novatownhall blog

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Browsing Posts in School Board

A little local news to cleanse the palate. Loudoun County Public Schools are considering asking Richmond for permission to charge students for riding the bus.

I saw this story and it made me ask: “Why are we having such budget problems in Loudoun that local officials are actually considering making parents pay for bus rides to school?” (Read the full story is here)

Some are saying that this is proof that sprawl does not work and that taxes are too low in Loudoun

A few takeaway questions:

- Considering that children pay for lunch, why would it not be reasonable to pay for the bus ride?

- Are taxes too low in Loudoun? If the county is spending too much, then where’s the waste? (not saying there’s no waste, just want to know). Also consider that Loudoun County can’t afford to build new roads because the new developments are so spread apart.

- Are our local elected officials focused too much on policies that promote sprawl? Considering that we can not even transport our children to school with out having to consider levying some type of fee because schools and housing are too far flung and budgets are not covering the needs, the answer to that question is probably “yes”.

- If we are having budget troubles now, just imagine how much fun it will be once Loudoun has to pitch in to pay for the Metro in about 5 years or so.

I must admit that I have been waiting for one of Gaius’s thoughtful posts to liven things up but I understand the rigors of the daily grind and children, so I’ll give you a rounding of what is happening in the news.
LoCo wants to close 4 schools they own outright, which will save 2 million a year in operating costs. Meanwhile, 68+million will go to LCPS for fiscal year 2015. The tax rate went down .05 cents and my assessment went up 100k. That means it will only cost me another $1,000 in taxes. What a deal. And they have cut back many services in savings already. Hmm. Where is that Silver Line?
–Immigration reform…Dem….active.
–Equal pay for women….Dem….active.
–Koch brothers…..Dem….active.
–Bloomberg 50 million towards curtailing gun rights….Dem….new.
–Holder and Obama targeted with racism…..Dem….active.
–ObamaCare……GOP….semi-active (becoming obscure with diversions)
We have a guy feeding cows on federal land who won’t pay the Feds grazing rights. It got heated and civilians are toe-to-toe with armed Feds. Was getting ugly and not over yet. Meantime Putin is land grabbing more of the old USSR while everyone else in the world wags fingers. Ever notice that when big wars bring down aggressors, that nations go into downsizing mode with their military. The focus changes and the eye goes off the ball. During that period of non-focus, aggressors re-emerge upon the scene. Isn’t what keeps them in check are strong military nations at the ready?
Gas is up right when I am getting ready to go fishing. Why are we spending $2 for crop and processing to make $1 of ethanol, just so we can continue to ruin the internal combustion engines that use it? And food is going up. We feed ourselves and others with wheat and corn staple, yet there isn’t enough because of what is wasted as “alternate fuel”. If we took the same amount of corn and distilled it, we could save money, have less vehicles on the road and feel good about being anally raped. I guess being drunk has advantages and savings too. But, heh, ALL food is up. Steak is up (because they feed them corn I guess). I see new taxes on all my utility bills. What’s up with that? What is more important:desert turtles (who don’t like solar farms) or smelts that are nothing more than Egret food? Ever notice where many of the supermarket meats come from lately? Do you really like brushing your teeth with toothpaste that comes from the same country of massive pollution and lead paint toys that cause suicide in supervisors?
And we don’t need another 4 years of a woman president. It has been too long since we had balls in the White House. And we need more testicles in Congress too. A poster here thinks we need to build locally politically and move up. I agree, but I also agree that with a good role model at the top working down that you meet in the middle and get there twice as fast.
Out of all this news (or lack there of), that situation in Nevada with the cows has got my focus. The guy is wrong in his understanding of things. Should it have gotten out of hand? Yes, because the government is involved and that has rallied the people. The underlying theme here is freedom from government and in this case it doesn’t matter if the issue is right or wrong. It is a cause for the people and it will escalate. Could be the beginning of the people’s revolution. Someone is going to die and then all bets are off. Citizens have reached their breaking point and need a circumstance. I’ll be fishing and watching. If need be I might need to extend my vacation and visit the southwest although I’m pretty sure the uprising will come to a neighborhood near me in time. Until then I’ll be starving, going broke with taxes and healthcare. If you feel for my plight and to keep me off the government dole, you may send contributions to me here at NVTH. I promise that any excess funds will be used to buy more worthwhile things…….like bullets.

Well, the LCPS is trying (a word without much meaning here at NVTH) to work a budget that doesn’t further soak taxpayers. Classrooms and teachers are the focus here. In a companion piece, it is trying to explain away where LCPS budget is smaller than neighboring counties (without using an apples-to-apples comparison). Look, this BOS, school board and public schools were tasked in REDUCTIONS as a way of life. I wouldn’t care if you did online training because THAT would save a boatload of money. Some kids just don’t care about their education and others will succeed at all costs. Let schooling at home be on their heads–not ours.

Seems the Sheriff and the BOS aren’t playing well in the sandbox. We have seen these tactics before by esteemed members of Loudoun gov’t (got to love the editorial soapbox stage to reach the masses). When you pork a budget, it is easy to stay within it. When you don’t, the underfunding will rear its ugly head with realism. And, of course, sup. Boner has his 2 cents about it. Can’t we all just get along.

Speaking of sup. Boner, seems the frigging flip-flopper had a senior moment. When you read this article he says “we” tried (that is such a cop-out word) yet he voted “no” on the budget, made a 4-4 split, and then magnanimously changed his vote to abstain, which made the vote pass. How’s that for trying. This loser should have never been elected in the first place and continues to stain the party further. I hope the LCRC won’t be so quick to allow just any old boner to run in these elections again.

It appears that a new born was found in a Countryside pond. You can draw your own conclusions about this but I can only think of one logical scenario that makes sense. The amniotic sac broke and the baby was born. Feeling a sense of suffocation from being outside the womb, it scurried away from the mother towards a water source which, turned out to be this pond and then drowned due to lack of oxygen and nutrients within the water. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? We are now relegated to throwing babies in dumpsters and ponds like common trash? And don’t dare tell me there are no organizations, means or facilities where this type of rash (insane) action was unnecessary. When people believe these actions are okay, I look to the environment which we allow ourselves to live in. Still waiting for the right time to bring morality back?

Some things never change in Loudoun County and the input session at last night’s School Board meeting did not disappoint. Apparently it was a repeat of every other budget cycle, only with a new flavor. According to this Leesburg Today article the usual suspects were out in force with some new taunts, demonstrated in the following quote:

“More than half of the speakers were Loudoun County Public Schools employees; many said they were bus drivers or teachers assistants and spoke against any consideration to no longer offer benefits to employees who work less than six hours a day.

“I don’t know how you sleep at night thinking that you can take away our insurance,” LCPS bus driver Lydia Martin told the board members. “I thought I was working for the board of education, but I see I’m working for the LTP, which stands for the Little Tea Party.”

Little Tea Party? Who coached these people?

Besides this nice little tantrum, I have seen some very ugly and hyperbolic rhetoric thrown at the new School Board members on the “Loudoun for Full Day Kindergarten” Facebook page. Additionally there has been ugly name calling from some of the local elementary school agitators on individual elementary school pages. The offensive remarks were removed however the tone of the comments leaves much to be desired.

My biggest disappointment after reading the recap of the meeting was the realization that no one spoke on behalf of fiscal restraint and the need to make real cuts in the budget, and to give our newly elected School Board members some support. I put myself in this category. I am hoping everyone that has complained over the years takes the time to send an email, letter or make a call to their School Board member and voice their support over the very delicate process they are currently undertaking. The new Board was unable to adopt a budget last night and their critics will use this against them.

The supporters of Ed Hatrick and the out of control budget got their marching orders and delivered. We need to deliver as well, so please give our new School Board the input and support they so desperately need.


LTM Article Update – Holy Moly, the cost of the benefits of part-time employees is $24 Million/Year? At least the bus drivers were honest that they worked the part-time job just for the benefits (from the article):

“Jeff Platenberg, assistant superintendent for the Department of Support Services, noted that a lot of bus drivers with LCPS work strictly for the benefits.

“The point about some people doing it strictly for the benefits, that is absolutely correct. The flexibility of the job really does allow for a perfect fit,” Platenberg said. “A lot of people don’t realize that there was a time when it was extremely difficult to get bus drivers here, because our neighbors next door in Prince William offered benefits and that is one of reasons we went to that.

“When we are all competing for people, it becomes a dynamic environment to try and attract and retain those employees,” Platenberg said.”

I really can’t believe that with year after year increases, Hatrick now wants to extend kindergarten to full day.  It is earmarked with a 1.4 MILLION price tag in the budget but doesn’t that just stick out a bit?  Why would Loudoun taxpayers foot the bill for further babysitting?  He is really pushing this initiative and it shouldn’t be ours to bear.  This budget needs DOWNSIZING tremendously.  I’m sure all those liberals looking for quality education are for this crap.  I look at it as another venture where other people continue to eat a hole in my pocket for something that doesn’t belong.  An illegal will do this job for far less for an individual AND teach SSL (Spanglish as a Second Language) for the same price.  This is one of many things that have always made a bloated budget.  Cut 20% and we’ll see where we are next year.

I am tired of supporting frivolous ventures for others children!

Superintendent Ed Hatrick has proposed an 11.5% increase in the current LCPS budget, and with this exchange he readily admits he thinks the BOS should increase taxes:

“Kevin Kuesters (Broad Run), another who’s criticized the previous School Board’s spending, later asked Hatrick: “Is it your view that the Board of Supervisors should raise taxes this year in order to fund the FY13 budget?”

“Yes,” Hatrick responded without hesitation.”

At least Hatrick is honest! I listened to Priscilla Godfrey, former Loudoun County School Board Member, provide input to the General Assembly last night. Her plea was for the state to consider additional funding and she pointed out that the LCPS was operating on a 2008 budget. The truth is while the student enrollment has increased by 15.2% in the past 4 years, the budget has also increased by $345,955. According to the article Hatrick indicated “We cannot continue to absorb the cost of new students indefinitely” – however it appears they aren’t “absorbing” anything with a continually increased budget. Wouldn’t the additional 32 county agencies in Loudoun County like to have this kind of absorbtion?

It is refreshing to see the new members of the Loudoun County School Board asking the right questions. It is my understanding the new BOS has not followed the request of the previous board for budget projections with any increase, so will Hatrick get his money or finally be told no?

When I took over this blog it was with 2 understandings: the first was given to me and I have met it.  The second was a dedication to myself which I am going to fulfill.  My feet are now wet.  I have played biased softball with this election for specific reasons.  Reasons are met and now it is time to play hardball.

Congratulations to all the candidates of the new board.  There are those I just don’t trust.  There are those I just don’t believe.  I had candidate surveys that both sides said they would partake in that did not.  One was a direct commitment with no less than 3 other individuals telling me the candidate would follow through.  That candidate is on this new board and DID NOT follow through as stated.  Bad start and I won’t forget about it.  I will pursue all “attention e-mails” that come my way.  I will be watching the votes as they occur which affect my quality of life in Loudoun.  By no stretch of the imagination are all these candidates conservative.  What I do expect is dedication, integrity and above-board dealings in conjunction with the performance of their positions.  I also expect the other board members to police their own and “educate” those that stray from these principles.  No more “good ol’ boy” networking.

Here is some of what I expect to change under this boards’ tenure:

PET PROJECTS:  Forget about it.  There is no money for this unless you raise it personally.  Otherwise, you balance your checkbook like I do and when you don’t have the money for foolish things, you don’t put it on credit or make other portions of the household account suffer for it.  Just say NO!

REDISTRICTING:  Go back the way it was.  This was all garbage to begin with.  Time to ruck-up and stop being influenced/bullied.

SCHOOL BUDGET:  Get a grip.  IMPORTANT ISSUE!!!!  Time to get serious.  Let teachers pay for more of their benefits.  Get the illegals out of school.  Build taller schools on less ground.  Let those that HAVE kids in school be taxed more that those that don’t.  Cut 5% from the school budget for the next 5 years and then live with it.  Schools need more money?  Try bake sales, sponsorships, benefactors,  and let all the liberals that think the till is bottomless pony-up all that extra cash they feel EVERYONE ELSE should be contributing.  If I would be listened to and heeded for my recommendations, I would rip that school budget a new asshole but no one listens to me anyway.  Plenty of areas for cost savings/cuttings and you have new board members who are adept with the school machinations.  Let’s see what they propose.

REZONING AND BUILDING:  Hello?  Sterling Park (as it was known) was the first suburban community developed for the expansion of Loudoun County.  That “shining star” moniker was very short lived; soon to become the “bastard child of the east”.  We are built out.  We don’t want or need anymore density.  It’s time to make all districts carry a fair share percentage of building in the county.  There are ‘umteen houses yet to be built by developers.  Here’s an idea.  Before anymore DEVELOPER permits are given to new construction, old permits must be fulfilled until less than 500 new units remain.  Term developer permits so that they expire (with their current terms) if not built.  Make the developer (who pass it on to the new homeowners) pay for all roads, schools and infrastructure so that WE DON’T HAVE TO!  But first and foremost, before anyone does anything, sell the freakin’ existing houses on the market!  We need people occupying what is existing before we need to expand even more.  That will boost equity and money in the coiffeurs for the county.  We need to have Sterling as viable as Ashburn or Cascades or Hillsboro.  Am I going to fast for you?

STOP THE ENVIRONMENTAL CRAP:  Moderate and sensible efforts towards clean water and air are always welcome.  DO NOT commit to hostage taking of the citizens!  Don’t play dumb.  You know what I am talking about.

BUSINESS:  It’s okay to bring business here UNLESS they don’t pay their way.  Tired of the “freebies” businesses get off the back of tax paying residents.  If we look nice, smell nice and act nice, business will come on its own.  Maybe we should address what it takes to KEEP some businesses here.  Talk with one of your board members who says he is “all about that” and that it is his forte.  Personally I think he is blowing smoke from being full of all that hot air.

That should be some things to keep your plate full for awhile.  You people arrange the priorities the way you see fit, just as long as they are in the order of lowering assessments, lowering taxes, cutting back school expenditures and living within our means.  Liberals lost so that means it’s time to cinch your belts.  Most of all I will be paying attention and will tend to hold you accountable.  The Main-Stream-Media will no longer be pointed at Mr. Delgaudio as Loudoun’s problem (which, to me, was NEVER the case).  I will have it pointed at the slackers if that is what it takes.  Playtime is over.  Now crack those books!