ACTION ALERT: Contact your Supervisors by 5pm TODAY

If you've already called, emailed, spoken at a meeting, THANK YOU.
Now, whether you have or not, call or email them NOW. In fact, do it by 5pm.

To reach your supervisors office, call 703-777-0204. Everyone's supervisor is Scott York plus the representative for your district.

For your emails, cc: loudounbudget@loudoun.gov so that everyone involved will also get it.

The Board of Supervisors will be meeting tonight at 6:30pm and is expected to take straw votes on the funding for the schools budget. None of the supervisors have said that they will support full funding of the School Board's budget. Many of them have said they will not.

Last night, Chairman Scott York said that the Board of Supervisors ran as a team in the last election, and they ran with their priorities being: lowering taxes; improving transportation; and economic development. He said that they are accomplishing that along with increasing the funding to the schools each year. Vice-chairman Shawn Williams said that he is listening to his constituents, but can't support full funding. He is frustrated that you don't see this Board's commitment to education.

School Board Chairman Eric Hornberger recently addressed the Board of Supervisors so-called increases:

Supervisor Ken Reid said that he will not be able to attend the work session tonight, but would like to hear a motion to set the tax rate at $1.175, 3 cents lower than the current tax rate, in order to only cut the schools budget by $27 million instead of the current proposed $39 million cut.

Hornberger said at the joint work session between the School Board and the BoS that he felt that the schools could absorb a $10 million cut to their budget request, but that anything more than that is going to be cuts that Loudoun County citizens will not want to think about. Even the $10 million won't be easy, he said, or they would have done it already.

Let's close with a letter to the editor of the Loudoun Times-Mirror:
I am writing today to share my thoughts on the upcoming budget decisions the Board of Supervisors will be voting on this month. As a homeowner of a modest, middle class townhouse in Leesburg, I have followed the budget work sessions and public input sessions very carefully. I have also spoken at two of the recent monthly meetings where the upcoming budget deliberations were the obvious central focus of the citizens in attendance.

I have heard calls from members of the both the Board of Supervisors, as well as the School Board for anyone (and everyone) who feels the need to not fully fund the proposed school budget because of the increase in taxes it may require - to please come forward – we need to hear from you. And at the same time, there have been parallel calls for citizens to come forward and share their desire for a fully funded school budget – in spite of the modest tax increase it may require.

In following the public input sessions very carefully, I have tracked the live - in person speakers at public input sessions, and my calculations are that for every one speaker calling for tax cuts (or holding taxes at current levels) there were eight speakers imploring supervisors to fully fund the school system budget even though they were fully aware of the modest tax increases it may require – and often their remarks actually included a reference to their acceptance of possible higher rates. Eight to one (not four to one or two to one) was the ratio of public support for a fully funded budget and the modest tax increases. If anyone doubts that ratio, then I challenge them to review the transcripts of these meetings and count for themselves.

I have heard several supervisors refer to a need to “keep taxes low, so we can remain attractive to businesses that are thinking of locating here.” Those very people were welcome to come and speak and say just that “I own a business nearby Loudoun, I’m considering opening a store in Loudoun, but if the taxes don’t drop, I’ll look elsewhere.”Current business owners already in Loudoun were welcome to come and speak to the tax rates, and say “I own a business in Loudoun that has generated jobs and revenue for the community, and without lower taxes, I will seriously consider moving my business elsewhere.” None, not one comment was of this nature from any speakers at completely open public input sessions.

I am not, nor have I ever been concerned with the political party designation of my elected officials, there are both Republicans and Democrats that I have fully supported, and some others on both sides that I have consistently disagreed with. The one constant for elected officials I must have, is that they are a “listener” to the people of the community they serve. If after hearing in-person from over hundreds of people speak to supervisors at the last four meetings and two budget public input sessions overwhelmingly tell them face to face that they expect a quality of public education that a fully funded budget provides – and supervisors don’t fully fund that school budget – then they are just not listening to their citizens.

There has never been a more important time than right now, for our local elected officials to be less of a Democrat or a Republican, and be more of a listener.

Carl Mackey

It's not over until final budget adoption, expected to be April 2.

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