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VOTE411 Voter Guide

Falls Church School Board {_getChooseLabel(this.selections.length)}

The School Board s primary responsibilities are to set policy for the school division, approve the annual budget, develop a strategic plan, and hire a superintendent to operate the school division in accordance with board policy.
CHOOSE TWO CANDIDATES FROM BELOW TO COMPARE
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    Gregory John Anderson (N) Scientist, Program Manager

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    Richard J. Crespin (N) CEO

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    Alison B. Kutchma (N) Education Advocate

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    Shannon A. Litton (N) Government Relations

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    Shawna E. Russell (N) Full-time parent and volunteer

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    Lawrence L. Webb (N) Senior Enrollment Specialist

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Biographical Information

Will you vote for or against the high school bond referendum and why?

How would you balance the school system's funding with the funding for City services and obligations?

Is there a part of FCCPS (technology, special education, gifted and talented, English language learners, etc.) where additional resources need to be directed immediately (in the next 1-3 years)?

Biography City resident and FCCPS volunteer since 2009. Father of freshman at GMHS. Scientist, large program manager, and supervisor in government, academia, and nonprofit sectors for over 15 years. UC Berkeley bachelor’s; UC San Diego Earth sciences PhD.
Web site www.gregforfccps.com; facebook.com/gregforfccps
Email address gregforfccps@gmail.com
Telephone (571) 354-7436
I intend to vote for the referendum. Our current school has insufficient capacity and critical systems at risk of failure, and is ill-suited to 21st century learning. Passing the referendum would allow us to replace our current school, but doesn’t put us onto a highway with no off-ramps. There would be lots of hard work yet to come, which, as a Board member, I would tackle collaboratively with my Board colleagues, City Council, school and city staff, and the community.
City Council ultimately sets the balance, working with the School Board. The Board must make decisions in students’ best interest, but within the broader City context. As a Board member, I would foster this partnership through personal connection. I also support (1) a transparent, collaborative budget process to identify efficiencies and (2) considering novel methods to set the school budget allocation while preserving educational quality, perhaps even including a revenue sharing model.
Rising operational costs are a key concern. I’d allocate resources to (1) an external review of FCCPS operational practices to identify possible cost containment measures that wouldn’t harm student outcomes; (2) implementing the most beneficial approaches; (3) a streamlined, FCCPS-wide professional development plan to reduce cost while providing recruitment and retention incentives for top-quality educators; and (4) an updated comprehensive plan to optimize facilities and related investments.
Biography Richard is a lifelong entrepreneur. His firm, CollaborateUp, works to accelerate collaboration among businesses, governments, & NGOs when they work together to solve big problems. He is an alumnus of George Washington & the Harvard Business School.
Web site www.votecrespin.org
Email address Vote@letsgofallschurch.org
Telephone 9176050742
I’m voting YES & invite others to as well. GMHS is falling apart. Our schools are a big part of our community. If their reputation wanes so will our community & our property values. A referendum is like a pre-approval for a mortgage. No developer will take us seriously until we approve it. Only then can we get more detailed information. But voters should ask WHO they want overseeing city and school finances? As a lifelong entrepreneur, I have the experience to ensure we manage effectively.
We need whole systems thinking. Instead of pitting one part of our community against another, we should look at the whole community & work to accommodate multiple needs. Ex: build a branch of the public library in the new high school or offer greater senior services on the redeveloped site. I will work with my School Board & City Council colleagues to develop more inclusive & less contentious budgeting. Other districts use budget processes with greater transparency, flexibility, & stability.
Vocations. Preparing students for the 21st Century increasingly means careers without 4-year college degrees. Superintendent Noonan recently addressed closing the achievement gap: we do a good job serving students at the top & bottom but not middle. Vocations can cost effectively close the gap. Again, we need a whole systems approach, addressing multiple needs at once. Ex: Food services head, Richard Kane, integrated nutrition into curriculum, growing food & teaching STEM, ag, & business skills.
Biography A 15-year resident, Alison has raised 3 GMHS graduates (2010,13, & 15). Alison’s advocacy, comments at school board meetings and budget work sessions (for 4 years) has inspired budget transparency dialogue and increased access for every child.
Web site https://www.alisonkutchmaforschoolboard.com
Email address alisonkutchma@gmail.com
Telephone 703-507-4465
I will be voting No. The voters need to understand fully the financial risks and obligations before committing to the project. They do not. There are too many unknowns to vote yes on a project of this size. Passage can start the clock ticking on the bond which reduces our bargaining position with developers. Let’s move forward, design our needs, while assessing developer interest. Let’s avoid another Mt. Daniel fiasco. Let’s do this project in the right order and scale for our community.
It begins with transparent school budgets complete with clear and meaningful data. For example, computer purchases should not be under the heading “Other Rentals”. Spending should be accounted for clearly with costs to date with year end analysis. Look again at combining school and city functions and eliminating non essential positions. Keep teachers and student outcomes our first priority. The right balance will provide a secure future for the City of Falls Church and all of its taxpayers.
Yes. We need to address achievement gaps particularly in the subgroups of Limited English Proficiency, Economically Disadvantaged, and Students with Disabilities immediately and have students graduate with basic skills. Analyze recently generated ESOL and Special Education audits to create action plans. Conduct audits for all programs and subgroups at least every 5 years. Use the generated data to assess effectiveness of programs and direct resources where needs are identified.
Biography Shannon and her husband Sean have lived in the City for over ten years and currently have children at Mt. Daniel, MEH, and George Mason. Shannon currently works at an education non-profit and has worked on federal and state education policy.
Web site http://shannonforschoolboard17.weebly.com/
Email address Shannon_ashpole@hotmail.com
Telephone 202-834-3967
I support the bond referendum because GMHS is in a state of disrepair and we need to act to address the pressing space, access, safety, and infrastructure issues at the facility. Passing the referendum is the first step in moving forward on a plan and while I support the referendum, I believe we must consider plans for commercial development carefully and cautiously. Ensuring safe routes to school, adequate green space, and turning our space into a lifelong learning campus should be considered.
Our City currently does a good job balancing the needs of the school system with the broader City needs, spending about half the budget on schools and the other half on city needs, and I do not expect a major deviation away from the current balance. My vision is that Falls Church will be a ‘lifelong city’ where people want to spend their entire lives. Everyone benefits from having a diversity of ages in our community, so balancing the needs of a variety of groups in the budget is essential.
Recent third party studies looked at areas for improvement in our district ELL and Special Education programs and found attention should be paid to adequate staffing levels, teacher training, and planning time between teachers. I would also note that students still spend a significant portion of their day mainstreamed into the classroom, so ensuring appropriate class size and qualified teachers in every classroom is essential for providing all students with the help and assistance they need.
Biography Mother of 2. FCC resident since 2008. M.A. in Communications. Former FCEPTA President. Executive PTA Board Member multiple times. Regular room parent & classroom volunteer at MD and TJ, FCEF volunteer. Created the Hippo-Tiger-Giraffe games.
Web site shawna4schoolboard.com
Email address shawna4schoolboard@gmail.com
Telephone 703-887-1866
A new high school is pivotal to our community’s continued success. I toured Mason with the FCCPS Facilities Director and saw firsthand how it is far beyond its useful life and poorly designed for modern secondary education. My yes vote supports a functional building with a 50+ year lifespan and the cost substantially offset by new commercial tax revenue. A no vote kicks this can down the road another ten years while spending tens of millions just to bring a poor facility up to code.
We must balance funding our schools with City services and obligations. I have witnessed many budget cycles as a spectator and I know a lot goes into the planning and forecasting; it can be a tense and difficult process. When I first moved to Falls Church, School Board and Council worked together well. Both groups wanted our schools and the broader community to succeed, supported by a healthy balance of shared investment and community support. We need to find that balance again.
Every part of FCCPS could do more with more resources. However, I’m not running to promote investment in one group of students over another. My focus is on FCCPS as a whole. The new school board will be focused on returning stability to the school system and moving forward after the voters have spoken on the high school referendum. We need leaders on the school board who know our schools and can work with teachers, administrators, and our community to maintain our success and high standards.
Biography Lawrence Webb has served as a member of the Falls Church City School Board since 2014 and was selected by the members of the board to serve as chairman for 2017.
Web site www.webbforfallschurch.com
Email address webbforfallschurch@hotmail.com
Telephone 703-532-1043
I will be voting in support of the school bond referendum. The replacement of George Mason High School is long overdue. We have kicked the can down the road for over a decade and the only thing that was accomplished was band-aiding the problem, while cost continued to escalate. I worked over the last three years with my board colleagues, the city council, community, and outside consultants to review 13 options that included renovation and new construction. We decided on new construction.
I worked with the city council this year as chairman of the board to sit down and discuss the real needs, and not the wants, of the school system during the most recent budget season. I understand that we are one community that has other obligations to make our little city sustainable. Great schools are an important part of that helping to maintain the value of homes in the community. However, we must also pave our streets and provide for public safety.
There are always needs in those areas that can use additional resources. Realistically, we must prioritize where we can put additional resources. For example, we updated laptops across the system as it is a high-level need to have functional technology. I also want to address priorities that have been identified in recent audits with both the English Language Learners program. We need additional staff to provide additional support to help students succeed.

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