It's a marathon, not a sprint, and the first leg is almost over. Not quite yet of course. You still have time to let the School Board know what you think they should do. Here's the rub: you won't know that you don't want them to cut something they are thinking of cutting until they happen -- and that won't be until it's over. The process is public though, and all the work sessions and budget discussions are online and the questions and answers the School Board has asked are online too (albeit a bit hard to find - some are here and some here some here.
It seems the School Board is set to increase teacher salaries and revise the salary scale to better position Loudoun for the future. They have talked about the positive feedback they've received from the community on this issue.
The technology initiative seems to have little support beyond improving infrastructure and providing teachers with devices or a reimbursement towards purchasing their own device. One of the questions from School Board member Debbie Rose:
68. What would be the budgetary impact across the departments if the school board does not approve the 1-1 initiative? It is my understanding that staff and resources have been requested to support this initiative. (Rose/Jan 19, 2014)
The questions also provide some clarity to the proposed LCPS budget. Some of the increase in staffing is an attempt to lower class sizes at the elementary level, which wasn't spelled out clearly at first. This sounds like it has support from the School Board as well.
One area of concern to middle school parents may be this question from School Board member Bill Fox:
97. What would the cost savings be if all the deans at each MS were eliminated and an additional Assistant Principal was added instead? What are the advantages or disadvantages of this? (Fox/Jan 22, 2014)
Finally, School Board member Brenda Sheridan sounds like she is planning to propose expanding full-day kindergarten to five more schools with high populations of at-risk students.
83. Provide a list of those schools who are next for Title I or full-day Kindergarten and the cost needed to provide it? Do these schools have the room to provide it? (Sheridan/Jan 22, 2014)
The School Board adopts their budget request on Tuesday, February 4, so contact your representatives now to let them know your final thoughts. Then be prepared for the quick turnaround to the Board of Supervisors to convince them to provide the funding needed for the proposed budget! The County Administrator will be presenting his first draft on Wednesday, February 5 to the Board of Supervisors at 4pm.