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Saturday, August 27, 2011

School board member Ilryong Moon launches re-election bid in Annandale

Several dozen Democratic leaders and supporters braved the torrential rains in advance of Hurricane Irene Saturday afternoon to help Ilryong Moon launch his re-election campaign for an at-large seat on the Fairfax CountySchool Board.

Moon is one of just six of the 12 incumbents seeking re-election. At the launch party at Magill’s restaurant in Annandale, Moon told the Annandale blogger his top priorities on the board include “making wise budget decisions,” reducing class size by one student per class, and providing adequate compensation for teachers. He noted salaries have been frozen for the past two years.

When asked what he thinks about Superintendent Jack Dale, Moon said he believes Dale is doing “a decent job but there is some room for improvement.” For example, he says, Dale needs “to get staff and members of the community more involved in issues from the beginning, rather than having a plan and selling it.” That applies to such issues as student discipline and AP versus honors courses.

Moon called the school board’s decision on the Annandale regional study “heartbreaking for me,” but says, “I believe in democracy, and we need to move forward with this.” Moon had supported an amendment to allow students in the Wakefield area to stay at Annandale High School, but the measure lost on a 6-6 tie vote.
Moon told the crowd he came from a very poor family in Korea, and his parents came to the United States in 1974 to provide better educational opportunities for their children.

In weighing whether to seek a fourth term, Moon says, that with so many incumbents leaving the board, he felt it’s important to be the “voice of experience” and “the voice for those who are underrepresented on the Fairfax County school board.”

With limited resources, he says, the board “will have to find efficiencies,” and he would like to put limited resources where they are most needed—in the classroom. He said he welcomes “the fresh new ideas of the new board members.”

The school board elections are attracting a lot of attention because of the high turnover and the controversial issues the board addressed last year.

In a conversation with the Annandale blogger at the Moon event, Rex Simmons, chair of the Fairfax County Democratic Committee, criticized some of the Republican-endorsed school board candidates for being single-issue candidates. For example, he says Elizabeth Schultz, who is running in the Springfield District, is all about blasting the board for closing Clifton Elementary School. “It was the Republicans in the state legislature that cut funding for the school system,” Simmons noted, “and that put pressure on the Fairfax County school board to make that difficult decision.”

Another key race pits Janet Oleszek against Braddock District supervisor John Cook. Oleszek narrowly beat Chris Wade in the Democratic primary Aug. 23.

Simmons says Cook is totally beatable, as long people understand some of the extreme positions he’s taken, including converting Braddock Road into a toll road and turning the Fairfax County Parkway into a major highway with tolls.

According to Simmons, Cook is aligned with the Tea Party agenda and is “out of touch with Fairfax County.”

Among the elected officials at the Moon event were state senators Vivian Watts and Chap Peterson, Del. Eileen Filler-Corn, Lee District Supervisor Jeff McKay, school board chair Jane Strauss (Dranesville), and school board member Brad Center (Lee).

Candidates on hand included Oleszek, Megan McLaughlin (running for the school board in the Braddock District), John Wittman (running for the school board in Springfield), at-large school board candidates Ted Velkoff and Ryan McElveen, and George Lamb (running for the Soil and Water Conservation Board).

Moon said “it means a lot to me that so many people came out to support me in this weather.”

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the article! Moons kick-off party was a great event, and I was pleased to take part.

    John Wittman
    Candidate for Springfield Seat on Fairfax County School Board