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By Greg L | 10 December 2009 | Prince William County | 11 Comments

This has got to be the front-running nominee for the most obtuse and incomprehensible sentence ever published in a newspaper:

The amendment would do away with a requirement that adding trailers on existing school property to bypass a “public facility review” by the Planning Commission.

Some of us might actually want to understand how decisions are made about putting classroom trailers on school property, but after reading this article, I feel I know less than I did before.  In terms of conveying meaning, it ranks right up there with my favorite compiler error message of all time “Error: self-relative inter-segment fixups not allowed,” although that actually had better grammatical construction.

As far as I can tell after reading this article no less than six times is that the School Board can do whatever the hell they want to in the future with trailers. The entire article, if I’ve managed to accurately divine any meaning from it, can be more clearly summarized as follows:


Gee, maybe I have a future as Susan Sivhilik’s replacement as editor of the Manassas News & Messenger.  Wouldn’t that drive a few people nuts…

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  1. Anonymous said on 10 Dec 2009 at 3:39 pm:
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    “the School Board can do whatever the hell they want to in the future with trailers”

    Exactly, add to that parking lots, cell towers, light poles, etc. The BOCS agains shows its yellow belly when it comes to dealing with the schools and their profligate ways. I just wish one BOCS member had the stones to suggest doing away with the “agreement” and actually scrutinizing the school budget. They are the ones charged with the public trust when it comes to public moneys, shouldn’t they be checking a little more closely into how better than 50% of the county’s budget is spent or is simply writing a check and trusting the school board sufficient.

    Speaking of budgets and spending, check out


    for some curious spending of public funds.

  2. Big Dog said on 10 Dec 2009 at 5:10 pm:
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    Don’t forget the school board is an elective body -
    just like the BOCS. Why don’t you folks bring
    up questionable spending and practices with
    school board candidates? If citizens wanted the BOCS
    to have a really tight rein on the school budget , they
    should have kept appointed school boards.

  3. Anonymous said on 10 Dec 2009 at 6:03 pm:
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    I don’t know where the editors of that rag ever graduated, but I’ll bet it was with an ESOL degree. Half the time they publish stuff that makes no sense, and the rest of the time they drive by the story so fast you have no idea what the heck is going on.

    I’ve seen better school newspapers.

  4. me said on 10 Dec 2009 at 7:10 pm:
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    Big Dog,

    If the BOCS wants a tighter rein on SB they could always drop the revenue sharing agreement by a percent or two and watch them cry ….then then School Board might actually have to figure out how to work with a tight budget

  5. anon said on 10 Dec 2009 at 9:11 pm:
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    I think the biggest reason that “sentence” is incomprehensible is that it is not even a sentence; it’s a fragment. And yes, it is incomprehensible.

  6. Charles said on 10 Dec 2009 at 11:25 pm:
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    The amendment would do away with a requirement that the Planning Commission conduct a “public facility review” before trailers can be added on school property.

    The online version was updated.

    The issue was pretty uncomplicated. Previously, the process of making changes on school property included a “public facility review”, which was controlled by the planning commision, which reports through the BOCS.

    Under the new rules, the school board will follow it’s own procedures in approving items on school property. I presume the actual building of a school would still go through planning, but in any case once the school is built the BOCS is no longer involved.

    The argument against this is clear — it takes away the opportunity for the BOCS to stop the school board from doing something the BOCS doesn’t like.

    The argument for is also clear — the school board is elected and therefore has the same mandate from the people to make these decisions, and the money comes from the school budget, so the BOCS input is superflous.

    And to be honest, having the trailers reviewed was very revealing, but mostly the BOCS ended up approving whatever the school board asked for, just with a lot of extra time and effort.

    I do agree with Wally that there are other things covered by this rule that we might come to regret, things that really impact the neighborhood, unlike the trailers which are more an impact on the children that go to the school (which again means it is more a question for the school board).

    When the school board decides to put up lights on a ball field, the children will benefit, the school benefits, but it’s the neighbors (not represented by the school board) who are hurt. Still, the neighbors get to vote for the school board regularly, so they CAN show up at school board meetings, and they CAN vote the board out.

  7. Harry said on 11 Dec 2009 at 12:51 pm:
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    Keep in mind the Rs control your school board, this is the same board that built and equiped the new Kelly school administration building on Rt 234, the cost of building and equiping was enough money to eliminate EVERY classroom trailer in Prince William County…but Lattin and the boobs had better ideas, particularly keeping a commitment to the administration to build the Kelly building as an enticement for Walts to come as well as the hoard he brought with him from Greece NY.

  8. Ayn Rand IS Right! said on 11 Dec 2009 at 2:03 pm:
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    While we are qisions of questioning the editorial decisions of the News & Messenger, I found this article interesting: http://www2.insidenova.com/isn/news/local/article/water_quality_cost_factors_in_re-opening_lake/48488/

    It not so much for what was written, but rather, who was doing the writing. Kathryn Gotthart wrote the article. In fairness, it seemed pretty balanced, showing both sides, and I could not detect an obvious bias toward one side or the other. However, knowing what I know about Ms. Gotthart, I know she is very close to Elenna Schlossberg-Kunkle, who is a charter member of the PWC Conservation Alliance. Mrs. S-K does have an obvious bias.

    So, either Ms. Gotthart is trying to move up from local commuity reporter to “serious journalist” and is trying to play it straight, or, her editor did a fair job of editing. I am leaning towards the former, seeing as her earlier biased public writings were so Over-the-top, it contributed to her being rejected as a Wally Covington political appointee.

  9. Mom22 said on 11 Dec 2009 at 3:25 pm:
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    If you want change on the school board and live in Neabsco District, you can do something. Julie Lucas just resigned her position and her replacement will be named by the school board in short order. That replacement will serve the remainder of Julie’s term, which ends in 2011.

    If you want to end the back rooms deals that have become common place in Prince William Schools, if you want to have a say and to end the politics as usual on the school board and you live in Neabsco, maybe you ought to throw your hat into the ring.

  10. Julie Lucas said on 11 Dec 2009 at 10:59 pm:
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    Mom 22, please know and let you readers on your blog know that whoever replaces me via appointment will only have the seat until November (election day 2010) when they then must win in a special election to keep the seat then run again in 2011. I know this seems odd, but we had our attorney verify what the process would be. I want to help anyone who is interested to know the process.

  11. Kevin C said on 13 Dec 2009 at 4:55 pm:
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    Anonymous said. “The BOCS agains shows its yellow belly…”

    I’ve often looked at John Jenkins and wondered, HOW in the world does he stand so tall WITHOUT a BACKBONE?

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