Guest Post by “Outraged In Fairfax”
I’m one of hundreds of concerned parents who not only disagree with the irrational vote for closure (of Clifton Elementary School) carried out on July 8th this year by the Fairfax County School Board(FCSB), but who also disagree with the boundary study that Fairfax County Public Schools and the FCSB are trying to implement. The vote came at the end of approximately a year of analysis produced by the South Western Regional Planning Committee after which they presented in its final report a total of four recommendations. Half of the recommendations included renovating Clifton Elementary. Quite a surprising blow was dealt to this community when after a lengthy time and $1.3 million dollars the SB decided to close the school based on “facts” which had been carefully, diligently and intelligently taken of the table as insurmountable issues by the CES parent community. Nonetheless, the School Board spearheaded by the Springfield District representative proceeded to completely overlook the intense and in-depth analysis done by very involved and informed Clifton Community members.
(If you would like detailed information, please visit friendsofcommunityschools.org)
We are extremely grateful to our community papers who consistently have been publishing our letters and our concerns. But this is not enough. We need all the parents of children attending any of the 23 schools included in the Southwestern Boundary Study to realize what is really happening. The part that needs to be made well known is the following:
Clifton, Fairfax Station, Union Mill parents who find the impact of a capricious and arbitrary vote (to close Clifton Elementary) unacceptable are fueled by the might not of money but rather of conviction, values and information. Fighting back comes on the wings of commitment, involvement and serious objectives to have a say on how and where we educate our kids. After all, isn’t education a service rendered to residents by the local government and paid for by taxpayer money?
Support also comes from a very damning cluster of e-mails obtained through the Freedom of Information Act that quite clearly reveal an un-ethical collusion between School Board Member Bradsher (representing Springfield) and members of an improvement committee from West Springfield HS. The information obtained clearly points out how Bradsher encouraged another school to advocate for the closure of Clifton Elementary and guided them on how to get propelled to the head of the renovation queue in lieu of Clifton. Support comes from the need to point out Bradsher’s hypocrisy in falsely repeating in front of an audience she just castigated, that she cares more about their children then the parents do! Determination comes from observing a hypocritical Bradsher adjudicate the desire of Clifton parents to hold the reins of their children’s education to a base desire to bully with money and not see one’s own behavior bullying a smaller segment of constituents by “playing” a larger one for political gain. To community parents’ misfortune, they find themselves at the very top of the organizational structure of Fairfax County’s government yet they have absolutely no recourse to intervene and recall a SB member, no recourse to reverse a faulty, unethical and reprehensible vote other than suffrage. The issue with waiting until we can vote her out allows her to continue to wreak havoc and escape accountability.
Bradsher now spearheads a Boundary Study that may impact (unnecessarily) approximately 18,000 children in 23 schools, a study that ultimately does NOT solve the issue of overcrowding where it’s occurring and generates more questions than answers, a study that will cost taxpayers considerably more than a partial renovation for which CES was already in queue, a study that demands a new boundary change within the next 2 years and promises to play musical chairs with your children!
So, forgive us Fairfax Residents if we impose on you with our public defense of this cause, we are only defending what is right and what any resident can claim ownership to as an intrinsic part of the taxpayer base of our county, the right to ownership of our schools and the choice of smaller more efficient community schools to educate our children! Let it not escape you that FCPS places claim on the largest portion of Fairfax County tax revenue ..53.5%. Shouldn’t we expect accountability? Shouldn’t we have a say in this matter? Forgive us for not simply rolling over. STOP THE BOUNDARY STUDY! And a message for Ms. Bradsher, “should there be any thread of respect for the people that voted you in, you should be offering your resignation after you reverse your ludicrous and un-ethical vote.”
Got Trust in the School Board? DON’T think so! Stop the Boundary Study, audit FCPS and hold your School Board member accountable for the quality, costs and proper operation of your educational system!
The opinions expressed here are solely the views of the author, and not representative of the position of any organization, political party, doughnut shop, knitting guild, or waste recycling facility, but may be correctly attributed to the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy. If anything in the above article has offended you, please click here to receive an immediate apology.