Dear Parent: As you know, the Fairfax County School budgets are extremely tight. If this continues, it can have a huge adverse effect on our schools. We need your help to tell our leaders that this can no longer continue. Please e-mail the letter below to the e-mail addresses provided. Feel free to tweak it and personalize it if you wish. And please forward this letter to all the other Fairfax County parents you know, so they can send it, too. [Note, the e-mail addresses are currently separated by commas – depending on your e-mail system, you may need to separate them by semi-colons instead]: --------------------------------------- To: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, Kathy.L.Smith@fcps.edu, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, Martina.Hone@fcps.edu, Kaye.Kory@fcps.edu, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org,email@example.com, Pam.Goddard@fcps.edu, Deborah.Wisoff@fairfaxcounty.gov, firstname.lastname@example.org, Kathy.Partlow@fcps.edu, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, [NOTE: This email list only covers the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and School Board (and their administrative clerks and assistants); it does not yet include any State officials. We still need to add e-mail addresses for the Governor’s office, Delegates, and other relevant State and Local officials that control the formula for school budget allocations] We are parents of students in Fairfax County Schools and we are disappointed in the amount of funding our schools have been receiving. The quality of our children’s education is at stake, and we need to increase the Fairfax County School budgets ASAP. The excellent quality of FCPS cannot be maintained without such additional funds. If our schools are less desirable, then our property values will decrease even further. We have already cut too much. Class sizes need to get smaller, not larger. We need to increase the number of specialists and ‘floaters’, such as Advanced Academic Learning Teachers, Librarians, Computer Teachers, Reading Specialists, etc. This will be critical to allow classroom teachers to work with smaller breakout groups from time to time and differentiate as needed. We need to pay to attract the highest quality teachers, and invest to train them well. We need to add personnel to organize volunteer programs, for example, to efficiently coordinate use of parent volunteers, and even student volunteers (such as older students helping teach younger ones). [Need to add hard data to support our rationale / our positions; examples of how it has been hard to attract new hires; # of resources lost (librarian, AART teacher, increases in class sizes, things we’ve wanted/needed but been able to get, how much the PTA has had to supply with private funds and volunteer work that should’ve come from State coffers, at the expense of other PTA enrichment; etc. ] We understand you must have a balanced budget, and that we can’t merely point out issues without suggesting practical solutions. We are therefore asking for the following specific actions: Reallocation of State Distributions: [Add language and data about better distribution of state funds; how are state funds disbursed and why is that inequitable; how has the downturn in the economy affected the myth of the wealthy Northern VA area; mix of gifted kids with ESOL kids argues for lower ratios in our county; etc] Increased Local Taxes to go Directly to Local Schools: We will support tax increases (e.g., higher property taxes, or in other forms), provided that such funds go directly to the Fairfax County Public Schools. [TBD: any other specific requests?] We’re willing to do our part, whether that means paying more taxes or being active in the community or otherwise. Please do your part and act now to increase the funding FCPS this coming year.
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