The Hunter Mill Candidates Forum is at 2 p.m. at RCC Hunters Woods.
Expected to appear is hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins, who is running unopposed, as well as school board candidates for the Hunter Mill seat.
Running for school board is Pat Hynes, the current FCPS board chair who is seeking re-election to a second term, and challenger Mark Wilkinson, and Oak Hill businessman.
The entire FCPS school board is up for re-election in the Nov. 3 race. There are nine candidates running for three At-Large seats.
Hynes, of Reston, is a former lawyer and teacher who has served on the board since 2012.
“Maintaining Fairfax County Public Schools’ world-class reputation in the twenty-first century demands visionary leadership,” Hynes says on her website. “This community expects its schools to be the best. We are preparing our students for careers that do not yet exist. What we know for sure is that our graduates will have to be flexible, creative problem-solvers who collaborate well and have strong communication skills. We must continue to build a culture that innovates from the classroom, supports our world class educators and sets high expectations for every student.”
Wilkinson says on his website he is concerned about FCPS’ budget, class sizes, and other issues.
“I believe that the children of Fairfax County must come first with any decisions made by the school establishment, particularly the School Board,” says Wilkinson. “I am well suited to be an independent and non-partisan advocate for children and sound education.
“As a parent, I know that no one knows a child and his/her needs as well as a parent. I have been troubled by the appearance, the current Board has given, that it has a disregard for parent knowledge and involvement. There is no room for a “we know best” attitude from the School Board.”
Photos: Pat Hynes (top) and Mark Wilkinson (bottom).
Oak Hill consultant Mark Wilkinson is one of two candidates running for the Fairfax County Public Schools Hunter Mill school board seat. Reston Now is running Q-and-As with both candidates. Incumbent Pat Hynes’ responses were published earlier this week.
The two candidates will participate in a forum in Reston on Oct. 24. The election is Nov. 3.
Reston Now: Why do you want to serve on the school board?
MW: First and foremost, I’m a dad of a recent graduate of FCPS, and concerned, as all of us are, that our Fairfax County school system risks losing its status as a world-class system. And in my over 20 years residing in Fairfax County, I’ve seen some very disturbing trends in large class sizes, mismanagement of the FCPS budget, and a “we know best” attitude from the School Board.
My desire to serve on the FCPS School Board stems from my desire to give something back to the Fairfax County community, put our children first, and use my 35 years budget experience to turn around the FCPS budget. I want to re-establish the community’s trust in the School Board as advocates for our children.
RN: What makes you uniquely qualified to serve the school board?
MW: I’m not a politician, yet it doesn’t take a politician to see that this school board needs financial expertise and strong leadership to fix its $75-100M budget deficit. Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) is the 10th largest school system in the United States, and it requires strong leadership and people who know how to manage government programs, and who understand policy, budgets, strategy, and contracts. These are the key activities of a school board member.
I have 35 years as a public servant doing just that – managing budgets five times the size of FCPS’s budget, establishing policy, setting strategic direction that crossed multiple federal agencies. I will demand accountability and transparency, and ask the hard questions that are necessary to ensure that FCPS does not lose its status as a world-class school system.
RN: What are the three biggest concerns you have about FCPS?
MW: My plan is simple — reduce class size, fix the budget, increase teacher compensation, and close the achievement gap — which will improve the lives of ALL FCPS children. And as an independent and non-partisan advocate for our children, teachers, and the taxpayers of Fairfax County, I will do what is right for all children of Fairfax County — to improve their education, their quality of life, their future.
We need to improve student/teacher ratios because part of being responsive to the needs of children is a lower student-to-teacher ratio in overcrowded classrooms. The more interaction a teacher has with each student, the better the student will comprehend and retain what is taught. Unfortunately, over 50 percent of our Hunter Mill District elementary schools have had the largest class sizes in the county for the past several years.
The current FCPS School Board’s failure, to date, to remedy our children’s class size disparity — despite an overwhelming need to do so — is an issue I intend to address. Many current school board members distort the facts by talking about decreasing the classes across the entire FCPS when only 20 percent of the schools need reduction. Hunter Mill schools happen to be in that situation. (more…)
The event is at 7 p.m. at James Madison High Schools, 2500 James Madison Dr., Vienna.
The event will feature a meet-and-greet, as well as a question-and-answer session.
Read more about the candidates by clicking on their names below.
The At-Large School Board candidates are:
Ryan L. McElveen (Incumbent)
Ilryong Moon (Incumbent)
Theodore J. “Ted” Velkoff (Incumbent)
This event is sponsored by: the League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area, the American Association of University Women of Virginia, the Fairfax County Council of Parent Teacher Associations, the Voice of Vietnamese Americans, and the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.
A similar event with Hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins (running unopposed) and Hunter Mill School Board candidates Pat Hynes (incumbent) and Mark Wilkinson will take place at Reston Community Center Hunters Woods Oct. 24 at 2 p.m.