John Stevens Attempts To Shift The Blame Again

By Loudoun Insider

Give me a break.  The reason teachers face furloughs is because this School Board failed to make the tough decisions that would have avoided furloughs.  They resorted to their old standby failsafe incitement tactic of scaring teachers and parents instead of tearing down their pandering to Hatrick budget system and starting from scratch.  Keep going dwon this route, please, while everyone is hurting economically.  Continue to pound those nails into your political coffins.  Teachers – don’t buy this bullshit, you know the real deal.


  • edmundburkenator says:

    Time for a new School Board please. No Ds, no Rs, just people who have sharp pencils and and independent streak.

  • sally says:

    Taj mahal school buildings article concerning LA school. Millions spent on litigation (sound familiar) and expensive amenities:

    Did anyone read the leesburg today article about astro turf, and the justification for putting it in at Woodgrove. It said that installing a regular football field with grass would cost $350,000 and the annual cost to maintain a grass football field would be $70,000..

    Does anyone else think these numbers are reasonable? Why would it cost that much to grade for a football field and plant it? and how could it possibly cost $70,000 a year to “maintain” a grass field? the justification for putting in the astro turf was that it only cost a few hundred thousand more, but it cost only $10,000 a year to maintain? these numbers feel contrived to me….

  • Yeah, it’s a typical “I was against them before I was for them before I was against them.” Read my post from a few months ago. This guy really can’t make up his mind.

  • FedUp says:

    This is unbelievable. It was the SB that chose to save wasteful programs such as FLES and SAMS over the furlough days.

    Go to Stevens’ blog and read the previous post about the new teacher orientation. Yes, LCPS is one of the few places that is hiring these days. Many taxpayers are losing their jobs and all Stevens wants to do is whine about furloughs. Is it November 2011 yet?

    Sally – yes I read that article and it sure sounds like to me they are inflating the maintenance costs to justify purchasing luxurious artificial turf. A football field is about 1.5 acres. It costs $70,000 to maintain it and they use the amount of water that 450 persons would use in a year? That’s laughable.

  • Leej says:

    Didn’t professional sports many years ago realized artificial grass was creating more injuries then the real stuff?????? Like little kids play the blame game when things are not going well. Basically diverting the attention.

  • sally says:

    You are correct Lee, astroturf is slippery and not as forgiving as grass. More injuries reported for both boys and girls, however, especially girls (I assume they will also use the field for soccer and lacrosse) are at risk for knee injuries, at this stage in their development– has to do with how their bodies grow and hips relative to knees– and astro turf dramatically increases the risk of serious life long knee problems in girls.

  • edmundburkenator says:

    There is a different kind of artificial turf available now that emulates natural grass. They aren’t talking about the concrete slab with a rug on it (astroturf) that was popular in the 70s.

    The new stuff still increases the risk of injury (in the NFL at least).

  • FedUp says:

    Edmund – That is very true. The technology has come a long way and it even looks a lot like real grass. There are still some safety issues and it can get extremely hot on hot and sunny days so they have to water it to cool it down when in use.

  • Independent Republican says:

    Did the school personnel think ( I know, I know) about the cost to the athletic programs; the added expense for shoes to be used on the artificial turf? Athletes pay for their own shoes for grass, is this another expense dumped on the parents for football, lacrosse (boys and girls), soccer (boys & girls,) field hockey?

    I hope so but I doubt it!

  • Leej says:

    The big point is we are spending money we don’t have in this county.

    Then I get tired of the poor teachers etc. They haven’t gotten a raise in several years. Helloooo they should be happy they even have a job.

    I am self employed and my income has dropped drastically because of the economy much less a raise.

    Besides at times I had 40 plus kids in the class back when I was in school and these today teachers bitch and moan about everything.

    Some of the best people that really did amazing things on this planet did not come from a coddled education.

    Right now it is about the money and Loudoun is broke.

  • Eric the 1/2 troll says:

    Lee, several points – we are not spending money we do not have. Loudoun works on a balanced budget. I do not think it fair to compare a builder’s salary patterns to that of a teacher. What kind of income growth did you see during the past building frenzy in the area? Certainly your industry’s salary increases were not comparable with Loudoun COunty teacher salary raises. I agree that the LCPS Board and Hatrick could better manage their money and that the old fall back of cut the teacher’s salaries is inexcusible but I don’t think the teachers should be the target here.

  • Loudoun Lady says:

    Nobody is targeting teachers, but they should not be exempt from the same pay cuts, layoffs or furloughs the rest of the county employees endure.

  • FedUp says:

    “Certainly your industry’s salary increases were not comparable with Loudoun COunty teacher salary raises.”

    Troll – There was one year where teachers got a 12% raise. Did you top that, LeeJ? If you average out all those years when teachers were getting 6-12% raises with the past 3 years where they have gotten nothing, then they are still have done better than the average private sector employee over that same time period. Even better when you consider there have been no LCPS layoffs.

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    The comments on Stevens’ blog post are worth reading.

  • BlackOut says:

    John Stevens deserves the heat on this one. This idea, request or whatever it is, was not something the SB has voted on.

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    Wow, BlackOut is able to criticize the School Board now that DuPree is no longer Chairman!

  • Leej says:

    fedup you are correct. I have a good friend who runs a one of the biggest corporations in this country. And he and his family live way below how they could.

    They live simpler then most in Loudoun.

    But that is not the point. Last spring he told me people better be happy they have a job much less a raise. He is predicting a double dip and a very good chance of a triple dip down the road. He says until we see slashing of government jobs and spending this economy will only get much worse.

    So teachers should be happy they even have a job as well anyone else that has a job. The way Obama is running this country it may well get much worse.

  • Independent Republican says:

    Teachers do get raises in three possible ways; County increase, the state kicks in for salary and of course the the step increase.

  • Leej says:

    “””””Teachers do get raises in three possible ways; County increase, the state kicks in for salary and of course the the step increase.”””””

    Every one of your reasons will increase taxes somewhere. Not acceptable in the worst economy since the depression. people should be happy they even have a job. And huge cutbacks are coming to the government local and state and federal. When the average government salary is twice the USA average there is a tidal wave coming.

    here is what a very famous architect friend of mine John Henry who does not have one job right now says about the DC area. and his web site


    There are still a number of markets where it remains the case that renting a home is cheaper than owning one. I would say that if home prices get to a point where after-tax annual mortgage costs, hazard insurance and property taxes, and annualized repair and upkeep costs are significantly lower than the rental costs, housing prices may become stable. By “significantly” lower, I mean that house buyers should earn a premium that reflects the risk of holding a somewhat illiquid asset that will generally comprise the bulk of their asset portfolio.
    For instance, in some parts of Washington D.C., where a four bedroom house can rent for $5,000 a month, the most you would want to spend for a house would be about $800,000 – which is about where you’d break even if you bought the house with a 30 year mortgage at 4.75% (and assuming low upkeep and repair costs, and fixed property taxes at their current levels). Build in a risk premium of at least 10%, and the top price you’d want to pay might be closer to $700,000. At the moment, the price for a 4 bedroom house in an area where homes rent for as high as $5,000 a month is still almost twice that level, which suggests that prices in DC can very realistically drop another 40% – which may be on the conservative side. Why do I say that a 40% price drop in DC real estate is conservative? Well, if mortgage rates rise another 1% off their already historic lows, that $700,000 could rapidly drop below $600,000. If mortgage rates go back to a historic norm of about 7% (compared to 4.75%), and property taxes rise, that $600,000 drops down towards $400,000.
    If today’s price for a four bedroom house in a nice section of DC is in the range of $1,200,000 and up, I’d guess that in the next few years, DC could experience 50% to 70% price declines for real estate. I say this as someone who owns a house in DC, and has no axe to grind vis-a-vis the real estate industry.
    About the only thing that might support real estate prices would be the lack of attractive investment alternatives. Low risk bonds are priced well beyond perfection, and seem to be in bubble territory. Equities multiples remain high if you take a ten year earnings average as your baseline for calculating the real price earnings ratio for the S&P 500. Cash is not much of an appealing investment alternative, and commodities are not typically areas where average individual investors care to speculate. There is quite a bit of imputed value to owning a house (some emotional, some financial), whereas there is little to no such imputed value owning equities or Treasuries that, on an after tax basis, pay the holder less than the average rate of inflation in the US. All of these factors could support real estate prices a bit, but at current levels? I would say no, because current levels are simply stratospheric compared to what a purely rational investor would be willing to pay. “””””

  • FedUp says:

    LCPS hires 353 new teachers, according to a news release on their web site!

    What was all that talk about layoffs during the budget process earlier this year? Nothing but more of Herr Hatrick’s annual scare tactics.

  • The Lark says:

    I’m hoping there are some good people considering a run for the School Board next time? We need some new people, who understand where the cuts should come from. There needs to be a totally new philosophy applied. I want a good school system – but I want it run efficiently, with less administration red tape and old procedures. The whole purchase of land process and evaluation system needs major retooling – not just a tweak. We need to look at other school systems and learn from them.

  • vacliff says:

    I hope the BoS remembers this point when the budget negotiations start next year and the cries of “dismantling the school system” start again.

  • edmundburkenator says:

    LCPS should be OUT of site selection/purchase and able only to have input on site/building requirements.

    And we need a more thoughtful way to fund education. There has to be a better way than funding it almost completely by real estate taxes.

  • Leej says:

    This budget thing is going to be interesting. Virtually no roads have been built and some very basic essentials are being cut back such as health care.

    I am sorry you have the self absorbed McG flaunting this energy policy and a grant is still tax money. Whether you pay it in federal taxes or state taxes. And this half baked Loudoun version of the Chesapeake bay act which will take actual Loudoun tax dollars to run it. Come on no final mapping this thing will become a nightmare. I deal with it in Fairfax on a occasion where it is mapped and it is still a costly nightmare.

    And of course the over educated loonies running the school system.

    Yep the next budget is going to be a nightmare and if the tax rate goes up and whoever on the BOS votes for it will be finished in politics around here.

    And nobody buys are taxes are going down for many when the RATE goes up.

    And yes I will finish the Lerners must build a rt 7 interchange for approval of their town center at the least.

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