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School Board Corruption In Fairfax County

By Greg L | 28 November 2010 | Fairfax County | 15 Comments

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.

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  1. Anonymous said on 28 Nov 2010 at 9:17 pm:
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    Makes you wonder what developer has their sights set on the CES property.

  2. Loudoun Insider said on 28 Nov 2010 at 11:08 pm:
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    This sounds like the inept and worthless Loudoun School Board at work! Unfortunately these School Board races always get lost in the shuffle being up at the same time as supervisors, constitutional officers, and general assembly seats. People really need to start paying more attention to these positions since they control so much of the county budgets. We also need strong viable anti-establishment candidates. Get working!

  3. Bruce Bennett FFx said on 29 Nov 2010 at 10:14 am:
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    Speaking of possible corruption and Loudoun County… see


    To Wit:
    “Convicted felon’s campaign donations raise questions”

  4. Disgusted said on 29 Nov 2010 at 6:39 pm:
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    Would the people in Clifton have the same passion if the school being closed was in Hybla Valley? Most of the time the closing of a school in tough economic times in favor of consolidation is praised as prudent fiscal management…apparently not if it is in their neighborhood.

  5. Loudoun Insider said on 29 Nov 2010 at 11:52 pm:
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    Bruce, I had been writing about that for about two years, the mainstream press finally picked up on it. It’s truly disgusting, and oh yeah, we have plenty of corruption and sleazy BS going down in Loudoun County..

  6. LykLastSamurai said on 30 Nov 2010 at 12:38 am:
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    To Disgusted
    You don’t get it. If the Hybla Valley community went thru a $1.3 million study and had no insurmountable issues, and still got shut against the will of its proper OWNERS (the community taxpayers using this service) then it should raise hell. Consolidation is an effective measure when you’re trying to solve overcrowding in shorter/overlapping radiuses or you’re socially engineering the suburbs. Clifton & broader Clifton schools ARE NOT OVERCROWDED. Those of us who care about our children’s education to be effective and successful know smaller, community schools yield better academic performance and accountability at all levels (administrative & academic). To PRESERVE, PROTECT & RENOVATE is definitely more cost effective and “green”.

  7. Bob Bruhns said on 30 Nov 2010 at 3:02 am:
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    I received this by e-mail from Friends of Community Schools ( www.friendsofcommunityschools.org ):

    “A Fairfax Circuit Court hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, December 1, 2010 in the School Board lawsuit over action by the Board in the closure of Clifton Elementary.”

    And from Save Clifton Elementary ( www.savecliftonelementary.org :

    “December 1, 2010: 9am Court Hearing

    Please attend this very important proceeding and fill the courtroom with a visible reminder of the support that stakeholders are not mere numbers, but are children, families, business owners, residents and taxpayers who - indeed - are aggrieved. For students, there could be no more important field trip they will ever take than to observe a proceeding which may have great implications for students throughout Fairfax County, particularly in the Southwestern County Boundary Study.

    The address for the Fairfax County Circuit Court is 4110 Chain Bridge Road, Fairfax, VA 22030; park in the pay public garage. The hearing will likely be in a courtroom on the 5th floor. You’ll want to give yourself 15 to 20 minutes for parking, walking up to the courthouse and checking through security. Cameras and camera phones are not allowed in the courthouse. Save yourself some time at the security checkpoint and leave it in the car.”

  8. Junes_reston said on 30 Nov 2010 at 9:36 am:
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    LykLastSamurai said on 30 Nov 2010 at 12:38 am: Flag comment

    Those of us who care about our children’s education to be effective and successful know smaller, community schools yield better academic performance and accountability at all levels (administrative & academic).

    Unfortunately, FCPS is very clear that parents do not have any control as to where their children will be educated - only that they will be educated within the FCPS system.

    Real Estate Agents promote homes based on location and proximity to good schools, metro and shopping. In truth, you can buy a home in a community with one of the best schools in the county with no guarantee your children will attend that school.

    HOWEVER … higher income communities seems to have a better success rate whenit comes to keeping their schools in their communities - and often preventing in-bussing even when they have the lowest student to teacher ratio.

  9. No Holmes Cell Tower said on 30 Nov 2010 at 1:51 pm:
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    There’s another controversy brewing: Fairfax County Public Schools agreement with Milestone Communications for fast-tracked cell tower monopoles at FCPS properties.

    These monopoles are being pushed through without community input.

    After grease money of $25,000 to a school, the school will receive 19 cents per student per month for lease fees.

    These RF emissions from monopoles negatively impact property values by as much as -20% and can cause health issues for surrounding homes and the children and teachers who spend 8-10 hours a day at the school.

    Where is the school board on this? They have washed their hands, voting not to have any say in the placement of monopoles.

    You can read about the issues at
    Info: http://www.noholmestower.org/

  10. Harry said on 1 Dec 2010 at 8:14 am:
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    It’s no different in PWC. A weak kneed and spineless school “bored” continuously defers to Suckerintendent Walts on everything from compensation to scholl renovation and construction. If the funds spent on construction and equiping the new administration Taj Mahal had been used appropriately, EVERY third world trailer used to house students could have been eliminated.

  11. Mr. Anon said on 1 Dec 2010 at 9:43 am:
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    No Holmes, please provide evidence of a valid study that proves a negative heath impact from the monopoles.

  12. Disgusted said on 1 Dec 2010 at 8:05 pm:
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    To LykLastSamurai: I DO get it. It’s okay to consolidate when its NOT YOUR SCHOOL. Your school is antiquated and requires way too much special attention (millions of dollars) to be brought to code. And for a minimal amount of students (as compared to the entire Fairfax County student population.) And even then its probably NOT going to have the infrastructure a newer school will provide. Plus, there isn’t a lot of poor neighborhoods feeding into Clifton Elementary…not as many as the alternative school I bet. And don’t say that doesn’t play into it because I’ve been there myself and it has entered my mind. I’ve participated in school boundary committees and seen some go to war to keep less desirable neighborhoods out of their school (Re: Kettle Run High School and the neighborhood war on Linton Hall Road that took place last year in PWC.) Nobody is happy when these things take place. Suck it up…or buy the building and start a private school.

  13. Bob Bruhns said on 1 Dec 2010 at 10:24 pm:
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    The legal language is confusing, but Judge Smith is quoted as saying that “Closing Clifton is very likely wrong for the Clifton community,” and “there are many good reasons not to close Clifton.”

    If I understand correctly, Judge Smith has declared that the decision by Fairfax County Public Schools can not be found arbitrary or capricious, but that the complainants have standing to take further legal action.

    From Friends of Community Schools, this press release:


    FCPS blocks case in Circuit Court; Parents contemplate VA Supreme Court Appeal
    Judge grants parents right to sue, states closing Clifton “very likely wrong”

    Fairfax County, VA – December 1, 2010 – In Fairfax County Circuit Court today, the Honorable Judge Dennis J. Smith heard closing comments from the attorneys in the lawsuit against the Fairfax County School Board in their closure of Clifton Elementary. Oral arguments were made by the parties on November 22nd after which additional information in supplemental briefs was presented to the Judge.

    Noting that the Clifton plaintiffs were aggrieved, Judge Smith decried the School Board’s argument that Clifton parents aren’t negatively affected by the decision. Judge Smith granted their right to sue by stating that the plaintiffs do have standing after reviewing for a second time the video of the June 28th Public Hearing and the July 8th vote. “Closing Clifton is very likely wrong for the Clifton community,” said Judge Smith; “there are many good reasons not to close Clifton.”

    However, Judge Smith said that policy decisions like the one to close the school are “political in nature”. Such decisions, he said, need only one reason from the School Board to be deemed not arbitrary and capricious. Therefore, since review of even one reason would amount to acting as a ‘super-School Board’, he upheld the motion by FCPS attorneys to prevent the case from moving forward in Circuit Court. The question of notice by the School Board for its vote was similarly decided.

    In rendering his decision from the bench, Judge Smith ruled on the motion – ‘demurrer’ - filed by FCPS attorneys to prevent the case from moving forward in Circuit Court. The motion claimed that the parents did not have standing to sue and were not aggrieved. The demurrer motion further stated that the decision by the School Board was not ‘arbitrary and capricious’ and that the notice for the vote was not deficient.
    Today’s ruling effectively undoes a previous Circuit Court ruling on another controversial school closure – Graham Road Elementary – by the FCPS School Board. The Graham Road action also led to a lawsuit against the School Board, but did not go forward when that judge ruled parents did not have standing.

    “Though we hoped for a fully favorable decision on the motion by the School Board to prevent the case from moving forward, Judge Smith is commended for his in-depth review of the oral testimonies by the Public”, said Elizabeth Schultz, an Executive Board member of the Friends of Community Schools, a non-profit organization actively engaged with helping preserve the community school.

    “The School Board changed its plan for Clifton Elementary within hours of the end of the Public Hearing - the Judge reviewed the public testimonies longer than the School Board,” said Schultz.

    An appeal will likely bring additional information to light, including Freedom of Information Act communications by the School Board submitted by Fairfax County residents. “The FOIA responses”, said Benjamin Chew, Patton Boggs’ lead counsel for the plaintiffs, “amount to just some of the additional information which support the arbitrary and capricious argument as part of the administrative record not considered in today’s decision.”

    The seriousness of the implications for the 17,500+ students in the current Southwestern County boundary study are under contemplation in considering appeal to the Virginia Supreme Court.


    For more information contact:
    Kim Farrell, Communications Director, Friends of Community Schools
    Email: farrell27@msn.com www.friendsofcommunityschools.org www.savecliftonelementary.org

  14. Joseph Heinzinger said on 5 Dec 2010 at 11:54 am:
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    In order to modernise the school, a sprinkler system would have to be installed. OK, but the school is served by well water. The cost to provide a well system capable of supplying a sprinkler system in very cost prohibitive. Maybe if the local residents who are good republicans who like no tax increases what so ever would agree to a surcharge on there property to uphold there assesments to fund the cost of a sprinkler system were proposed, maybe the outcome would be different to the parents in there opposition to the closeing of the school. If you want your own private Idaho then pay for it yourself PERIOD.

  15. Anonymous said on 26 Jan 2011 at 10:13 am:
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    Just in looking at the Great Schools ratings I can’t help but notice that the school has an 89% white population and only 2% free and reduced school lunch percentage. It makes one wonder if the residents are fighting so hard because they enjoy that and would like to maintain that elitist standard.

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