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    Leesburg Town Council fires at new school walk zones

    The new walk zones are continuing to be a thorn in the side of both parents and the Loudoun School Board and now the Leesburg Town Council is getting into the mix.

    At the Aug. 12 Leesburg Town Council work session, the group issued an appeal of the contentious walk zones after meeting with School Board member Thomas Reed (at-large) and Loudoun Board of Supervisors member Ken Reid (Leesburg). Reid sent a letter to the School Board last week opposing the walk zones.

    Set to begin this fall, the new walk zones were put in place after the School Board ordered a re-evaluation of the walk zones. School Board rules state that barring any safety issues, secondary students within one mile of their school and elementary school students within eight-tenths of a mile of their school must walk. In the spring, 3,741 parents were notified they would be losing bus service.

    At the Aug. 12 meeting, the town council composed a four-page letter to the School Board asking them to delay implementing the walk zones until the 2014-2015 school year. Reasons cited include student safety and increased traffic from parents driving children to school. The letter also charges that the School Board failed to coordinate and communicate with the town regarding the walk zones and did not give parents enough notice that the walk zones were being re-evaluated.

    “The Town should have been consulted by virtue of having 16 schools located within the town and having the responsibility for traffic design and safety on Town streets,” the letter reads. “Town staff was not provided information concerning the plan until after it was developed. It has only been through the appeal process discussion and walking the proposed routes that the town has gained a practical understanding of what may be happening.”

    With an extra year preparation, the town council argues it could better prepare and enhance safety for the students.

    But School Board members, including Debbie Rose (Algonkian), who hosted a town hall last week on the walk zones, state they're merely enforcing a policy that's been on the books for years.

    As of last week, the Department of Transportation had received 156 appeals. Of those appeals, 70 had been granted, 32 denied and the rest were pending. Parents whose appeals were denied may then appeal to the superintendent and if that appeal is also denied, to the School Board.

    Comments

    Eliminate school busing except for special needs children and save 40 million dollars a year from the school budget.


    I truly enjoy those who spout statistics.  Sooooooooooooo much fun.  So, thanks MyOwnSense for entertaining me.  Buuuuuuuuuuuut, how about this:  89.02% of those who agree with me, are 100% right.  Or, how about this.  If I disagree with 37.2%, I am still right.  Bottom line:  A budget was voted on by the Loudoun County School Board.  That budget included spending money on bus service.  THEN, the School Board changes everything on bus service.  YET, they still have a budget expenditure.  Sooooooooooo, where did the money go?  I want to know.  And I bet, so does every resident of Loudoun County. So, School Board, WHERE DID THE MONEY GO?


    I’d be happy to go throught the school budget with the school board and cut out waste…. They still pretty much give Hatrick a blank check and say we trust you. It’s all a game, ask for 100 million in hopes of getting 50 million, however LCPS can live with 25 million increase from previous year….


    I know of no single person who has a monopoly on paying taxes. If the premise that some wish to put forward is that we are all entitled to receive like-kind county services for every dollar we pay in taxes, I’m getting ripped-off. I am a life-long resident of this county. I’ve paid taxes here since I bought my first car in 1970 - back when there was no “personal property tax relief.” I’ve paid real property taxes since I bought my first home here in 1979. I paid about $1,385 in taxes on my current home and the land it sits on in 1985. Taxes on that same home and the land it sits on are over $9,000 this year. I, too, pay taxes. My wife and I were never able to have children so we have never received anything other than indirect benefits from the schools our taxes support, the majority of which go to schools (69.8% this year, according to the mailer I received from the Office of the Treasurer with my tax bill this year). My wife and I have also been fortunate to have never required fire/rescue service and we have never used the courts for anything other than routine real property transactions (that we paid for through settlement fees). The Sheriff responded once to a tripped security alarm about six years ago. 10.4% of our taxes go to support “Public Safety/Judicial Administration.” So, at least over 70% of our taxes go to support our neighbors and residents of this county and we get next to nothing in direct benefits for it. And we don’t demand or expect it. We may not be joyful taxpayers but we understand the greater benefits to our property value and standard of living that result from it. All of this and about $4.00 will buy a cup of foo-foo coffee at one of the local high-end coffee bars. It means nothing. If everyone had line-item veto power to direct how their taxes are spent, I’d be willing to bet that the schools would have to get by on far less than 69.8% of tax revenues. I’d venture that most people who have at least one child in the Loudoun County Public School system are already receiving far more in direct tax benefits from the schools than what their tax dollars support. The argument that they are paying for something they are not receiving is highly questionable. Remind me, what is the annual cost per student for an LCPS education? $11,595 seems to ring a bell. At 69.8%, a parent would have to be paying over $16,500 in county taxes to be contributing the full cost of educating just one child. I don’t think it is likely we have too many taxpayers footing that kind of tax burden. Unless you are, remind me again about what you are not getting that you are paying for?


    In part MyOwnSense got me to write one here.  Guess what, MyOwnSense.  I paid for bus service for school children.  I PAID TAXES!  So, why should the Town of Leesburg pay, when every resident in the Town of Leesburg already paid TAXES for services.  Maybe, one should actually ask, why a School Board would “claim” to be now fiscally prudent, take my tax money, and then cut out services!  Just how is my money being spent?  Look at the budget, right?  The budget got voted on, and THEN they School Board cut the services.  Soooooooooooo, where did the money go?  Maybe, each member of the School Board should donate their salary to bus service, since, apparently, its all for the children, after all.


    You’re assuming the 3741 notices actually made their way to the parents.. This school board could make smarter and better cuts. Everyday is see at least 5+ long yellow buses parked behind the high school for 1 student to get on. I wonder how much it cost to bus kids to TJ? Dominion Academy? There are 3 small schools that should have been shutdown years ago, still wasting money. It’s a shame our School Board doesn’t use common sense, instead they use their own ego sense.


    Is there any prohibition on LCPS receiving funding from a source other than the Loudoun County BoS to augment funds available for school bus transportation? If not, money talks. If the Leesburg Town Council has strong feelings about this then maybe they can write a check to the LCPS to restore the bus service they feel is essential. Unless they want to offer up an offset to the cost. Would it be foreign language instruction? Non-varsity sports? AP classes? None of it is appealing but if the budget is fixed, someone other than the BoS will have to provide the funding or LCPS will have to cut something else. Then, when someone else’s ox gets gored we’ll be reading more hyperbole on these pages about the blood that will be on someone else’s hands or the lawsuit that will be filed. You can never satisfy everyone and someone will always be “reeling” over the decision. I still say that when only 156 appeals are filed when 3,741 notices went out, meaning that over 95% of those who were noticed don’t have a big enough issue with it to take the trouble to find a way to appeal, then we have an indication that the LCPS decision was probably reasonable. Of course, couldn’t someone petition to get the issue put to a ballot and let the voters decide? Anyone want to hazard a guess as to how that would turn out?


    Holy moly, the shooting metaphor police are out.
    Cost per student is 4 dollars a day and that is based on 68,000 kids. Once you remove all the children that walk, ride bikes and are driven to school the cost goes up considerably. Parents need to be accountable for their children transportation not some government entitlement program. If 34,000 kids use other means to get to school that equates to 8 dollars a day per bus rider. Leesburg is the big complainer here maybe instead of complaining they should get to work cause school starts soon.


    I don’t see any differece between this school board and past ones. So students should walk to school if within a mile, however they just passed a new school boundary policy having kids living within a mile of closest schools being bused(ashburn farms section right across the street from Broad Run) off to further schools. How does that make sense? It doesn’t. And I failed to see any major cuts from Hatrick’s budget. How come small schools are still open? Why do we have so many chiefs? Some jobs should be outsourced or combined with Loudoun County govt. Planning group is worthless(DR Sam’s group). I’d like to see what are the savings by implementing this “on the books policy”.


    Many thanks to the current School Board for, once again, taking the appropriate actions that previous School Boards failed to do.  Glad to see someone fixing the problems the previous administrations left behind.


    “Fires”? Couldn’t you have avoided the shooting metaphor in this particular headline, LTM?


    You Know Debbie… Common sense has been around a lot longer then whatever is on the books…I can see a lawsuit in the near future, kid gets struck by car, LCPS sued. Also thought there was a policy on the books about shutting down small schools? And 54 appeals still pending with only a few weeks until School starts.

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