PROTECTING OUR K - 12 EDUCATION
For the last 10 years it has been my privilege and honor to serve you on the Fairfax School Board. I have gained valuable experience in managing budgets, fiscal responsibility, and the work required to create some of the best schools in America. I will bring this experience with me to Richmond to protect K-12 education.
Protecting the education budget
As your delegate I will continue work tirelessly to prevent cuts to our education budget because I've seen first hand how important a well funded public school system is to our community and economy. I will not support any cuts to our K-12 education budget unless there truly are no alternatives. In the rare instance a cut to the education budget unavoidable, I will be a fierce advocate for the needs of our community: I know that the question of where those cuts should come from is better answered locally than in Richmond, and will fight for local control to meet the challenges of tough economic times.
Ending the cap on non-teaching educational staff
As your delegate I will work to reverse a rule created during the 2009 legislative session that caps the pay for non-educational teaching staff. This rule cripples school boards' abilities to hire guidance counselors, school medical staffs, custodial staffs, lunch room staffs, and more. We need to do all we can to make sure our schools run safely, securely, and effectively -- academic achievement is a team effort.
Fixing the funding formula
The formula used to fund our schools is broken. It leaves out key factors such as the number of "English as a second language" students, and the number of special education students within the education system. I will work with my fellow Democrats to fix the funding formula and end this unintentional unfunded mandate so that all of the 38th District's children get the education they need and deserve.
EXPANDING NORTHERN VIRGINIA HIGHER EDUCATION RESOURCES
Virginia is locked in a difficult cycle. We have a growing population of students and a shrinking number of seats in higher education. Adding capacity to our excellent Northern Virginia higher education system is critical to ensure the next generation of Virginia leaders are cultivated here at home.
Cutting the costs of higher education
As your delegate, I will work on cutting the costs of higher education by fighting to expand access to student loans, working to lower the costs of textbooks, and expanding the understanding of the use of federal tax credits to make college affordable.
Expanding the community college system
The partnerships between our community colleges in Northern Virginia and our students should start prior to graduation. Here in Fairfax County, I negotiated an agreement between NoVa Community College and several area high schools to allow seniors earning college credits access to the full NoVa CC resources. As your delegate I will work to make this system the common practice, not the exception to the rule.
Providing Opportunities to earn college credits in high school
Four years of high education is a financial burden that doesn't need to exist. By expanding opportunities to earn college credit through courses taken in high school we can increase the number of students who graduate from an institution of higher learning by decreasing the number of years they go to school to get that four year degree. As your delegate, I will work to expand access to college credit courses in high school.