It’s Time For A Teacher Revolt In Loudoun

By Loudoun Insider

Check out this comment thread at School Board Chairman John Stevens’ blog.  Some teachers make some specific ideas for efficiencies and cost savings at LCPS.  I’ve seen other similar comments here and there and have even received a few email complaints from teachers.  But most of them are too scared to go public, or even comment anonymously with their concerns for fear of retaliation.

 

I am a harsh critic of LCPS, but I understand that quality teachers are the number one asset.  Unfortunately I don’t believe that the Hatrick administration acts that way.  I feel that they are used as budgetary pawns to cover up the excesses built into this system.  The teachers are the ones that really know where the skeletons are buried.  It is well past time for them to band together and speak up and be heard.  It’s time to clean up LCPS and truly reform it for the good of the students and the teachers.  The prevailing public opinion of LCPS is that it is bloated and full of waste.  Teachers will not see significant increases in salary until that public perception is changed, and they are the best group to effect that change.  Band together, teachers, and demand reform!  These trying times demand bold action.


Comments

  • DRose says:

    I totally agree. I am always telling the teachers I know that the Supreme Dr. Hatrick continues to put them on the front line when it comes to cuts. He acts in his own self-interest. And, either the educrats on his staff are under his spell or too afraid to talk.
    The more I learn about the budget and the total failure the school board does in scrutinizing it, the more angry I get. I hate wasting money- especially mine. Quality- even excellent- education does not require more spending. Even the Loudoun Times Mirror agreed in its opinion piece today.

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    Agreed. Budget hearings are today and Saturday:
    *
    http://www.leesburg2day.com/articles/2010/02/24/news/9856hearings022410.txt
    *
    And here’s the LTM editorial – right on!
    *
    http://www.loudountimes.com/index.php/news/opinions

  • vacliff says:

    I spoke today against the school budget. Where were the rest of you? I was outnumbered by the school system employees 10-1 who all, not surprisingly, supported the budget.
    If we expect the BoS to have the courage to reduce it, they need to hear some support from the citizens!

  • Loudoun Lady says:

    How many were there Vacliff?
    *
    I know many people going tonight and I am going to try to go tomorrow (if they hold a session) or Saturday morning.

  • Perfect Timing says:

    That school administration building would be place I would start to cut.

  • Agreed with all fine points. The students and teachers are the last place I’d weild an axe. The administrative positions at $100K to $200K are looking pretty good if they were felled, however.

  • Lovettsville Lady says:

    If the administration was cut in half, no one would notice or care. So they put the teachers on the line, knowing that parents and teachers will come out in full force for a tax increase if they think teachers will be cut and class size raised. If the administration was being axed so that our taxes wouldn’t be raised, there would be no lobbyists for Hatrick’s cause of more millions of dollars for his bloated bureaucracy.

    I fully support more teachers and fewer bureaucrats. No one in Loudoun county thinks we need more curriculum specialists and administrators.

  • Tom Seeman says:

    I was there for the 6:30 session and didn’t get an exact count, but I’d estimate about 50 people spoke tonight.
    *
    We had 11 people speak in favor of fiscal sanity, the rest were the usual “please raise my taxes” and “I demand ‘full funding’ for whatever Dr. Hatrick wants”
    *
    In the two years I’ve been doing this, tonight was our biggest showing. Best of all, the first five speakers were on our side, slamming the Democrats in no uncertain terms for their big spending ways and demanding that taxes not be raised. This was something that they definitely didn’t expect, and the Dems on the BOS looked shocked.
    *
    Those who spoke for fiscal sanity tonight: Greg Stone, Candace Strother, Debbie and Randy Rose, myself, Mark Sell, Cindy Lovell(sp?, whom I didn’t know), John Millhiser, Butch Porter, David Dickinson, and Chris K(didn’t get his last name).
    *
    They canceled the Thursday session. I trust the rest of you who are interested in fiscal sanity will be speaking on Saturday. Call 703-771-5072 to sign up. They give you 2 minutes to speak which goes by quickly.

  • Loudoun Lady says:

    Most excellent Tom! Thanks to all the fiscal sanity speakers – what a great showing. I suspect the BOS will post the input session on line, I’d love to hear the comments.
    *
    I will be there Saturday morning!

  • FedUp says:

    It appears that the majority of parents and teachers think the FLES program is a complete waste of time and money. If the school board does not cut it, they really aren’t listening.
    *
    That’s great news, Tom! We need to keep hammering them with calls and emails. Let’s rally our friends and neighbors to do the same.

  • Michael says:

    The revolt has already happened and we are getting taxed to death for it…these poeple are generally statist and wish to take as much of your money as they can…

  • BlackOut says:

    39 to 11 by Tom’s count. “..tonight was our biggest show”. You should evaluate the tactics.
    .
    Sounds like Canada against the Russians. You gotta love it when democracy prevails.

  • G. Stone says:

    Based on what I saw last evening you will get ZERO help from teachers on budget issues in Loudoun County.

  • sally says:

    The board does not understand that by raising the tax rate it is forcing the continued devaluation of real estate in Loudoun. If taxes are 40 percent higher in Loudoun, why not live in Fairfax? The higher taxes being imposed are simply going to make us less competitive in the real estate market, driving prices lower, making it necessary to raise taxes higher again– an unsustainable course. And raising taxes so high, so dramatically, unlike any other jurisdiction in the area, scares the daylights out of people. How high will they go? seems there is no will to reign in expenses, and only a will to tax tax tax.
    *
    Taxing us more just means home values go lower…and prospective buyers are scared out of our market…
    **
    Keep the rate the same, stabilize the rate, and help our real estate values recover! End the cycle of having to keep raising rates due to ever increasing lower values… we need real estate values to recover, and the best way to do this is to support them with lower tax rates…

  • Leej says:

    If that is all that showed up to support the schools in a fifty thousand plus kid school system. You are all living in fantasy land. That is like saying nobody showed up on either side. ;-)

  • Michael says:

    Sally – Not to mention we will lose business opportunities further straining the budget. If I’m a business wanting to move to NOVA I’ll relocate to Fairfax – why be bludgeoned by the greenies when I can move to Fairfax where they know how to attract business, and they attract them by not charging them 1.41 tax rate… BTW – what ever happened to One Loudoun? Did they go bankrupt or something…

  • G. Stone says:

    Sally :
    You are so right.
    Here are my remarks from last evening at the board meeting.

    Thank you Mr. Chairman.

    * On or about 24 months ago the tax rate in Loudoun County was $1.14 It is widely advertised that this board now wants to raise that rate to $1.40 The legacy of the majority on this board will be that you raised the tax rate by approximately 24% over two budget cycles. These accelerated rate increases are unsustainable, as well as detrimental to Loudoun Counties overall economic health.

    • A recent headline in the Loudoun Independent read :

    You’ve suspected it before, but now your beliefs are confirmed. According to a report issued by Forbes.Com, homeowners in Loudoun County pay the MOST in property taxes in the south.

    • Loudouner’s fork out $4,844 annually per home, three times
    the national average.

    • Supply Side and Keynesian Economists agree on almost
    nothing. However, when it comes to tax policy, the one thing they do agree on is that you don’t raise tax rates in a recession. The majority on this board seems to have found some third way that defies either of these economic theories. I submit that this third way is simply a lack of political will coupled with a poor understanding of the cause and effect of tax policy.

    • The stated rational for using declining real estate values as justification for tax rate increases in lieu of real budgetary reform and reductions in spending as embraced by both the majority on this board and county staff is illogical and short sighted.

    Raising the tax rate for a second year in a row is unacceptable. Using the declining value of property as a rational for raising real estate tax rates is both poor economics and immoral. Attempting to balance the budget on the backs of hard working, recession wary citizens via their own loss of assets gives the term Misery Index a whole new meaning.

  • edmundburkenator says:

    G, do you mean the Keynesians and the Supply Siders agree that you don’t raise TAXES or TAX RATES?
    .
    I don’t like raising either, but there is a distinction.
    .
    Hatrick: best politician in the county. Sadly.

  • FedUp says:

    I would hate to be a supervisor and sit through these hearings where the majority are school employees begging for a pay raise. I can’t see how their self-serving comments would carry any weight.

  • Loudoun Lady says:

    Eddie – On Keynesians and Supply Siders the answer is taxes, not tax rate. The example is revelant here because the estimated rate increase this year will equal a 10% tax hike on average. For me that is an additional 450$ that I can not afford. I will post my comments I am delivering to the BOS Saturday morning – I am calling myself a “captive taxpayer”.

  • Leej says:

    Here is a thought I heard Loudoun has more kids per family then any other large school district in the country. So you really can put appples to apples when you compare other school districts spending per kid. When you have more kids per tax paying households something has to give or you are going to have the highest taxes in the nation per house hold to pay for them.

  • Leej says:

    I will add that is why there is a difference in higher spending in other districts per pupil then here and can have a lower tax rate.

  • edmundburkenator says:

    Would a “property rights” person like to comment on this thread? You know, the folks that wanted to sell their land to every developer who then wanted to build a house for every family with two kids and a minivan.
    .
    So far the “captive taxpayers” have had to pay for schools for the kids (county) and the roads for the minivans (state), the electricity, water, sewer infrastructure… and some other costs that are harder to discern.
    .
    Anyone?

  • Leej says:

    ed the average family is more then two kids in Loudoun. Like I said before it has the highest amount of kids per family then any large school district in the county. I remember now I read it somewhere after the 2000 census. And Dupree said it at Millers clueless public tax meeting. The point is why are so many large families moving into Loudoun? Even if you built less homes and large families continue to move here you still have the same tax problem funding the schools. I see it in my neighborhood there are a lot of large families. Far more then anywhere I have lived including Texas and California. And I have almost always lived in brand new growing areas like Loudoun. The tax problem we really have is many kids per family to fund. It is not too many homes it is the amount of kids in those homes. One way to stop it limit Loudoun to only two kids per family or what ever the national average is.

  • Bellyaching Taxpayer says:

    Eddie – Of course taxpayers have to pay for those things. That’s what taxes are for and folks don’t mind paying, as long as they are fair. What I object to paying for is per capita spending that has been increasing at 3 times the rate of inflation. You can’t blame the massive tax increases solely on development because more houses = more taxpayers and a larger tax base.

  • edmundburkenator says:

    The rate of inflation? Over what stretch?
    .
    Leej, do you have the stats on children per household?

  • Bellyaching Taxpayer says:

    Eddie – Since 2000 when the housing boom spending spree started. Leej is right that there are more students, but the county also spends much more per student. A lot of that is because the county has passed on the cost of skyrocketing benefits costs to the taxpayer instead of the employee, like the private sector does. The result is taxpayers are paying more for county employee benefits and raises that are much better than what they have recieved over the same time period. The duprees, yorks and hatricks don’t want you to know that. They would rather try to blame it all on overdevelopment.

  • Leej says:

    ed it was a long time ago when I read that. Maybe I could do a search. Perhaps the school system has sats on this. They have stats on everything else. ha ha It just dawned on me when Dupree agreed with what I asked him, It isn’t the amount of homes just amount of kids in those home. When the idiots vote against Kincora and other mixed used they don’t understand a lot of the housing is not kid friendly like the big suburban development housing. And you lose a lot of high tax paying commercial roads etc then when you fill that property up with industrial and data.. I will leave it at this two apatment complexes can look the same but the amount of bedrooms in those apartment will determine the amount of kids and that is the extremely simple explanation it can be far more then that. But bedrooms will limit the overall kids.

  • Leej says:

    I meant less bedrooms limit the amount of kids.

  • Bellyaching Taxpayer says:

    Eddie – Fairfax has also been on a spending binge over the past 10 years, even though they built out decades ago, and their tax bills have also skyrocketed, but just not quite as much as Loudoun. There’s an excellent post on another blog about it
    http://baconsrebellion.com/2009/02/03/fairfax-county/

  • Leej says:

    And I meant the amount of bedrooms per unit. And I don’t mean also the abnormal where you see 20 people living in a two bedroom home or 3 bedroom home. I am talking the normal situation.

  • edmundburkenator says:

    Thank you Bellyacher. I just want it pointed out that there are ramifications for the growth.
    .
    Just as there are ramifications for having this gold-plated school system (along with the benefits afforded the employees of that system as you point out).
    .
    Do you disagree?
    .
    Could you share your Loudoun per capita spending data source with me? Thank you in advance…

  • Tom Seeman says:

    “Sounds like Canada against the Russians. You gotta love it when democracy prevails.” – BlackOut
    .
    If you are implying that the ratio of speakers at a BOS meeting in any way mirrors the view of average voters that’s just silly. Politics 101 teaches that organized minorities can make a big splash.
    .
    The bottom line is that until the School Board has taxing authority and is thus held to account by the voters they have no incentive to hold down spending. They’re a captive of the teachers unions.
    .
    “I can’t see how their self-serving comments would carry any weight.” – Fedup
    .
    Ah but you’re missing the essence of the liberal plan, which is to create Democrat voters by increasing dependence on government. One way they do this is by putting as many people on the government payroll as possible.
    .
    This is exactly the purpose of Obama-Reid-Pelosi “stimulus” bill. It had little or nothing to do with the economy. Rather, it’s purposes were to 1) reward Democrat voter blocks, 2) increase dependency on the government and thus increase the number of Democrat voters, and 3) permanently increase the size of government, thus pushing us in the direction of a European-style system.

  • BlackOut says:

    Tom, if I did buy your inference that those speaking in support of the school budget were all union members, I am not sure that would be any different than you speaking on behalf of an organized political party. Isn’t that what you and Stoner are rallying and organizing for?
    .
    The party rallies it’s supporters with common speaking points, and I’d say a union could do the same. Nothing wrong with that. But to infer that all that speak are motivated by some organized group is self serving.
    .
    If we did assume all speakers were motivated by organized thought that I’d say with the numbers at this year the organized union kicked your organized parties ass.
    .
    Gotta love it when democracy prevails.

  • “You can’t blame the massive tax increases solely on development because more houses = more taxpayers and a larger tax base”
    The first tree to chop down here is the big lie that these houses actually contribute…which they do not. Every new house in residential areas actually requires $1.70 in services for every dollar it pays in. Only when a house passes the $Million dollar mark do the taxes pay for the child entering school from it’s doors. By the second child passing thru it’s doors….it’s back in the hole,again.

  • Leej says:

    I will say it again raise taxes and Loudoun is again closed for the thrid year for business. Raytheon only replaced what AOL closed in the county and I believe will not even replce totally what we lost when AOL downsized. The mixed use called Village at Leesburg is doing very very well because first it was built almost at once so business could see feel touch it. And now they are coming. Bare dirt is bare dirt and business perfers to see it feel it and touch it real built buildings. The metro mixed use at 28 and the dulles toll road is on hold. One of Millers favorites, seems everytime Miller likes something something happens to it. :-) . If you want to reduce future taxes you must build these mix use projects like Kincora. Although McG has already figured out how to sabotage it with her new PC architect. Two words “LESS TAXES” if that happens. Most places in the country would die for the projects we throw away here. And you wonder why we have some the highest taxes in the nation. With projects like that you could reduce taxes and pay for the schools.

  • sally says:

    This Board needs to think about how raising the tax rate will scare away businesses who are looking to relocate in this area. I have heard that a number of large defense contractors are leaving California completely because of high taxes, high cost of living, over regulation– and are looking to relocate in this area–looking in Ffx Co, not Loudoun. Why? Possible big tax boon, and we are scaring them away???
    **
    To get businesses to locate here, we need to be pro-business, that means a low tax rate and no funky green laws, that make it un-competitive to build and operate a business..

  • Leej says:

    Sally you are correct about green laws. I know for a fact especially in my occupation we look to save money anyway we can and we automatically look what works and makes sense. And believe me there is a lot about green that does make sense and some that does not. We always look both at the money and the environment. I wonder just how green Millers home is or McG’s. Or are they just full of hot air. I know Miller and McG read this blog so here is a shut out to them tell just how green are your homes??? I know this thrid is about the high cost of our school system and it needs to be cut. But if we don’t grow our businesses and you are right about defense leaving California, and we are not getting them. Miller and McG the twins don’t have a clue how to get business into this county or they would of by now brought some in. Instead they spend their time passing green and discrimination which is already being done or have laws to protect people. And Miller is now everywhere after he lost the last election so he can run again, instead of really doing his job here. Those that can do those that can’t divert the attention such as Miller and McG. Thank God less then two years to the next election. Anyone ever hear McG talk about our biggest problem the schools much???? ANd the high taxes the schools are creating in this county???? What is her stand on it??????

  • Bellyaching Taxpayer says:

    “Every new house in residential areas actually requires $1.70 in services for every dollar it pays in.”
    That’s bogus because it assumes every house has a child and that real property taxes are the only source of revenue AND it assumes spending $13,000 per student, which is exorbitant.
    .
    Eddie – Check the county adopted budget for FY10. It has spending and population numbers going back about 15 years.

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