Although sandy beaches and sun bathing might be on the minds of most during summer, the Loudoun County School Board has begun setting up next year’s budget schedule.
As their own form of sunscreen, planning out this far in advance serves as protection from scheduling hiccups entering into next year.
Even with veteran members like Tom Reed (At-large), each year is a learning process.
“This is my fourth term, but I am still learning and committed to improving educational opportunities for our students,” Reed stated. “Concerning Board expectations and the budget process; to quote Thumper from the movie ‘Bambi,’ ‘If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothin’ at all.’”
Newcomer Jeff Morse (Dulles) said he learned that each board member brought unique skills he felt were valuable in the board’s deliberations. He also learned that the general public doesn’t always have the insight of what the School Board is doing and that needs to be better communicated.
“The budget process must start earlier … like the year before,” Morse said. “We can’t afford to receive the Superintendent’s recommendation in January. I envy the Supervisors….trying to handle all of the issues facing LCPS, without an aide, is very challenging for those of us who work full time.”
Morse also added that he has a great appreciation for Chairman Eric Hornberger (Ashburn) and his work through the first part of their first session.
“It’s hard to take criticism when you disagree … but being polite and professional is the best way to get your point across,” Morse said. “Surprising your fellow board members is never a good idea. You can’t work as a team if the trust isn’t there.”
Also a freshman on the board, Hornberger felt his first time on the dais was something he expected. Serving as a parent and community activist, Hornberger believes his experience gave him more of an understanding. Noting the budget process as a difficult one, Hornberger felt there was a steep learning curve for the board members, but the end product came out relatively good.
“I think it was a good compromise, different steps we were able to do. It ended up faring fairly well … I think we’re learning to work well together,” he said. “And I think we are growing in our respect for one another and our perspectives. I think it’s going pretty well. It’s a lot of work, that’s for sure. But, it’s good to make a positive difference.”
The superintendent’s proposed fiscal 2014 operating budget will be presented to the board Dec. 6. Public hearings will be held Dec. 13 followed by work sessions Dec. 11 and Jan. 3 and Jan. 8, 2013. The board is set to adopt the operating budget Jan. 8, 2013.
CIP and CAPP
The superintendent’s recommended 2014-2018 Capital Improvement Program (CIP) and Capital Asset Preservation Program (CAPP) is set to be presented Nov. 13. The proposed combined public hearings and work session will be held Nov. 19 and Nov. 26. The School Board is set to adopt the CIP and CAPP budgets on Dec. 11.
Another item placed on the School Board’s agenda after their summer break is setting attendance zones for two elementary schools set to open in fall 2013. The unnamed ES-16 and Discovery Elementary School will have a series of public meetings starting in October through December. Changes are set to be made to existing elementary school attendance zones that surround the new schools. A final decision on the zones will be made by the School Board Dec. 11.
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