Wednesday, June 15, 2016

An Ending and a Beginning

Last night the School Board voted 4-2 to end the current process to build a high school and develop some of the land at the current high school site, the "Campus Redevelopment Project." It was a difficult discussion - George Mason High School is too small and very old, and in my opinion everyone on the Board and FCCPS want to fix that as quickly as we can. Thank you to all the people who wrote or spoke to the Board, and to my fellow Board members and school staff, who put in long hours working to support our kids.

rI voted with the majority to end the current "PPEA" process, but the vote is no cause for celebration. As a presentation earlier in the meeting made clear, GMHS's age is showing, and maintenance expenses will continue to increase and repairs will grow less effective. The longer we wait, the more we will pay.

We also need an inclusive process that brings our community together to plan not whether we make our school facilities adequate - we have to do that - but how we can do that in the best and most affordable way. We will need the participation of the City Council, the general government, the school administration, the Planning Commission, parents and citizens, and (yes - I know this costs money) some expert assistance. I think we need to address elementary school facilities as a part of the same process, given the uncertain status of the Mt. Daniel project.

We should make haste slowly. This will involve a lot of work, and we need to start as soon as possible.

(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.)

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