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Julie Lucas Steps Down

By Greg L | 3 December 2009 | Prince William County | 7 Comments

In order to deal with some family issues that often take her out of the area, Neabsco School Board member Julie Lucas announced she will resign her seat, according to the News & Messenger.  This is a huge blow to the board and the citizens of Prince William County, as Julie has been among the very best best on the board and a strongly rising star in the county’s political arena.  It will also inevitable set off a mad scramble to fill her seat, which has drawn some of the nuttiest challengers ever seen in Prince William County elections.  Not only are we losing a strong voice on the school board for fiscal discipline and accountability and a strong potential candidate for higher elected office, but setting the stage for what might be an incredibly dissapointing circus.

This seat has been targeted in the past by such leftist nutcases as Manes Pierre, who ran for the board despite being barred by the police from entering school property, and Belkacem Hacene-Djaballah, a radical left-winger with ties to Mexicans Without Borders.  The Neabsco district also saw such curious candidates such as Aracely Panameno, an activist for illegal aliens with close ties to Tenants and Workers United, who ran as a write-in candidate against Supervisor John Jenkins.  There’s something about this District that brings out some truly bizarre candidates to challenge strong incumbents in utterly hopeless campaigns, and no doubt when the process starts to select a replacement for Julie Lucas, some real fruitcakes will emerge from the woodwork to amuse us.  Hopefully among those contenders will be someone who isn’t certifiably insane.

Perhaps even more saddening about this development is that we’re losing someone who could be a real political contender for state-level office in the near future.  Julie has regularly racked up huge electoral victories in her district, is well known and well liked in the county, and would be a top-tier candidate to take on Senator Toddy Puller.  After redistricting, the opportunities for someone like Julie — who has a strong record of appealing to Democrats as well as Republicans while not selling out on her conservative principles — are tremendous.  She’s well known outside of the county, is a proven fundraiser, and has the experience of going through a very tough primary fight for a seat in the House of Delegates in 2007.  That’s a pretty rare set of qualifications.

Let’s hope Julie is successful in dealing with the challenges her family is faced with and comes back soon.  We need her.

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  1. Ayn Rand IS Right! said on 3 Dec 2009 at 8:06 pm:
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    Yes, let us hope so. I had hope to see her run for State Senate, or perhaps something in the RPV leadership. Let us hope that our loss, and Florida’s gain is only temporary

  2. AWCheney said on 4 Dec 2009 at 5:25 am:
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    Julie has been fighting the good fight ever since she got her initial appointment to the school board when the Neabsco seat became vacant, and she subsequently won the seat in a Magisterial District which Republicans had been writing off for decades as unwinnable. It just took the right person with the right strategy, work ethic, and a strong, comfortable pair of shoes.

    Since then, she has shown herself not only to be an outstanding campaigner, but an outstanding administrator in her position as School Board Representative from Neabsco District. She would have also been an outstanding legislator, given the opportunity and a fair fight. It really is a shame that we’re losing her…and perhaps Florida’s gain, although I hope she will decide to return when she is able. We’ll be here for you Julie!

  3. O. P. Ditch said on 4 Dec 2009 at 9:11 am:
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    I”m hoping and praying that your family situation will improve so you can come back to Virginia as soon as possible. You are doing the right thing, as I would expect you would - family comes first. Keep your political powder dry.

  4. Paul said on 7 Dec 2009 at 6:35 pm:
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    I’m not sure I would classify anyone on our school board as fiscally responsible. My son is a first year student in PWC public schools. I’m a little surprised at the extravagence.

    Most of the unexplainable expense that I’ve seen so far is for computers. They’re everywhere in our schools. Why? Do they make for a better education?

    Seemingly not, as county SAT scores have remained relatively constant with a slight downward trend ever since 1973. With all the changes since that time, the explosion of population, and the technification of every classroom, those scores have remained stable, constant and trending lower. The average score on the original two sections of the test is 22 points lower now than 35 years ago. I was floored to see that.

    How much have we spent on smartboards, computers, software, IT technicians to keep all that stuff working, and an entire staff headed by an associate superintendent to guide us into an even deeper computer obsession? I have no idea.

    I’ve actually read the budget for next year, and the computer hardware and software alone is probably a couple million (those expenditure lines are distributed throughout the budget). A couple million dollars, in a budget that describes itself as one constructed in the most fiscally challenging year. The answer was to delay a lot of planned tech expenditures until future years.

    In other words, next year we’re spending a couple million dollars and it could have been a lot more, and will be a lot more in the future, because of all the refreshes that will be put off. But don’t let those couple million dollars and the offset additional millions kid you - that’s not all of it. All this stuff requires salaried people to maintain it.

    The budget says we have roughly a tech maintenance person per 1,000 students. That’s 76 of them. And if they only make $40,000 a year, that still comes to over $3 million every year. And then there’s the highly paid staff, headed by an associate superintendent for technology. I’ll bet the non-teaching tech salaries come close to $5 million a year, every year.

  5. Julie Lucas said on 7 Dec 2009 at 10:41 pm:
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    Greg, you are very kind to say what you did about me. Thank you. Paul, the “tech person” per 1000 students is a state mandated requirement by the SOQ’s. There are many, many things we have mandated to us by the state and federal government, but yet most are way under funded or not funded at all. I’m not sure where you live in the county, but if you have any school related budget or other questions please do not hesitate to email me: jlucas@pwcs.edu or your elected school board member. Any of us would be happy to help or answer any questions you may have.

  6. Paul said on 8 Dec 2009 at 6:41 pm:
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    Thanks Julie! I’m in the Occoquan district, but in a couple weeks of trading e-mails with my board member and the associate superintendent for technology, I didn’t get as much clear information as you gave me in a single blog paragraph.

    I will say this - I don’t think my school board member was eager to help me. He started by telling me the implementation of all this technology was guided by research. When I asked to see that research, he said there wasn’t any. Then the associate superintendent told me there really was some, but since I had mentioned other studies that claimed some of the research promoting computer use in the classroom was funded by those selling the computers and software, and were skewed, he said he wouldn’t show me his research.

    I’m not kidding, and have the e-mails in my in-box. I’ve also forwarded them to my supervisor.

    I’ll say this for both the school board member and this associate superintendent - both are approachable, and polite. There’s no personal beef here. Just an amazement at what I’m seeing at my child’s school, and a growing suspicion we’ve stumbled into a lot of expenses without any cost-benefit analysis. But now you’ve told me a lot of that is mandated by outside governments.

  7. Lake Ridge said on 9 Dec 2009 at 8:45 pm:
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    Also those state-mandated “tech people” are fully funded by the state.

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