Sups Kick the School Board’s Ass

By Loudoun Insider

So, the School Board wanted a showdown, huh?  Well they wanted one and got it, losing 8-1 and strongly in the court of public opinion as the crummy Wheatland deal goes down in flames.  Here are the Leesburg Today and LTM stories.  Soon to be former School Board members DuPree, Bergel, Marshall, and Reed were on hand to witness the smackdown.  They were even derided by their former prime Wheatland backer on the BOS, Sally Kurtz, for having the gall to sign amended contracts after she told them there was virtually no support from the BOS to move forward.  Like I said, they wanted this smackdown for whatever reason.  It reeks of self flagellation.  They really should have their heads examined.


Comments

  • Justin Hart says:

    It really is amazing what small decisions over a decade ago can do to entire county. Bad, bad planning. Location is everything in this debate so I’ll disclose that I live in Belmont Greene adjacent to Stone Bridge. Our community has wisely chosen to not pick sides in this debate (albeit I side with the Ashburn Farm folks personally).

    Any which way you slice it – failure.

  • AFF says:

    Justin,

    Decade? Dude. The poor planning Loudoun County has engaged in goes back waaay longer than a decade, nor where most of the decisions “small”. Many of the land use battles in LC have had national implications.

    Besides. Considering the School Board was spending the dollars of Belmont Ridge residents just the same as western residents, I would question the wisdom of your community as wise if they did in fact, stay out of the debate.

    This was a great victory for Western Loudoun any way you cut it.

    Are you going to follow the threads you post (BO ice cream) or are you more of the mind of quantity over quality ?

    LI- thank you from the bottom of my heart for your contribution towards promoting better schools in Loudoun County

  • sally says:

    The School Board was there to answer questions. But did not have the contract there last night, and could not answer specific questions about the exact wording of the contract? Even the price, Dupree was not sure about the exact price, or date for extension? What was that all about?

    I have been mostly concerned with other issues, but I was offended by the answer about the older buildings. Mr. Dupree was asked I believe, whether the new contract would save the buildings, and it was a very vague answer, something like, I don’t have the contract here but it does provide for “best efforts” to “move” the buildings.

    The buildings are brick and stone..move them?

    And the follow up was, the buildings are important in that specific setting… no contract there, so no answer available to the question of could the buildings remain?

    Everyone knows that it is not feasible to move the buildings, so why try to fudge it…. the School Board wanted them demolished, but would not admit it and tried to “slide” by the BoS the reality of the demolition of those buildings..just ridiculous… but very telling.. and very sad that this is where we are, the School Board not only trying to deceive the public, but also the Board of Supervisors…

    No one is buying it anymore.

  • AFF says:

    I like it to be noted that the only Supervisor who ended up supporting this boondoggle was the orange hatted one. I enjoyed this outcome much more than I would have had the vote been 9-0

    Can we finally put the myth of Eugene Delgaudio’s fiscal conservativeness to rest?

  • It’s amazing that BOS votes can be bought for a measly $1000 six years ago, isn’t it? There’s no other rational explanation for a guy who says how fiscally conservative he is and never wants to spend a dime in western Loudoun. Disgusting.

  • Ready to Rumble says:

    Loudoun Insider – Well done, and congrats to all those who have helped to expose the ridiculous manner in which this contract was handled. You all have effectively further exposed what Priscilla Godfrey likes to refer to as a “disconnect.” Only the disconnect is between the information the school board and BoS receives from LCPS staffers and, well, reality.
    I feel that a PAC to remove school board members is necessary not because I think most members are corrupt, but because many don’t have the cajones to stand up to Hatrick as well as question the authenticity of LCPS land acquisition staffers’ information. I’m not quite sure, as of yet, whether these staffers have a total lack of integrity or if they are just simply inept. Either way, if they wasted the incredible amount of time and money in the corporate word that they have on horrible school sitings in Loudoun, they would have been fired a long time ago. As a matter of fact, an outside contractor in charge of such pitiful sitings would have been dropped like a bad habit. So my question is this: Why is Adamo and his staff still employed by the LCPS?

  • Ready to Rumble says:

    By the way, we could without Delgaudio too ;-)

  • Leej says:

    Adamo who has a phd is so caught up in the details he can’t see the forest thru the trees. And his presentation was so one sided it was pitiful.
    He poorly went through it, he was going through it without conviction.

    Hopefully the system will be fixed and better yet the SB knows next years budget is going to be for the people who pay taxes and the poor little kid campaign does not have a chance in hell, as before.

  • Leej says:

    Ready to Rumble perhaps Adamo is there because he is nothing more then a puppet for the SB.

    If they are smart they will get new blood there that is willing to disagree with the SB with conviction. Private sector works very well that way.

  • AFF says:

    I misspoke.

    “This was a great victory for Western Loudoun any way you cut it.”

    Wrong. I have fallen back into the divisive east vs west Babspeak. One of the many reasons Loudoun is a great place to live is the diversity of our population. Both sides of RT15 have unique offerings and contribute towards a more complete economy and a higher standard of living.

    Defeating the Wheatland schoolplex is a wonderful occurrence for all of Loudoun.

  • HFTB says:

    Thanks to Joseph Guzman for making a motion to terminate the contract in the last SB meeting and to Bob Ohneiser for seconding the motion. They have once again proven they want to serve the people and not special interest groups. We could use 7 more like them!

  • Ready to Rumble says:

    I still wish I knew why they were so hard up for Wheatlands. They were turned away on the Grubb acquisition, yet convinced the SB that it would be a good idea to buy another property in the same area for even more money? What the hell?
    Is the school board that easily manipulated that they can get spanked once then put themselves in a position for a second beatdown?
    Kudos to the SB members who smartened up, and the one that had his head on straight from the beginning.

  • Transition says:

    This is the third of these questionable land use deals pushed by the SB. Can we finally fix the process? The BOS should be making our land use decisions and not the SB. Each deal pushed secretly by LCPS and the SB involves flawed thinking and sleazy partnerships. We are ready for an RFP process for selecting school sites and we are ready for a single County office making land purchases. SB has abused the responsibility handed them, they’ve lost the trust of the tax payers and they are out of touch with our economic reality. Let’s stop screwing around with here. The process is broken and the citizens deserve to have this corrected.

  • Leej says:

    This SB may be book smart but in the real world of real estate you better be street smart, because the street smart people in the real estate business are making these book smart school board look like dummies. Real estate people are very street smart and they only work for themselves even when they pretend they are working for me or you or the SB or anyone. That is part of the problem. Real estate is not as professional as people think it is all about conning people to buy so they get their commission as fast as possible. And these land owners the good old boys for this last go around are sly as a fox and very very street smart. Thank god information can fly thru the air at the speed of light these days and people are out there like LI that brings it to light at a moments notice. That was just happening during the end of the last BOS. Correct information is true power. ;-) And I emphasize correct. LI is one of the few with correct information.

  • We all know the School Board and LCPS administration is never an outlet for the timely release of real factual information.

    I guess this isn’t truly over until they cancel the contract. I wonder if they have Bill Chapman working on a lawsuit against the Board of Supervisors for them – he has plenty of experience doing that for Cangiano.

    Will Cangiano try to sue over this? Can he hire Chapman on the side? Maybe Chapman can represent both parties against the BOS.

  • sally says:

    LI was very effective here, and not to diminish his effort, but I applaud Sarah Stinger, who fought many battles, but especially the FOIA battle to get the “correct” information. There would have been no fair “fight” without a copy of the contract (so we knew there was a way out, and it was not already done as they wanted us to believe), the original 2007 appraisal (totally bogus, done before even an application for prelim plat approval was submitted, and assumed finished lot values,) the damning Miller docs that showed disparate and unfair treatment of people with property who met the Plan, the pumping test docs–showing how little was really being done, etc.

    It is amazing to me that the School Board did not pay more attention to these details and then once exposed, how they just circled the wagons–which made them look like arrogant blockheads or corrupt. I know people really like Jennifer Bergel, but this whole episode wreeks of not being right…

    And then the presentation to the BoS last night, so many details smoothed over. Like Cangiano’s “cost,” explaining how the new “cost” was more than the appraisal noted his cost was—well, it included his taxes paid, attorneys fees, engineering fees (for the remaining land not to be transferred?) — all of his costs so far, with this land! Like we should be paying his experts gazillions of dollars for his subdivision of the remaining 400 acres, with less of his personal money at risk? Someday I’d like to sell my house and recoup all the taxes I have paid, all the costs of all my maintenance, repairs and improvements, all my interest paid, all my costs? in my dreams!

    Just another the manipulation of the “facts,” that they thought would fool–who? They deserve to have the land acquisition taken away from them, because they have proved they don’t care about wasting tax money, they don’t care about the comp plan, they don’t care about the public or public perception–conflicts, no problem, they simply don’t seem to give a damn…

    The benefit of this horrible episode is that it has revealed some truth to many–the truth about who these people are, and what needs to be done.

  • Sarah says:

    Sally,
    While I was waiting for a copy of the contracts I flagged during my FOIA response review, members of the public called Sarah Howard O’Brien who provided them a copy (or two) of both contracts – on the same day and without them needing to go through FOIA. I just want to clarify that point. FOIA did reveal much but Ms Howard O’Brien expeditiously provided the contracts to those who picked up the phone to ask.

    Don’t misunderstand, LCPS is far from forthcoming with information. They refuse to email FOIA responses documents. It is inconsistent because Mr. Byard will answer a question in an email but he won’t send a document electronically. Instead of emailing a *.pdf copy of a file, they insist on charging labor for compiling and photocopying hardcopies. They (and the public) could save so much time and money and paper by sending documents with read receipt option. I don’t understand why they refuse to adopt a more logical policy. I LOL when Paul Brown stated to the public on April 29 that electronic copies of documents were provided to citizens – perhaps the County staff do, but not their counterparts at LCPS. After several months and repeated requests, I was able to get a spreadsheet file of current enrollment but again the 156kB file had to be burned on a CD and mailed to me because it was “too large” to email.

    Their controlling attitudes elicit public scutiny.

  • sally says:

    Sarah,

    You are too modest. What you did was really great.

    I think posting your FOIA information on line pulled the curtain back for a lot of people. And it was an eye full for anyone who wanted to see the actual documents to determine what they thought was true, as opposed to what was being said or told to them…I think you did an awesome job, and it is a testament to your tenacity and strength to keep it up for so long.

    They know they can wear most people down, and win by making it too hard for you to get any answers, or too expensive. I think you did a terrific job, and hung in there. As a result, you have gained a lot of credibility and hopefully, they will be more apt to listen in the future, now that you have held their feet to the fire.

    The public owes you (and the others who participated in all of this) a huge debt, in my opinion.

  • mr pville says:

    actually the fourth of the bad land deals for the sb and bos – hs-3.

  • I absolutely agree with you Sally, Sarah did a phenomenal job. It’s so unfortunate that it took so much time, effort and money (thousands of dollars!!!) to get this info out of LCPS. It was like prying teeth out of their mouths. And once again they wonder why people are so fed up and pissed off towards them???

    Sunlight is the best disinfectant. It worked wonders in this case.

  • It's Time says:

    My thanks to everyone who brought the truth of this deal to light.

    My worry is – have the people that are in charge of site selection learned anything this time around? Do they know now that they have to think differently, evaluate differently, negotiate differently, council differently. Do they understand that it is the taxpayer they are responsible to? They are not there to simply be the defenders of a Rolls Royce school system.

    It’s time people. If they can’t change the way they’ve been doing it for years, then it’s time for them to retire. And it’s time for some School Board representatives to revaluate how they come to conclusions as well.

  • Ready to Rumble says:

    I could not have worded Sally’s #16 any better myself. Each and every point is spot on. And #18 is also well put. Sarah deserves alot of credit for hanging in there where most would have just thrown up their hands and said,”screw it, someone else try to pry this information out of the LCPS!”

  • Anonymous says:

    We hope Bergel will be responsive and hold meetings to get the public’s input on siting criteria and their weighting in preparation for issuing a well advertised RFP with a reasonable response time. This is the only way she can achieve what she is passionate to acomplish, acquiring school sites for her western Catoctin constituents and be willing to compromise so these facilities can be placed in accordance with the General Plan, in or adjacent to the Town.

  • Eric the 1/2 troll says:

    No, anon, public input meetings are meaningless to this process. If that is the only change, administration will simply say “we had a public input session” and move on to do what they want. Look at the charade of the attendance boundary process. What is needed here and with every new site selection is an ad hoc citizens committee needs to be appointed with representation of parties from different interests. This committee then needs to reach a consensus on what advice to provide to the SB and BOS as to the best property(ies) and selection criteria. If this process is incorporated, whatever property is selected (hopefully after a valid RFP process as well) will face a very muted citizen’s challenge if any at all. Unofficially, this is how Harmony IS was created and it faced very little public opposition – the last western (non-elementary) school to do so.

  • I guarantee there will be no real substantive change until a new School Board is elected that has the guts to send Hatrick into retirement and make some wholesale changes in LCPS administration. It’s painfully obvious the current crew is stuck in their ways or simply incapable of learning anything new.

  • EMP says:

    Agreed LI
    the staffers at LCPS are in control of all the information, whether good data is gathered, how it is interpreted, and then of course, how it is presented. Our leaders are fed that info and then asked to lead. If the information is poorly collected, badly analysed, and then presented with bias then the process is rigged from within. How can the same set of people that brought us Lenah, Rouse, Grubb and new Wheatland be left in power to come up with some “new” ideas for sites? Time to hire some new faces with no agendas.

  • Eric the 1/2 troll says:

    John Stevens is reporting some SB members and members of the “public” are trying to revive the Wheatlands deal….

  • Unbelievable!

    How stupid are they???

    http://blog.loudounschools.org/2009/05/wheatland-death-rattle.html

    Jen Bergel as gone off the deep end. She was presenting more misleading gloom and doom info last night before the Lovettsville Town Council.

  • anonymous says:

    Word on the street, or gravel roads as it were, indicates Bergel still thinks Wheatland continues to be a viable location for ONE school. Come on Jennifer, take a cleansing breath! This must be some sort of a pride thing.

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