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Myers’ School Board Run Focuses On Increased Funding

© Leesburg Today - 08/25/2015

Ryan Myers says he's launching his second bid for the Loudoun County School Board with a renewed focus and experience as the dad of an elementary- and middle-schooler under his belt.

In 2007, when he had two kids under the age of 4, Myers challenged then-School Board member Joseph Guzman. Now, his son and daughter are students in the school system he hopes to help lead.

""I don't think I could have been School Board member I can be now,"" he said. ""I've since learned a lot.""

Myers wants to leverage what he's learned in election challenge against first-term School Board member Debbie Rose in the Algonkian District.

The 48-year-old comes from a family of educators-his parents and his grandparents were teachers-and he was an adjunct professor at Howard University. He said he's seen the power of public education and ""there's more successes than failures,"" but there's plenty of room for improvements in Loudoun's school system.

The quality of instruction has taken a hit in the past several years as the per-pupil funding level has decreased, he said. ""We cut the budget too much. There's a difference between being on a diet because you're over weight and starvation.""

As a certified financial planner, Myers said he knows firsthand that quality schools drive up property values. So, he added, it's worth it to pay slightly higher taxes to ensure Loudoun students are receiving a stellar education.

He said he's not advocating a jump from the current $1.135 real estate tax rate to $1.75. But supports a property tax that is a few cents higher to help renovate aging schools, curb roll backs in bus service and implement full-day kindergarten countywide. He also wants to see classes sizes lowered, larger pay raises for teachers and more of a focus on improving the test scores of students from low-income households.

""Nobody wants to pay any more taxes than they have to … but if you invest in the schools you will reap the biggest rewards,"" he said.

It's the county Board of Supervisors that decides the tax rate and how much the school system receives each year, but Myers said he foresees he'll have a good working relationship with either Supervisor Suzanne Volpe (R-Algonkian), who's running for re-election, or her challenger Democrat Andrew Resnick.

""I don't see me having a problem working with either of them-I've known both for a very long time,"" he said. ""Unless there is something that's unforeseen, we will have the money to be able to make our schools successful. We just have to be committed to it.""

Myers and his wife, Regina, have lived in Loudoun County for 10 years. Their 11-year-old daughter attends Seneca Ridge Middle School and their 8-year-old son attends Lowes Island Elementary School.

Learn more at http://www.electryanmyers.org.

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