Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Two Meetings

(These are my personal views and not the official statement or records of the Board. They are not minutes but my personal summary of some of the highlights from the meeting.)

This week the School Board held two meetings – a joint, closed meeting Monday night with the City Council on the GM/MEH project, and a budget work session and meeting on Tuesday night.

Tuesday’s meeting focused on the Budget and Mt. Daniel.  The bulk of the meeting concerned the budget, with the main items of discussion including
-          Gifted and talented education and resources, particularly the resourcing at TJ
-          Teacher pay, the degree of pay gap with Arlington, and what the goal should be
-          Resourcing for other specialty areas, including special education and non-native English speakers
-          Prioritization of requests, including ranking the items to be added or removed from the budget, should the budget be increased or decreased

No decisions are being made yet – just questions asked.  One very interesting document to review is the FCCPS planning factors, which show how the administration plans to allocate teachers and support based on student populations.  I’d welcome input on these.  The document is here:$file/FY17%20BudgetPlanningFactors.pdf

In other news, the Board directed the administration to proceed with the current “2232” process to seek approval of the Mt. Daniel construction project from the Fairfax County Planning Commission.  The suggestion had been made by Fairfax County officials that Falls Church apply for a “Special Exception,” which is the process used for private schools and other private exceptions to normal zoning.  A special exception allows Fairfax County to place restrictive conditions on the use of a site, which in my personal view would be unworkable for Mt. Daniel.  Undertaking that process would also cause further delay.

Finally on Tuesday, the Board signed a proclamation declaring Feb. 1-5 as School Counseling week.  Congratulations, counselors!

In the joint meeting with the City Council on Monday, I suggested that the Board limit the length of the closed session to a time certain, such as an hour.  That suggestion was not taken up.  The School Board then voted 6-1 to go into closed session – I voted “no” not because I think a closed session is improper, but because there was no limit on the length of the closed session.  The closed session then lasted for about three hours.

That’s it for now.  Please let me know if you have any questions or comments!

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