Loudoun proposes $2.5 billion budget

Loudoun County Administrator Tim Hemstreet kicked off the county’s annual budget review process Wednesday by presenting a proposed spending plan for fiscal 2018 that funds almost all of the school system’s request and provides staffing for several new facilities while holding property tax bills steady.

The $2.5 billion budget complies with the Board of Supervisors’ demand for a plan that avoids increasing the average homeowners’ tax bills. It would boost local funding by $61 million for the school system and $27.7 million for the general county government.

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The Washington Post, Feb. 19, 2017

Sterling school holds mock election

Hundreds of voters showed up at Potowmack Elementary School on Oct. 28, stated their address, logged on to an election website and cast their vote for president of the United States.

Although their votes won’t decide who will be the next president — it being a mock election — students at the Sterling school got a taste of how America’s brand of democracy works.

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Washington Post, Nov. 6, 2016

Deputies learning about autism

Drew Gutenson loves to talk about his collection of prescription eyeglasses and his fondness for playgrounds — slides, swings, trampolines and zip lines.

Gutenson, who describes himself as a high-functioning adult with autism, knows that some skills are particularly challenging for him, such as sensing when people don’t want to talk to him. He also understands that his fondness for playgrounds can be a source of concern for those who don’t know him.

“I have a beard,” he said. “If they see an older adult with a beard on a playground, most people think it’s not good at all.”

Gutenson, 25, of Lovettsville spoke to a group of 14 sheriff’s deputies and other criminal justice professionals in Leesburg on Tuesday at the advocacy group the Arc of Loudoun on Paxton Campus, a nonprofit organization that provides educational programs and other services for people with disabilities.

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Q & A with Principal of Madison’s Trust

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David Stewart, Principal of Madison’s Trust

Madison’s Trust Elementary in Brambleton will become Loudoun’s newest school when students return to classes Aug. 29.

The school’s name refers to a notable incident during the War of 1812, when the British burned the White House, and important government documents were temporarily hidden in Loudoun County. The word “trust” refers to the faith President James Madison placed in Loudoun residents to keep the records safe, county public schools spokesman Wayde Byard said.

David Stewart is the school’s principal. Stewart, 43, comes to Madison’s Trust from Guilford Elementary School in Sterling, where he was principal for 10 years. Before that, he taught fourth and fifth grades in Spotsylvania and Loudoun counties, and he was assistant principal at Cedar Lane Elementary School in Ashburn.

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New folk school opens in Waterford

A new school opening in Waterford asks people to step away from their screens for three days and focus on learning traditional crafts and skills.

The Waterford Heritage Crafts School will offer its first classes Friday through next Sunday, giving students a chance to receive a hands-on introduction to archaeology or to learn how to restore antique windows, make quilts or mix and apply lime mortar.

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Washington Post, Aug. 14, 2016

 

Students guiding students

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From left: Maria Brock, Nia Dumas and Noelle Branch lead a seminar on AP classes.

A dozen students had crowded into a small conference room at Loudoun County High School in Leesburg last month to learn about Advanced Placement classes.

Unlike similar sessions — typically led by teachers or counselors — the seminar was conducted by four student leaders who, collectively, had taken nearly every AP test the school offers. They stood at the front of the darkened room, delivering a slide presentation and sharing their experiences with the underclassmen.

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Washington Post, March 6, 2016

School board asks for $1.07 billion

In a meeting with the Board of Supervisors on Monday, the Loudoun County School Board presented its case for full funding of a $1.07 billion budget it is seeking for fiscal 2017.

Schools Superintendent Eric Williams outlined a plan that would add hundreds of teachers and other school-based staff members to keep pace with enrollment growth, give employees a pay increase and more than double the number of students in full-day kindergarten.

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Washington Post, February 28, 2016

County Administrator recommends tax hike

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County Administrator Tim Hemstreet

Loudoun County Administrator Tim Hemstreet followed the Board of Supervisors’ instructions and delivered a budget plan for the county government and school system for fiscal 2017 that would hold the property tax rate steady at $1.135 per $100 of assessed value.

But Hemstreet stopped short of recommending the $2.5 billion spending plan, which he presented Feb. 10, saying that it was “not adequate to protect the current level of service in many areas.”

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Washington Post, February 21, 2016

Fairfax schools join green alliance

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Rory Witter, a first grader at Daniels Run Elementary, places a birdseed cake in a tree.

Fairfax County Public Schools — already recognized nationally for its commitment to environmental education — has united with some of the largest school districts in the country to support environmental sustainability.

Joining the Green Schools Alliance District Collaborative with New York City, Chicago and other large school districts will help Fairfax obtain favorable prices for materials that advance conservation and environmental sustainability, school officials said. The group will also share ideas, attempt to influence policy and promote environmental education.

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Washington Post, February 17, 2016

Loudoun student heads to Antarctica

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Andrea Mares at the Loudoun Academy of Science

As a student at the Loudoun Academy of Science, Andrea Mares has mingled with residents of remote Smith Island in the Chesapeake Bay. She has traveled to Austria to work with a company that manufactures solar panels, and she has presented the results of a collaborative research project to judges in Singapore.

This month, the high school senior will add Chile to her list of educational travels, en route to her most far-flung destination yet: Antarctica.

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Washington Post, January 10, 2016