What’s trending on our twitter feed? Stafford County parents are chattering about the Stafford County School Board’s recent vote to cut many of the middle school math coaches. The cuts were made necessary by the Stafford County Board of Supervisors’ failure to fully fund the school board's budget request for FY 2015.
In a May 14 article on the Stafford County School Board budget, Free Lance-Star education reporter Vanessa Remmers cites additional painful cuts which will lead to increased class sizes, decreased benefits to teachers and loss of staff.
The story illuminates the change in Stafford County's long standing record of significant investements in great schools. Tough decisions are having to be made. For example, Stafford County has more special programs available to its students than any other local school system. [Full Disclosure: my husband and I bought a house and moved to Stafford County in 2011 to enroll our daughter in their outstanding Governor’s Technical Academy for Engineering (STAT).]
According to a school board source, focus groups asked to suggest additional cuts to the 2016 budget mentioned cutting or consolidating some of these special programs, which include the International Baccalaureate program, Advanced Placement classes and APPX diplomas, Commonwealth Governor’s School and the Governor's Technical and Engineering Academies.
Meanwhile, the area business community—represented by the Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce—boasts at least three committees that emphasize the importance of preparing the area's workforce for STEM jobs.The FredTech committee recently awarded three area educators for outstanding work in STEM education. The Workforce NOW committee works tirelessly to encourage area students to prepare for demanding STEM careers and recently partnered with Stafford to create a Stafford Work and Education Program committee. The Military Affairs Council (MAC) was created to encourage the federal government to keep our military bases in the area during the Base Realignment (BRAC) discussion. This means they must prove to military decision-makers we have an educated populace ready to fill base jobs.
There seems to be a new disconnect between what area business leaders are asking for in the workforce and community and the investment the Stafford County government is willing to make.
What can our readers do? If you are a Stafford County parent who would like to encourage the Board of Supervisors to support your children's future, as well as the economic well-being of the Fredericksburg area in the future, apply to serve on school board committees. The applications to serve on the Finance committee and the Career Technical Education committee (the two most directly affecting budget and special programs) and many others are available at http://bit.ly/scps-committees. The new superintendent for Stafford County, Dr. Bruce Benson, has been here a mere five weeks at the time of this editorial's composition. Moving forward, he needs parental support to build a community willing to do what it takes to create an outstanding education system in FY 2016.
For a list of the Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce FredTech STEM educator award winners go to http://bit.ly/fredtech-teacher-of-year
For information on the Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce Workforce NOW committee go to http://bit.ly/stafford-swep
For information on the Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce MAC committee go to http://bit.ly/scps-committees
For access to Vanessa Remmers education reporting go to http://bit.ly/remmer-budget
For information on boat and plane taxes in Stafford County go to http://bit.ly/boat-tax
For access to Stafford County school board members go to http://bit.ly/scps-school-board
For access to Stafford County Board of Supervisors go to http://bit.ly/stafford-supervisors