Saslaw: Fairfax Will Decide on Charter School

At last Saturday’s state legislative town hall meeting at the Sleepy Hollow Elementary School, parents of students at Falls Church High School (FCHS) who’ve organized themselves into a group called “Uproar” were told by State Sen. Dick Saslaw that under current law, the decision on sanctioning a charter school remains in the hands of localities and that changing that would require a change in the state constitution.

On the other hand, State Del. Kaye Kory, a former member of the Fairfax County School Board, was not so sure, noting that the Republican-controlled state legislature “is passing a lot of unconstitutional stuff these days.” But Saslaw was emphatic that the current consideration by the State Board of Education of the proposed Fairfax Leadership Academy charter school is only advisory and that a decision to permit the school will be in the hands of the Fairfax School Board and ultimately the Board of Supervisors in what will be “a very public process.” The parents at the meeting also peppered Kory and Mason District School Board member Sandy Evans on why badly-needed renovations of FCHS are still being put off. Kory said she’d fought hard when on the school board for improvements at FCHS, a claim confirmed by Evans, but that she lacked support from her Providence District counterpart to get much done. Now, however, both School Board members representing the interests of FCHS are eager to push ahead, Evans noted, hopeful that beginning later this spring some changes to begin expediting the process can occur.

The Fairfax School Board is expected to approve a $2.4 billion budget tonight that will include removing athletic fees. The new school board has already moved to add new mid-level classes and address discipline issues since being sworn in last month, Evans said.