City Council to Vote on School Budget
Dear Mayor Euille and Members of the City Council:
I am concerned that you are considering cutting the ACPS budget at your add-delete work session on Monday. As President of the T.C. Williams High School Parent-Teacher-Student Association I am very aware of both the current state of the schools and what our parents feel about our schools. Contrary to the opinion of the few loud critics currently running for City Council, all of the parents I have talked to in our PTSA , serving both the King Street and Minnie Howard campuses (that’s 3,000 students), are happy with their children’s education. It’s not perfect but there is a decided improvement in the TC curriculum, faculty, principal, discipline and student expectations since Dr. Sherman began working in ACPS. To we parents, those are the most important aspects of education along with facilities and we were already blessed with a wonderful building.
Our PTSA spends a great deal of time communicating with our community through our weekly email newsletter, our Facebook page, our website and our monthly meetings. I often get questions or comments about many topics but I have not received a single mention of Superintendent Mort Sherman or the CIP problem or the Adult education problem. In fact, we widely advertised for several weeks that Dr. Sherman was coming to our April meeting last week and we solicited requests for discussion topics. This is what was submitted by parents: building tennis courts at TC Williams, the state waiver for No Child Left Behind legislation, how TC will deal with the loss of the $1 million transformation money next year, and the new satellite campus. Not one person at our meeting said a negative thing to Dr. Sherman and all were grateful he took the time to come to our meeting. You are too busy reading letters to the editor and are out of touch with what parents really think. Parents know that ACPS Central Office started both the investigations of the CIP accounting and the Adult Ed program and we are happy with the resulting improvements in these areas. If ACPS parents were upset with their children’s education, they would testify before the School board. Believe me, ACPS parents are not shy about speaking at School Board meetings when there is a problem!
My husband and I went to Alexandria public schools and we both graduated from TC. Our older two children are TC graduates now in college and our youngest is in 10th grade. So I have a long history of involvement with our schools and since my children have been in ACPS we have had three superintendents. Dr. Sherman is by far the best superintendent I’ve seen here in terms of student academic achievement. If you cut the budget my 10th grader will be ok. I am more concerned for my little brother’s son who is starting kindergarten at Lyles-Crouch this fall. I am concerned that the family-friendly Alexandria I have loved for so long is developing an anti-child bias, and that just as more and more children are entering ACPS you are entertaining the false notion that since only 15% of households in Alexandria have children you don’t need to cover the cost of educating them. Arlington and Fairfax both spend a bigger chunk of their budget than Alexandria and Dr. Sherman has brought the cost per pupil down!
Please know that although parents are often too busy with their children to write letters to the editor or come to City Council meetings, we do vote and T.C. Williams parents will be informed of council actions regarding school budget cuts.
Thank you to those of you who do care about our kids.