Tuesday, October 20, 2015

SPEAC, Mt. Daniel, and George Mason

This evening’s School Board meeting was shorter than many, but had its share important topics.

First was the ongoing and escalating set of concerns regarding the Special Education Advisory Committee (SPEAC).  If you have been reading the news, you know that this committee had a meeting on Monday evening, Oct. 19, which did not go well.  One of the attendees of that committee meeting spoke at the School Board meeting tonight, and expressed her concerns both about the operation of the committee, and what appear to her to be attempts to discredit her.  John Lawrence also spoke about the committee meeting, and noted some problems with it, particularly including that a non-binding motion (I assume that the chair should resign) was ruled out of order when it should not have been.  I also assume these concerns were discussed more in the roughly hour-long closed session, but the Board didn’t take any further immediate action.

Of even more concern, Justin Castillo, the Board chair, said that after last week’s public form, a threatening comment was made to him personally.  He also noted that people are fearful and that extraordinary measures are being taken for security purposes.  He indicated that is not Falls Church, and I agree.  On this point, please see the FCNP Guest Commentary last week: http://fcnp.com/2015/10/15/guest-commentary-f-c-citizens-should-think-beyond-election-day/

On Mt. Daniel, Dr. Jones said the staff was still working in preparation for the upcoming Fairfax County Planning Commission hearing, and didn’t say much more.

With regard to the GM/MEH expansion project, the Board had nothing but good things to say about the community forum on the Schools of the Future this last Saturday.  I agree it was another good session.  I and others had commented that a similar session would be very useful for the teachers, even though some teachers were present on Saturday.  Dr. Jones said she has already done a lot of outreach to the community and the staff already, and that staff is working to pull that together.

Last, I’ll give an attaboy to the School Board.  Given community concerns about closed sessions, the Board changed its agenda on the fly to move the closed session to the end of the meeting so as to better allow the public to participate.  More progress.

Let me know if you have any questions or comments.

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