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    UPDATE: School Board reconciles budget

    The Loudoun County School Board continued painstakingly crunching numbers late into the night April 22 in an attempt to make up a $38 million funding shortfall ultimately agreeing on a reconciled budget just after midnight.

    Just 24 hours earlier, the board was faced with a record number of speakers – 181 – who pleaded with them to keep four western Loudoun schools open.

    The community's effort was rewarded Tuesday when School Board members removed Aldie, Hillsboro, Hamilton and Lincoln elementary schools off of the budget cut list.

    Additionally, after hearing public comments on several occasions, the School Board also removed the following from its cut list: family life teachers, bus service to Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology and freshman sports.

    Upon approving the budget, there was a more than $300,000 gap still remaining, but the School Board was comfortable leaving the remaining amount to senior staff to finish balancing.

    “I know staff has been very helpful with answering questions and trying to figure our way out of this situation. It is not easy. There is a lot of things up here,” Chairman Eric Hornberger (Ashburn) said. “Almost everything up here is going to affect somebody pretty significantly. We were able to move forward on some things, but it comes as a great cost. But I think this is generally the right direction to go.”

    The removal of the four schools, which has been a controversial topic over the last several weeks, was the first item removed from the cut list.

    Jennifer Bergel (Catoctin) was the first to speak on removing the schools from the list. Bergel had also motioned to have the four schools lumped back together earlier in the evening.

    “I am so thankful and proud of our local community in Loudoun because they did what needed to be done,” Bergel said. “The four schools worked together and showed their community spirit.”

    While a majority of the School Board members approved the motion, many of them noted that there is a trade off and noted the apparent divide between eastern and western Loudoun.

    Jeff Morse (Dulles) who voted to save the schools, mentioned the divide in his remarks, expressing frustration with the 'us against them' mentality between the two sides.

    “The east vs. west [divide], we like to pretend isn't really there, but it really is there,” Morse said. “I would like the people from the west to take a look at the bond referendum for schools on the last ballot. Compare the numbers for western Loudoun in support of building schools. Those schools are in my district and were badly needed, but a lot of your precincts were less than 50 percent of the vote. In other words if it had been left up to you we wouldn't have schools in eastern Loudoun.

    “We have 1,200 kids in a 850 capacity school, but western Loudoun didn't want a new school,” Morse added. “You ought to be pretty happy that isn't my criteria for closing the schools. Because I would. I am so angry and frustrated with this diverse perspective among the community.”

    The Family Life Education Teachers were also taken off the cut list Tuesday.

    Many of the School Board members remarked how great it was to hear from some of the FLE teachers and learn how important they are to the children's development.

    Debbie Rose (Algonkian) mentioned how good the teachers are at addressing sensitive subjects with their respective students.

    “You quickly understand they are really good about talking to kids about sensitive subjects and they have built a repertoire with the kids that is clear,” Rose said. “My kids were really cognizant about the program and my daughter was so nervous that there might be a boy teacher that teaches her this stuff. You immediately realize that this is really critical information and it needs to be delivered in a very special way.

    “The fact [these teachers] are trained so well to do that and be there as a resource as the kids get older is really wonderful,” Rose said.

    Final Cut List
    Note: Jobs represent full time positions

    Eliminate the one-to-one expansion - $616,000
    Increase Teaching load of HS department chairs - $840,000 - 11.2 jobs
    Increase teaching load of MS SALTs - $900,000 - 12 jobs
    Eliminate Visitor Management System - $400,000
    Eliminate reimbursement for teacher devices - $1,500,000
    Deans Hornberger Framework - $1,434,500 - 19 jobs
    Admin Intern Hornberger Framework - $335,250 - 4.5 jobs
    Eliminate elementary foreign language immersion program - $137,000 - 3 jobs
    Reduce K-12 Insight - $180,000
    Eliminate Summer School (excluding revenue and ESY) - $1,255,000 - Replace SS revenue with $50 increase to Athletic fees revenue
    Eliminate facilities usage master plan - $600,000
    GIS Transportation position (new position) - $67,200 - 1 job
    Psychologist (new position) - $86,450 - 1 job
    Ed Diagnostician (new position) - $86,450 - 1 job
    Social Worker (new position) - $91,850 - 1 job
    Substance Abuse Prevention Specialist (new position) - $81,700 - 1 job
    Speech Pathologist (new position) - $83,100 - 1 job
    Transition Specialist (new position) - $112,200 - 1 job
    Occupational Therapist (new position) - $83,100 - 1 job
    Public Information Secretary (new position) - $67,200 - 1 job
    Reduce Legal fees in the Superintendent's Office - $30,000
    Reduce Web developer (new position) - $78,550 - 1 job
    Remove Gifted Education Specialist (new position) - $112,200 - 1 job
    Eliminate the FLES and SAMS program - $2,461,800 - 33 jobs
    Eliminate high school after school activity buses - $81,000
    Library Assts Hornberger Framework - $142,800 - 4 jobs
    Eliminate full-day Kindergarten expansion - $895,854 - 14 jobs
    Technology Assistants Hornberger Framework - $999,600 - 28 jobs
    Eliminate all new bus driver positions (new positions) - $587,700 - 18 jobs
    Accounting Specialist - Facilities (new position) - $78,700 - 1 job
    Environmental Specialist (new position) - $63,800 - 1 job
    Civil Engineering Coordinator (new position) - $118,600) - 1 job
    Telecommunication Analyst (new position) - $78,800 - 1 job
    Resource Nurse (new position) - $64,600 - 1 job
    Eliminate math facilitator positions - $596,800 - 8 jobs
    Eliminate high school deans - $149,200 - 2 jobs
    Consolidate Kindergarten Office with Elementary Education Office - $97,300 - 0.5 job
    Eliminate Retirement and Disability Specialist (new position) - $67,800 - 1 job
    30 rep buses, 25 large SE buses and 11 small SE buses - fill with computers - $7,073,600
    Change the long term substitute rate $154 - $1,500,000
    Delay salary schedule implementation til Nov 1 - $5,720,000
    Eliminate ELL Assts and Add ELL Teachers - $2,386,000 - 93.6 jobs
    Remove online courses - $352,000
    Staff Development - $1,078,058
    AV Technician (new position) $40,500 - 1 job
    Computer Technician (new position) - $136,250 - 2 jobs
    Network Specialist (new position) - $67,200 - 1 job
    Technical Writer (new position) - $74,600 - 1 job
    Systems Specialist (new position) - $67,200 - 1 job
    Systems Engineer (new position) - $78,550 - 1 job
    Software Engineer (new position) - $78,500 - 1 job
    AP for Rock Ridge HS (new position) - $130,000 - 1 job
    Planning Architectural and Engineering - $300,000
    Support Services automated door operator - $209,000
    Maintenance Workers (new positions) - $114,900 - 2 jobs
    Vehicles for maintenance worker reduction (2 4X4 vehicles) - $70,000
    3 Dump Trucks - $435,000
    2 Utility Body Service Trucks with Plow - $100,000
    Pupil Services O&M - $63,300
    DTS O&M - $340,000
    High School Education O&M - $200,000
    Music O&M - $50,000
    Technology Resource - $50,000
    Eliminate Secretary l-Pupil Services - $51,300 - 1 job
    Staffing Changes to Hillsboro - $122,290 - 2.5 jobs
    Reduce 208 day secretaries to 198 days - $144,000
    Remainder of SOF Vehicles - $700,000


    Comments

    Just because you don’t understand something doesn’t make it wrong.

    @more cowbell: “Why would LCPS need to buy 3 dump trucks($435K)? Are they expanding into landscaping/hauling/building? Are they offering a class on how to drive a dump truck? How does 3 dump trucks have anything to do with teaching students?”

    I wondered the same thing recently. Digging through some of the publicly available documents on the LCPS or LC web sites revealed that those dump trucks are one example of cost sharing between the county and schools. LCPS evidently manages trash collection at all Loudoun County government buildings. That makes sense considering that trash collection from the schools alone would have trucks traveling throughout the county.

    My guess is: they need dump trucks to collect trash and move it to the landfill.

    I don’t recall offhand what LCPS gets in return for that, and I’m certainly in no position to conduct a cost-benefit analysis. Nor do I know whether outsourcing that trash collection is feasible or cost effective. I did see lots of evidence that the LCSB looked into the costs of outsourcing other maintenance activities last summer, so I would have expected them to consider that if they hadn’t before.


    Just because you don’t understand something doesn’t make it wrong.

    @more cowbell: “Why would LCPS need to buy 3 dump trucks($435K)? Are they expanding into landscaping/hauling/building? Are they offering a class on how to drive a dump truck? How does 3 dump trucks have anything to do with teaching students?”

    I wondered the same thing recently. Digging through some of the publicly available documents on the LCPS or LC web sites revealed that those dump trucks are one example of cost sharing between the county and schools. LCPS evidently manages trash collection at all Loudoun County government buildings. That makes sense considering that trash collection from the schools alone would have trucks traveling throughout the county.

    My guess is: they need dump trucks to collect trash and move it to the landfill.

    I don’t recall offhand what LCPS gets in return for that, and I’m certainly in no position to conduct a cost-benefit analysis. Nor do I know whether outsourcing that trash collection is feasible or cost effective. I did see lots of evidence that the LCSB looked into the costs of outsourcing other maintenance activities last summer, so I would have expected them to consider that if they hadn’t before.


    Not sure what kind of expensive enrichment EdMyers is talking about, but the ultimate responsibility for a child’s success in school falls on the shoulders of the parent and the student, period. Not the school, not the taxpayers, not the Board of Supervisors, not the school board. And it doesn’t take money to insure that success, either. Just good old fashioned parenting consisting of interest, involvement, care, guidance, and occasionally some old school whip cracking. Too many parents today - themselves a product of an entitled culture - abdicate their role as parent and expect others to take responsibility for what their children will become. They are the ones failing their kids. It would be great if we all had unlimited resources but that isn’t reality so stop sniveling and step up to the plate and make sure your children succeed.


    @50YearsInLoudoun It’s simple, to the informed populace - Loudoun Schools do not currently provide the advanced STEM education, either through “Honors” or “Gifted” programs, in the public schools K-12 that meet the demand and necessity of educating our students (all our students) for world-class competition, maintaining the strength of our country on a world stage. So we outsource it. Until our investments and commitment catch up.  It’s not a choice for these students, their parents and our County population - it’s an obligation.


    more cowbell describes one viewpoint: children’s success is measured by how much money the parents put into their child’s education and society as a whole has little or no responsibility for children’s education. That means that the rich kids get a good education and poor kids get a bad one. I know as a parent I have to supplement my child’s public education with direct educational expenses that match or exceed what the public school spends and I still have to save for college too. Taxpayers get a good deal in Loudoun because they show off the great test scores pretending that Loudoun has cost-efficient schools without acknowledging that those scores are because the parents foot the bill for enrichment outside the classroom. And when parents can’t foot the bill, people like cowbell blame them for underperforming schools. Parents feel underappreciated, BOS! Thanks for throwing us under the fiscal bus.


    Why would LCPS need to buy 3 dump trucks($435K)? Are they expanding into landscaping/hauling/building? Are they offering a class on how to drive a dump truck? How does 3 dump trucks have anything to do with teaching students? Dr Hatrick and School Board fail the kids and taxpayers when asking for items like this that aren’t needed. Another reason why teachers and others don’t get better raises, why others are laid off or why HS athletes have to pay an additional $50/sport….


    I still find it amazing that we pay a ridiculous amount (I believe it was something like $389,000) to bus 200 kids to TJ. I’m not sure if my numbers are right, but I hope they’re not. Loudoun schools are great. If someone is not happy with the education they are getting in Loudoun, let that person foot the bill to get their kid to another school.


    @Dollarbillphil, If those schools in the east are failing it’s because of their parents, not the teachers or any political party or western Loudoun. Very few parents volunteer or show up to support their schools(witness first hand when I attend games). I work a full time job, own several businesses, do charity work on the side, volunteer at the HS and show up at sporting events/plays and various other events(like graduation night). And both my kids graduated and are in college. I do it to support the school.


    Once again HS parents are made to pay more with the increase in Athletic sports(and parking fees). Why not just add a fee to all those that want to talk during the circus, I mean school board meetings, say $10 to speak. Did anyone really think this School Board would shut down those small schools. What a joke. They did like any politician does to get their way, mention major cuts knowing people will complain even though they would never be cut or closed….
    Gee, can’t wait for 2016 school Budget, it’s only going to get worse….


    Good job School Board you did not even needs hoods for that one.

    You are comparing the LC School Board to the Ku Klux Klan, Dollarbillphil? That is awfully low blow and I’m a little surprised that the comment met the standards of taste and decorum from the LTM comment monitors.

    I have two kids enrolled in Eastern Loudoun Schools, yet I’m glad that the West got to keep their small schools. They trade off an awful lot of amenities for those small schools, and I don’t begrudge them for keeping those schools.

    I’m not sure how you made the Tea Party connection. I have friends who were active to save Lincoln and Aldie schools, and they are the most left-leaning, crunchy-granola,folk-music-loving folks you could imagine.

    As the late Tip O’Neill said, “All politics is local,” and for those folks whose schools were affected, it wasn’t a matter of left or right.

    Finally, Dollarbillphil, you wrote that “These Loudoun County schools are failing a certain group of minority students who are clustered in eastern Loudoun.” Exactly to whom are you referring? If you’re going to imply something, just say it.

    At least in the two Eastern Loudoun schools my children attend, they seem to bend over backwards to accomodate minority students with special programs and attention. I’m curious exactly whom you think is getting the short end of the stick and why?


    I wondered how long it would take for someone from the eastern part of the county to play the race card….


    I wondered how long it would take the eastern folks to play the omnipresent race card.


    Saw this on another site, but not on the list above. If it’s not on the list it SHOULD be.

    - remove JV coaching stipends when team is not fielded ($613,000)

    I personally have seen this and complained to school administrators & school board members for over over 6years. One year alone I added up $18k for coaches with no teams. Just imagine what might have been saved with proper management of our tax dollars.


    If those schools were services predominately black or Hispanic kids, they would have been cut without a second thought.  These Loudoun County schools are failing a certain group of minority students who are clustered in eastern Loudoun, but, their parents tax dollars are diverted to the tea party supporters in Western Loudoun Good job School Board you did not even needs hoods for that one.


    So things that benefit many - HS after achool buses & summer school - were eliminated so things that benefit a few select folks - small schools & buses to TJ - could remain.  Makes perfect sense…not!

    I certainly hope that the ridiculously high parking pass fee is going to be reduced since there will no longer be late buses at the high school.


    rdj - Chris N. & Delgaudio don’t get fle - it’s icky

    869 -  on “whining is still whining” you are broken record. Pls secede to basement or TX


    Basically the richest county in America (or mostly the Board of Supervisors) are shooting for average schools.

    That is what we hang out hats on?  Average schools?

    I’m sure all of the Board’s kids go to private school anyway.

    Scott York- such a religious and giving man allegedly, but he wants our kids to get an education cheaper, with bigger classes, and with less resources.

    Way to keep our kids advantages for college going!!!

    Scott York= pawn of developers and radical county GOP


    Correction: freshman sports was not cut.

    “Maintained both Assistant Athletic Director positions and Freshman Sports but increased athletic fees by $50 to $150 to partially offset restoration of these two athletic budget items” per Chmn. Hornberger.


    What about the 93 ELL assistants that have lost their jobs??


    Feel really free to depart with undo haste. You offer no solutions just more of the same blather you do on the LT site. Educated whining is still whining and you have made it into a art form


    @Chris N: No, the gym teachers and the parents are not good enough. If you heard the presentations by both those FLE teachers and parents of many of the kids they have helped, you would understand that Loudoun’s FLE program is unusual and highly effective, not only in reducing teen pregnancies in Loudoun low and keeping them that way but also in addressing issues like cutting (self-mutiliation) and abuse that neither parents nor gym teachers could touch. There is really a lot more to it than you might think.


    A good summary of the final cut list is here: http://www.sosloudoun.org/2014/04/final-cut-list.html


    rdj - The LCSB only played the “Emotion” card.  Where are the proposed cuts to the over-inflated school Administration?


    What this article does not make clear is that the only way the LCSB was able to avoid closing schools; failing to reduce elementary class sizes for 3,000 students; doing away with a superb FLE program; and other educational priorities was to defer the (universally supported) correction to the teachers’ pay scale for an ADDITIONAL month, once again placing our BOS’ irresponsible and unresponsive action on the shoulders of those teachers.

    And look at what remains in the final “cut” list:

    • Eliminate replacements for aging busses and doing away with activity busses, which are what allow many students to participate in extracurricular activities;
    • Eliminate summer school, which is the only way some students will be able to graduate this year;
    • Eliminate math facilitators, which is the wrong direction for anyone who supports emphasis on STEM in K-12 academics;
    • Halt all technology initiatives and technology support improvements (in a county through which 1/3 of the entire planet’s Internet traffic flows?!);
    • Increase teaching load of department chairs in the high schools when decreasing class size is a universally supported priority;
    • Halt updates of visitor management systems and therefore compromise the safety of children in school buildings;
    • Increase student fees so that parents can spend that $30 property tax savings on a fee increase of $50-per-sport-per-student;
    • Eliminate technology support positions;
    • Eliminate freshman sports

    ...and other things. The cuts to Operation & Maintenance (O&M) above enrollment increase (3%) + inflation (1%) were, according to staff at last night’s hearing, not significant enough to warrant a motion. Yes, they included a few O&M cuts that Supv. Turgeon found by scouring the budget, but the lion’s share of those cuts came from deferring equipment maintenance and replacement costs – things that can be put off but NOT eliminated.

    The LCSB did propose incendiary cuts that were likely intended to light fires under several groups of LCPS parents, but those people turned out and voiced their passions, and most significantly, the LCSB listened – really listened – to those people, something that the BOS boasted about choosing not to do. The LCSB demonstrated honest representation. The BOS demonstrated arrogance and “political games”, not of chicken but of brute force. You may believe that’s okay, but it’s not the society in which I choose to live.


    They could have saved $1.4 million+ by eliminating special teachers for Family Life Education and they didn’t? That’s nearly 3/4 of what it took to save all four small schools. What, the gym teachers and especially the parents aren’t good enough?

    For a complete list of cut the Board did make, go to: http://www.sosloudoun.org/2014/04/final-cut-list.html?m=1 (I know that, for whatever reason, the LTM normally cuts links from the comments section. But I hope you make an exception here, as folks deserve to know exactly what programs and positions did not survive the chopping block.)


    So…what was cut?


    Okay, I missed it. Maybe it is there, but I missed it. We started with a $38 million shortfall. It is now a $300,000 shortfall. We kept the four small schools. We kept freshman sports. We kept bus service to TJ. We kept FLE teachers. What got cut to reduce the shortfall from $38 million to $300,000. Perhaps it is in another article but I don’t see it here.

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