Fairfax Co. Chairman: No to 5.7 percent hike for schools - FOX 35 News Orlando

Fairfax Co. Chairman: No to 5.7 percent hike for schools

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Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova

The top elected official in Fairfax County on Wednesday said "no" to the request by the new superintendent of schools to raise local education spending by 5.7 percent.

That almost certainly means larger class sizes in Fairfax County schools next year.

The "no" came from the Sharon Bulova, the Democratic Chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. She made the comment in a briefing with reporters after showing her recorded "State of the County" speech.

Fairfax County, with well over a million residents, is the most populous jurisdiction in Virginia. And its huge public school system is generally well-regarded, and it's well-funded. In her prepared remarks, Chairman Bulova said, "In fiscal year 2014, 53 percent of our general budget fund was transferred to the Fairfax County Public School System, a sum of roughly $1.9 billion."

"Education is our highest priority," said Chairman Sharon Bulova in her speech.

But when reporters asked Bulova if she supports the superintendent's requested increase, the Chairman replied: "They're just not going to get what they've asked for."

School populations are mushrooming, and the new superintendent is warning of an increase in class size by about one student per room in middle and high schools, and a slightly smaller increase in classroom populations in elementary schools.

The teachers’ union is dismayed that the chairman is saying "no" to the 5.7 percent increase.

Kimberly Adams, the president of the Fairfax Education Association, told us: "We've seen a year where we've increased class size by nearly two students, and that we devastating.

What year was that?

“I believe that was 2009 that we went up that high,” said Adams. “And it hasn't come back down from then. The teacher work load has led to low morale. It's led to issues like teachers leaving the profession."

On a less controversial note, the state of the county presentation included a speech by the police chief citing exceptionally low crime rates.

And the newly-elected sheriff, who runs the jail, promised to seek ways to improve mental health treatment for some inmates, both while in the facility, and afterward when they are back in the community.

In her presentation, the chairman of the county board said Fairfax hotels are already being booked for weeks in July of 2015 for the "World Police and Fire Games" -- a huge event with 7,000 first responder participants, and another 20,000 spectators.

All of those visitors are expected to spend quite a sum in local restaurants and hotels.

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