|Braddock school board member Megan McLaughlin (center in blue) with family and friends at the swearing-in ceremony|
Members of the new Fairfax County school board—sworn in to office at a ceremony at Luther Jackson Middle School Dec. 19—will need to hit the ground running. Among the most pressing issues facing the new board are the budget and the search for a new superintendent to replace Jack Dale, who has announced plans to retire, effective July 1, 2013.
Newly elected board member Megan McLaughlin (Braddock) told the Annandale blog she wants to listen to people’s concerns about the board vote last summer to change the attendance boundaries of several schools including Annandale High School. If Sandy Evans (Mason) thinks the issue should be revisited, McLaughlin said, she would agree to reopen the discussion.
Ryan McElveen, a newly elected at-large board member, said his top budget priorities include raising teacher compensation and eliminating the athletic fees. He also plans to work for an independent auditor and healthier school lunches.
When asked whether he agrees with the recent school board vote to allow surveillance cameras inside high schools, McElveen said, “there are arguments on both sides of the issue,” but added, “there should have been more community engagement.”
Ted Velkoff, another new at-large board member, said he would have voted for the amendment proposed by Dan Storck (Mt. Vernon) that would have delayed a decision on the surveillance cameras until the new board took office. “I’m not convinced the cameras would be a deterrent,” he said.
When asked about the proposal to establish a charter school at the building now housing Graham Road Elementary School—which is opposed by many parents at Falls Church High School—Velkoff said, “we want to innovate, and the charter school would have the kinds of innovations we need.” But he added that he has “a lot of reservations in principle about charter schools.”
Patty Reed, the incumbent board member representing the Providence District, said she is “still neutral” on the charter school proposal and wants to learn more about it.