up an 8% gap in mid-career teachers they broke it up over 3 years. No steps were delayed. Parking fees and sports fees were raised years ago, not last year. I know because I pay them. There have been few consequences, as a matter of fact graduation rates have remained stable and LC students have actually gained in SAT scores. I am fine with those results. My kids are surviving in LCPS, as a matter of fact they are thriving. They have great teachers.
Who is celibrating anything? This is a budget, and it’s called life. People all over Loudoun and the country are doing more with less. Teachers are not an exempt class of citizens. All County employees have paid over the years, all 32 other agencies have made cuts. 32 agencies that get a mere 30% of the budget. There is no “brunt of the decision” because nothing dramatic has happened. You haven’t made one valid argument, only telling me that I need to be sad, or guilty. What a load of crock. You have no idea what I do for a living, or my husband. It’s pretty ironic you are lecturing me.
Raises are delayed and teachers are taking home less. On top of that, they are going to get hit from an insurance fund short fall. Fees went up, this year or last, does not matter. Why are you not happy about the situation!
I have no idea why you keep asking if I am happy or sad, this has nothing to do with feelings. If you want to have discussion on the budget, get your facts straight and stop asking me how I feel. Bizarre.
Steps were delayed. I don’t understand why you are fighting against the reality of the situation. The BOS determines the budget and the schools make the most of it. Our taxes have not decreased while families pay more for tutors, transportation, and fees. Teacher pay is impacted. Programs are cut. These are the realities. My original point is that the BOS determines the tax rates, and thus the budget, before understanding the financial commitments of the county/schools or the desires of the families here.
Your broad stmts on programs, cuts and delays mean nothing – you have no specifics, numbers or facts and are just repeating yourself. Have fun.
The cuts are well documented so you can research them if you like. But why do it? You can easily find things like FLES and ELL cut. You can find increased costs eroding pay. You can see no increases yet. But why even look? I don’t understand why you deny the impacts instead of celebrating them
” teachers are taking home less
Cite figures and provide a source or stop making claims you cannot back up.
Talk to the teachers and look at their pay stubs
No, you are making the charges here, provide the facts to back them up. If you can make the charge, you must have some figures yourself, right?
“teacher raises were delayed ”
oh, so now it’s “teacher raises were delayed” and not “lowering teachers pay” Can’t make up your mind?
That impacts them financially, correct? no cost of living increase=lower purchasing power plus increased costs=financial pain, correct?
Don’t bother Tom, “Duh” is a very apt name for this poster.
Just because you say something does not make it true. You already admitted that you do not care that department heads have to teach addition classes. No cares if you care but stop denying that there are changes that affect the staff. This is only one example of how the budget was balanced. Delaying increases 3 months costs staff 25% of the increase. That is Anothet example. There are ELL teachers teaching subject matter classes by themselves when they used to team with a content teacher. Hey, that is another one for you. Yes, there are consequences. You might not think they are important but don’t stick with your story that they don’t exists
There are also consequences to continue to converse with you, I’d call that consequence a waste of time.
I am not sure why you are defensive. I started out saying the BOS decides the tax rates regardless of consequences or their actual impact on monthly payments. We both agree that our tax bill have not declined. We are closer to the same thinking than you might believe.
The Schools are already getting the word out that they will hold teachers hostage this year if they don’t get their full demands. Teachers pay will be cut if they don’t get everything they demand. Of course the educrats pay won’t be cut, no ‘curriculum specialists’ will be harmed, only teachers and of course class sizes will increases. That’s a perennial favorite.
Don’t forget….”we will lose all our teachers to Fairfax!!!!”
“lowering teacher pay”
Tell us again where teacher pay went down. Cite the numbers and provide a source. Don’t just ignore Cathy’s question and go on to your next talking point.
Why do you deny the facts? why not celebrate the impacts? you are lost in denial
Because it’s not true. And since you’re the one making them here you are under obligation to back them up. That you can’t do so reveals that you are just a careless ranter. Dismissed!
Pay increased were delayed, long term sub pay eliminated, department heads working extra assignments, higher contributions, loss of FLES and ELL jobs, loss of middle school dean jobs, loss of activity busses. Yes, Tom, there have been cuts
What’s wrong, Tom. I gave you a few examples as you requested. Now that you are confronted with reality, don’t you have anything to say?
So you main argument with the article is that you don’t have the vocabulary to understand what Dr. Williams is saying?
Hahaha, I know very well what he’s saying and it’s all garbage with ZERO proof that any of it works better than good teachers with real education programs. Remember REAL math? REAL history? With dates? Remember grammar and spelling? Remember memorizing dates and times tables?