VG: Are you thinking of running for Chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors?
WR: Yes. As Chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, I will advocate for our community and our people. In his final budget, Governor Tim Kaine showed callous disregard for our students. On March 29, I will share with our current Board of Supervisors how to prevent future Governors from denying Fairfax County our fair share of funding for basic education.
We Virginians recognize our responsibility to ensure every child in the Commonwealth has access to a quality education. Our commitment is firmly established. Still, Fairfax should stop supplementing other taxpayers by over $1.1 billion dollars annually. Richmond’s current scheme means Fairfax taxpayers similarly positioned in terms of income and home value pay more than Virginians in other locations for basic education. Yet, our Chairman remains silent.
Basic education is the core curricula mandated on localities by state governments. In the great majority of states, the legislature funds 100% of basic education. With my plan we only seek fair, equal treatment of taxpayers, localities and students throughout the Commonwealth.
Virginia’s current funding formula known generally as the Local Composite Index (LCI) is biased against Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS). According to the FY 2011 FCPS Adopted Budget, we received $1,885 per pupil, while the state average allocation per pupil was $4,175 in FY 2009 and a number of localities received more than $8,000 per student.
That’s right. We received 45% of the state’s average funding per pupil. Said differently, the state’s average funding per pupil was 122% higher than the support we received to serve our students in meeting mandates set by Richmond. Yet, silence.
As Chairman, I will build bipartisan consensus among my colleagues on the Board immediately after the November election. Together we will advocate with singular purpose for our General Assembly delegation to achieve education funding parity.
My plan directly benefits every locality in the Commonwealth, except one. Lee County in southwest Virginia indirectly benefits. I will reach out to our contemporaries in localities throughout the Commonwealth showing them how they and their communities will benefit from education funding parity. They will advocate with their General Assembly delegations. The General Assembly can prime the engines of economic growth throughout Virginia by meeting its basic education funding obligations with parity.
Leading the General Assembly to stop shorting our students and commit to education funding parity will greatly benefit our quality of life. Our public schools will receive $1.1 billion more from Richmond through education funding parity. We will create a new choice. We can lower real estate taxes by 55%. Or, we can lower real estate taxes by 30% and invest $500 million annually to address local priorities in education, transportation and other services.
As Chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, I will pursue a vision for our community with bipartisan support generating economic growth, expanded opportunity and lower taxes.
VG: What are the 3 or 4 main issues facing the county?
WR: With my comprehensive plan, I am putting forward a clear method of measuring my performance. I am standing for the future of Fairfax County and our people because I want to achieve important milestones for our community. I am not running merely to be Chairman. The public office is an instrument to achieve something more important. My service will be measured by important quality of life issues including education, transportation and diversified economic growth. With 20 years experience serving on state, regional and local public committees as well as nonprofit boards, my focus remains creating effective, sustainable solutions to the challenges confronting our community.
VG: Can Bulova be beaten?
WR: A campaign focused on beating chairman number nine would be very shallow. I possess a vision and a desire to serve the people of Fairfax County. Sharon is not the issue. It is time to promote her to join Tom, Kate and Gerry as a former Chairman. She has served as a steward type chairman stuck in a holding pattern with no vision for Fairfax County’s future. Who is happy with her leadership? Parents, teachers, emergency responders, county employees, taxpayers, drivers, business leaders and others all have serious reasons to be displeased with Bulova’s tenure as Chairman.
As Chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, I will advocate for our community and our people. Sharon has put herself in a box in seeking re-election. Does she support education funding parity? If she does, then why has she done nothing to achieve it for 24 years? She has not said a word. If she does not support education funding parity, then why does she oppose fair, equal treatment for Fairfax County taxpayers and students? What does Sharon Bulova aspire to achieve for Fairfax County in the next four years? So far, she has not shown any leadership.