Mount Vernon School Board Rep. Dan Storck Talks With Patch

What are his priorities for the new school year?

The 2012-2013 school year has begun, and the Fairfax County School Board will be working from now until next summer to keep the doors open and the lights on for the nation's 11th-largest school system. On Tuesday, Patch spoke with Mount Vernon School Board representative Dan Storck to talk about the specific issues he will tackle this school year. 

Storck, who was reelected last November, has served on the board since 2003, and served as chairman from 2007-2009. His tenure has been marred by difficulty, particularly with a growing student population during a recessionary period and has resulted in tough budget calls, including freezing teacher compensation and postponing capital improvement projects. 

"Funding per student is going down and student growth is going up," Storck said. "The system is being pushed hard to maintain the quality that we're known for around the world. How is it that other school systems spend so much money and we get better results? We have more kids, and more of them speaking other languages, and more special ed. students."

Cost Per Pupil 

School Division FY 2011 Approved FY 2012 Approved Arlington County $17,322  $18,047 Alexandria City $16,983  $17,618 Falls Church City $16,729  $16,309 Montgomery County  n/a $14,776 Fairfax County $12,597  $12,820 Prince George's County $11,611   $11,753 Manassas City $11,351  $11,478 Loudoun County $10,833  $11,014 Manassas Park City n/a $9,888 Prince William County $9,577  $9,852

Fairfax County Public Schools gets nearly 70 percent of its budget from the county, and it looks like there will be no increase in the county transfer this year. 

"County departments have been told they have to look at 5 percent cuts across the board, and we should not look at any increases," said Storck. "But what does the community want? We're one of the best school systems on earth, we're continuing to grow and we can't continue to negatively impact the quality of what we're trying to do by being held back."

That means that teacher salaries may be frozen. Fairfax County teachers are, on average, ranked third in the state when it comes to salaries, according to the Virginia Department of Education. Arlington and Alexandria have average teacher salaries of roughly $70,000. Fairfax County has an average teacher salary of about $64,000.   

"Previously, we froze wages for two years," said Storck. "It's essential we continue to pay our staff well, especially if we want to retain the best and the brightest."

The Mount Vernon District will also be looking at a boundary study this year. "We're in the initial steps, but we are going to be identifying steps that we need to take over the next six months for all of the middle and high schools in the Mount Vernon district," said Storck. 

The School Board will also be looking at moving up the start time at county high schools. "They need to start after 8 a.m. It's essential to student health," said Storck. "Their biological clocks are set different than that of adults. When young kids have to be up at 5 a.m. to get to the bus at 6 a.m. - for most adults that would be a killer. We can do better."

John Farrell September 06, 2012 at 01:17 PM
Dan should have been voted chair this Spring.
Tom Cadorette September 06, 2012 at 02:17 PM
As a Mount Vernon resident, with an 8-yr-old attending FCPS, I am very happy that Dan Storck is our representative -- Dan just plain "gets" it.
Kari Warren September 07, 2012 at 01:01 AM
I respect and admire Dan Storck. I do not have a problem with FCPS not getting additional funding in the coming fiscal budget. There are too many other programs being run at bare bones, with many of our needed programs dying. If we can't get basic needs met in this county, I don't see how those students can be successful. FCPS received a 3% increase this past year, while none of the other services received any increases. Payrolls are frozen across the board...whether they be private or government. I don't relish that fact, but I do not see where one system can afford to continue to receive more and more when the supporting systems for our children are dwindling away. Our children cannot learn if they have no homes, if they are in a violent environment, or if they have no food. Just as our other systems are having to "make do," I think the school system should do just that as well. Again, I wish we all could have the optimal services. But, when times are tough, we all need to get creative. Throwing money at one part of the spectrum does not help the whole.


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