Local Commentary

Editorial: Why We’ve Supported F.C. Schools So Much

Over the years, reasonable folks have asked why it seems every year the News-Press takes the side of the School System in its tangles with the City Council to get the funding it feels it needs to sustain what is now almost universally recognized as one of the premiere school systems in America.

We’ve followed closely the struggles of the schools virtually every year since our founding in 1991, and have always been persuaded that the funding requests the schools have forwarded to the City and its taxpayers have been reasonable and important. Of course, in most of the cases since then, almost a quarter-century by now, the schools prevailed to get most of what they asked for and, voila, the cumulative result is what we have now, a first rate system that is recognized as such.

So, with between about 100 to 200 students graduating from the system every year, over two dozen years that’s a big impact on a lot of students, most of whom went on to college and more, and have been making their important contributions to our society ever since. The whole process is making the world a better place, and we can feel that happening. Few students coming through the Falls Church system wind up as bigoted and hateful, the vast majority are enlightened and compassionate.

So, this is the first reason we can give for supporting the schools as consistently as we have over the years: it serves to make the world a better place.

The second is perhaps the most narrow and pragmatic reason, from the standpoint of the City of Falls Church. That has to do with the “value added” a quality school system brings to the tax base of the City, as City properties command higher prices as a result of the schools, and therefore, more tax dollars can be derived from an equivalent property compared to the City’s neighbors. We are always reminding our readers about this, that there is what many real estate agents agree is a 10 to 15 percent “value added” on homes in the City due to the schools’ reputation.

Then there is the third reason, which we’ve always been keenly aware of though we don’t always talk about it. This is the factor that speaks to the “soul” of the City, and of its residents. We feel that it makes for better people, and therefore a better community, to be persuaded to be considerate of the needs of others, especially of the young and others that cannot take care of themselves, and therefore be willing to reach a little deeper into their pockets to pay for good schools and services.

So, more than any other single thing, we take pride for our role in helping to evoke the “higher angels of our natures,” as President Lincoln put it, against impulses to be grumpy and stingy, to make Falls Church a wonderful place to live and raise the next generation.