As a community we must invest in our teachers, paraprofessionals, and every other member that dedicates their lives to ensuring our children will become productive members of society. Teachers not getting a raise is not acceptable. Paraprofessionals, bus drivers, and other staff members not making a living wage is not acceptable. Employees receiving their first pay check a month after working is not acceptable!
The women and men working in our schools are helping to raise our children. Of course they are there to teach our children how to read, write and do math but they are teaching them so much more! Our school division is helping prepare our children to be adults. A month after starting Kindergarten I am hearing my son say things like "you filled my cup," which means you did something that made him feel good. He has come home asking questions about the hurricane survivors and is asking to take his money to help "other kids."
Our school division is an integral part of the village that it takes to raise a child. We must make sure they are taken care of.
The Board of Supervisors needs to increase the amount of money we are spending on each student. It is absolutely unacceptable that we are ranked so low in how much we spend per student and the Board of Supervisors can do something about it with or without the school board.
The Board of Supervisors needs to partner with our educators and work with county staff to ensure that they have what they need to prepare our children for tomorrow. Together the Board of Supervisors and Stafford's educators can change the way we fund our schools.
Those in North Stafford are no stranger to redistricting. Every year I have been on the board, some age group has gone through a redistricting. Parents are promised that the redistricting will "alleviate overcrowding" and that it will "not be permanent." Unfortunately, many of these redistricting exercises end with students living in the same neighborhood attending different schools.
Over the past several years, I have been very vocal and public on my position that the school board needs to conduct a county wide redistricting exercise. We need to take a year or so to truly understand the growth patterns we are seeing and build new schools that make sense. Furthermore, I have been vocal that the families in the Garrisonville District are not to blame for overcrowding in our schools. The brand new neighborhoods along Courthouse Road were rezoned in the 1980s, 1990s, and early 2000s and the children from those neighborhoods should have been taken into consideration.
Regardless, we need to start planning and saving to build new schools. We cannot push it off another decade - we must start planning for it now.