Some of the most commonly uttered phrases are “independent audit,” “outputs,” and “consumers.” If you had stumbled into a forum on accident, you’d think you were in a boardroom of an agriculture company with a bunch of middle-managers vying for a promotion.
The truth is, students aren’t “outputs” and parents aren’t merely “consumers.” They are people whose future we’re seeking to shape. Running schools is not a business—it’s a passion. And when people approach running for School Board as if they were pursuing a hostile takeover of FCPS, it becomes more about themselves than the students in the system.
Heard less often in debates are the phrases “increased funding,” “long-term” and “equity.” The honest truth is that, as student population expands, our schools aren’t going to survive without budget increases. “Independent audit” has become code for “I need an answer to a budgeting question that doesn’t imply tax increases.” But candidates are kidding themselves if they think all the necessary funding for our expanding school system can come solely from an independent audit. After all, if there aren’t funding increases, there will have to be program cuts.
Yes, there are problems in our schools and ways to continue finding efficiencies in our school administration. But we need School Board members who will rebuild and advance our school system after the recession, not slash-and-burn it.