John Stevens’ Inauspicious Start As Loudoun School Board Chairman

By Loudoun Insider

John Stevens is now the Chairman of the Loudoun County School Board.  And one of his first actions is to abolish roll call votes?  Is this to try to hide how many of them will vote against specific spending cuts?  What a blow to openness, but one that is not surprising with this inept School Board.

 

Then there’s his blog, which has turned into a separate propaganda arm of LCPS.  The last three posts are telling.  There’s this sob story of how hard a job a guidance counselor has, the exciting tale of a “green” school bus (only costing us an additional $60k), and the plight of the poor misunderstood middle school deans.

 

Any slim hope I had for seeing a bit of a different direction from the School Board after the passing of the baton from Robert DuPree has vanished into thin air.

 

In other Loudoun school news, Scott York asks for citizen help in keeping the state funding formula from changing to our detriment, and LCPS attorney Bill Chapman retires.  I wonder if he will go back to representing Sal Cangiano now!


Comments

  • Lovettsville Lady says:

    I read the article defending the Deans. Since it is written in educratize, I still don’t know what they do, other than attend meetings and ”communicate”.

    >>>LCPS currently does this better at the Middle School level than most places in the Nation. The removal of Deans would adversely affect this model.: <<< Huh? How would we know that?

    Reading this it says the middle school assistant principals cover testing and special ed. The organize many meetings. Principals are head of academics. Deans do what is left over. Deans facilitate stuff and organize many meetings.

    Do we really need three administrative levels at each middle school for meetings? I know that educrats LOVE their meetings. But are they ever productive?

  • Brian S. says:

    I know that Jim LeMunyon and others are working to ensure the state funding formula doesn’t take money away from Loudoun and Fairfax schools. That effort has bipartisan support.

  • Ric James says:

    I was at the town hall meeting with Tag Greason and Mark Herring this morning, Brian, and they both mentioned that effort. Both are also on board with the effort to keep the funding formula from really sticking us this year.

  • BlackOut says:

    Wow, I guess Loudoun is agreement. Props to York, Hatrick, TAG and Herring for looking out for us.

  • Loudoun Lady says:

    BO – and your thoughts on Kaine?

  • Paul says:

    Stevens’ led charge to abolish roll call votes, yet he is quoted in the Leesburg2Day article as having transparency as a priority. It just doesn’t get more hypocritical than that. Motto that comes to mind: arrogance overrides wisdom.

    What I want to know is, who will Hatrick tell his adoring School Board to hire as Chapman’s heir? Do you suppose they can be more stealth than their last choice and not make it so damn obvious how intimate they really are with those like Sal Cangiano? Not likely considering their motto.

  • Dorothy says:

    After reading the job discription of a dean, Loudoun could save money by eliminating the principal and assistant principal positions. The taxpayers and the public are being fooled by LCPS and FCPS into thinking that so many positions are needed to run a middle school. Not so…a good principal, a good assistant principal, two guidance counselors, a nurse and three secretaries is the max needed to run a middle school.
    I read FCPS threats should they not get those millions of dollars…one being increasing the numbers of students in a classroom. If I had only had 23 students present when I was teaching, I would not have introduced new material because half my students for that class would have been absent. 23 students in a classroom…you have got to be kidding.
    Someone needs to clean out LCPS and FCPS budgets and eliminate all the waste and there is lots of waste!!!

  • HWyatt says:

    Maybe it’s something in the water they serve over at the School Board meetings? But something happens to the thinking ability of these people once they get over there. They become defenders of the way things have always been done and stick to it like their lives depended on it. What the hell happens to their ability to rationally size up where we are? Reality is staring them right in the face.

    The economy means we have to look at things differently and find new ways of doing things. And it should have been done yestereday. There is an absolute majority of them both elected and administrative that are clinging to their old ways of things. It’s all very mind blowing.

    I’m all for a great educational system. Other jurisdictions have done some creative budget cutting. Why can’t Loudoun County?

  • sally says:

    Last year, the School Board told us if we did not fund them, they would have to “cut” hundreds of positions, but what happened instead was that they hired 600 new teachers.
    *
    They have lied to us one too many times. This year, no stimulus funds to bail us out.
    *
    We need some big cuts, and need to freeze the hiring–move admin people into teaching, raise class sizes, make teachers teach one more class in High School, stop funding things like new band uniforms, no more luxury spending on hybrid buses, etc. (That bus is truly an insult in these times.) Can totally sympathize with some of the outraged comments on Stevens blog about not being able to afford a new car… our citizens can’t afford to buy new cars, but the School Board is buying a new ridiculously priced hybrid bus??? I am supposed to be happy about paying several thousand dollars more in property taxes this year, so the School Board can spend my money like this… so outraged, it is hard to contain my anger!

  • vacliff says:

    Stevens is another Hatrick lapdog…the more money they can spend, the better.
    Get rid of ALL the middle school deans. The non-teaching staff personnel in our school system is beyond ridiculous.

  • anon says:

    Dorothy,

    I’m sure it’s been YEARS since you’ve been in a middle school. Kids at that age are a MESS. What you’ve listed is what it takes to run an ELEMENTARY school. Middle schools have oodles more problems than elementary. Yes, parents SHOULD be taking care of all of these problems. Sorry, they don’t. And you can’t kick the miscreants out – I know teachers would LOVE it if they could do that and just teach. And then they could have MORE kids in the class because they’d all be there to learn and would know how to behave. Unfortunately, the kids don’t behave, and the parents don’t parent.

    What REALLY needs to go is all of the administrative positions at the division level – all those curriculum supervisors and curriculum specialists. A few for each subject area and level to keep things on track and info flowing – and that’s it.

  • Loudoun Citizen says:

    This entire misguided school board needs to be thrown out of office.

  • loudouninNC says:

    I’m sorry LI, I loathe EH and his parade as much as anybody, buy you’re over the top. A “sob story” of how hard a guidance counselor has it? That’s such a load of BS! The entire point of that speech was that for all the money they throw at smart boards, for all the time they waste inflating grades, it is the personnel that actually get things done. If you’ve been at all involved with the college applications process over the past 5-10 years, you should know how much it has changed and how particular it has become. Until the process shifts, many of these positions are necessary unless you have no interest in higher education for you and yours.

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    Are you just figuring out that I can be over the top at times???!!!
    .
    I’m sure there are conscientuous guidance counselors who do work that hard, but I bet there are others who are the proverbial bumps on a log as well. I absolutely agree that there are a lot more places to cut before getting to guidance counselors, but so far Hatrick et al. have shown no inkling of wanting to do that.
    .
    I’ve stated numerous times that I have no children and that is one of the reasons I take an extra critical look at the enormous costs of Loudoun’s school system. Again, I am all for a solid education for the students in this county, but if parents want a Cadillac system they can pay for the extras.
    .
    And I got through college and grad school without so much as a passing conversation with a guidance counselor.

  • loudouninNC says:

    Yeah, I know you like to provide some salacious comments. I bit. And you’re right about the other part of the statement. As a product of LCPS, I jumped many a bump on the log on my way to college and grad school as well. I remember finding it absurd that I needed a counselor’s recommendation to apply for VA state schools. Especially since I had never been to see the counselor in the first place.
    There are a lot of students with medical issues, etc. that do make use of guidance services, but the counselors are also often relegated to non-specialized scheduling services as well. Just another perfect example of LCPS’s misuse of resources.
    Maybe we could start trimming the fat by replacing Hatrick’s car allowance with a free bus pass.

  • Curious Bystander says:

    When will Hatrick’s salary increase be announced or reported in the local media?

  • vacliff says:

    When they think no one is paying attention!

  • FedUp says:

    Concerning the state funding formula and the extra $34 million York is begging for, the BOS should be treating it as a bonus and go about the business of cutting the bloated school budget down to something affordable. Spending is the problem, not revenue, but York has always put a lot more effort into the revenue part of the equation. Who’s to say that in 2 years the index will not change again and Loudoun will be shortchanged $34 million? Then we will be looking at another big tax rate hike.
    If McDonnell does decide to go with the new index (fat chance), taxpayers need to demand 100% of the extra money go to reducing the tax rate, because you can bet Hatrick will be there with his hand out wanting most of it.

  • FedUp says:

    Sally – There is $6.2 million in ARRA stimulus “carryover” applied to this budget, as well as $7.2 million from a VRS “holiday” in the 4th quarter of FY10 and a $20 million fund balance from hoarding taxpayer money in previous years, so $33.4 million of funding for this fat budget comes from one-time sources – more proof Loudoun continues to spend beyond its means and more reason to demand drastic cuts.
    *
    “Yes, parents SHOULD be taking care of all of these problems. Sorry, they don’t.”
    Anon – that’s true and those are the parents who support higher taxes so the school system can do their parenting for them.

  • anon says:

    Absolutely Fed Up – and they’re also probably the same parents who pay practically zero in taxes. But …. SOMETHING has to be done with these kids. We taxpayers can scream all we want at the unnamed parents to “do their job.” But they aren’t going to do it. These are the parents who should have to pass a test before they reproduce. But that infringes on basic human rights. So what the hell are we going to do? I’d love to kick them out of school but you can’t do that anymore (and you’d have to kick some of them out in 1st grade. So what the hell are we going to do? I know, let’s bitch about how much it is going to cost to have guidance counselors. Let’s stomp our feet and demand that parents parent. Let’s not have guidance counselors – that’ll show THOSE parents. Clue – THOSE parents don’t give a rats ass if we help or fix their kid or not.

  • anon says:

    If you read the story about what a counselor does as a sob story, then you completely missed the point and made that counselor’s point. The point is that most people have no idea what a counselor does, and many have no idea how to do it. Counselors are professionally trained to provide the support and knowledge to help the students reach their potential and to supplement and help parents gain the additional knowledge they need to support their children. The job is much more than hand holding and mailing recommendations. Counselors are professionally trained and licensed to provide academic, personal, and developmental support to EVERY student in the school system. They understand what is needed and are trained to hear what people are saying and feeling without assuming they are telling a sob story. If all parents were capable, knowledgeable about all aspects of child development, graduation requirements and college searches, willing, financially able to purchase services from outside services, and had the time to provide every thing their child needs, then counselors could just schedule those kids into classes and mail the college recommendations. If they were all perfect parents and never caused their children any stress or harm, and knew how to guide our kids through the social, emotional, financial, and academic hell that is adolescence, then the world would indeed be good. But they are not all perfect, and for the rest, counselors provide those needed services so that every child has the chance to reach their potential. They help those students who need help so that all students are safe and prepared to face the academic challenges in school without the extra baggage our stressful and competitve world puts on them.
    Our children are not a luxury and the community’s responsibility to those children is not a luxury. The future of our country and our world rests on our children and it is our responsibility to help them in every way possible to be the best prepared to make that world a better place. We need our children to realize that there is more to life than themselves and their pocketbook and that sometimes we have to do things for others to make our own lives better. If you have to pay a little more in taxes so that our schools are better and can then produce better students and better future leaders, isn’t it worth it? If you have to pay more in taxes in the short term so that our schools are better and the services offered in the county are better, then Loudoun can attract more businesses and then they will pay those taxes. Big businesses with high paid and educated executives do not move to a county with poor schools, the lowest paid teachers, and no services. They want more than a pretty McMansion to raise their families in.

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