Letters to the Editor: February 26 – March 4, 2015
Support Our School Staff & Keep Them Here in F.C.
Alarm bells rang for me when I read one detail about some of the FY 2016 budget scenarios for our Falls Church City Public Schools: Certain versions of the budget would drop a previous four-year plan to bring our teachers’ salaries up to the levels of those offered in neighboring jurisdictions, specifically Arlington.
I believe even a four-year plan to phase in competitive pay for our teachers is not terrifically aggressive, and I would certainly hate to see even that plan slip.
Even the proposed schools budget I have seen – which does stick to the four-year plan – still assumes five full-time positions cut by attrition. This seems to me an unwise lack of investment in our schools. Our City is growing; families are voting with their feet by moving here, and are able to pay high prices to do so; I would hope we support our schools staff enough to keep them here and match our neighbors’ compensation.
F.C. School Officials ‘Cherry Picking’ Salary Statistics
It seems that school officials are still citing “cherry picked statistics” that best serve the school’s interests. I understand. However, for representatives to continue communicating with misleading data indicates their growing concern about the viability of the current school model.
In last week’s edition Ms. Kearney “noted the study showing that City general government employees are being paid comparably to their Fairfax and Arlington County counterparts, but our teachers are not.” The comparisons cited for city employees with other jurisdictions at a mid-level amount was accurate. However, the teachers of Fall Church’s mid-level salaries were compared with the high-levels of the other jurisdictions’ teachers. Hardly an accurate comparison! How can the citizens here believe anything put forth by school officials when they continue to “pad’ their data? Has integrity, reliable facts and working together been “banned” throughout all jurisdictions in this area? What percentage of city households actually have children in the schools? How do mid-level school salaries compare with the mid-level salaries of comparable districts? How much thought did school officials demonstrate concerning other city employees who were laid off due to the school’s generous portion of the budget several years ago? How many other “similar sized cities” in this area have a school system separate from the county’s? Should we acquiesce with a body that continues to put their desires before the city’s needs?
I state again, “The school is here because of the city” not the city exists because of the school!
Governor’s Square Sidewalks Not Cleared of Snow
Shame on you, Governor’s Square! With a few exceptions, your sidewalks have not been cleared of snow. Pedestrians are forced to walk in busy Great Falls and Little Falls Streets. This has been a recurring problem.
If individual residents don’t want to shovel snow, the association should hire a contractor to do the job. That’s the way the civilized world works.
Council’s Plans for Growth Expansion Are Premature
The City Council is considering huge residential building projects that will eventually bring the City a mere two to five million over the course of years, not per year. It seems there is no consideration that it costs approximately $12,000 to educate each child in our city. The Council is already resisting realistic budget requests for the city schools for this year. Schools will be at full capacity in the next three to four years, possibly sooner. So, why is there no discussion of the actual costs to the City for these big development projects?
Educating our children is just one area that needs to be considered. How about the transportation infrastructure; the additional administration functions for running a large growth spurt; and the green space in the City. What about activities for children, especially teens, which will undoubtedly be an important part of our community? I believe the Council plans for more growth expansions to be premature until the City takes a proactive approach on how to manage future expenses. It is absolutely critical the City develops realistic cost models based on actual costs of running the City down the line, not on some numbers developers provide to make the building projects seem like a deal for the City.
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