Scott Gordon: Right For Our Kids, Wrong Solution

Scott Gordon, Republican candidate for City Council in Alexandria, has an excellent Letter To the Editor in the local Alexandria Times newspaper in which he shows his priorities are in the right place when it comes to the kids currently enrolled in the Alexandria Public School system.

As we have posted before, why is Dr. Morton Sherman redistributing spending under the proposed 2013 school budget to his office? Certainly, streamlining the Central Office can save some of the teacher positions. One thing Scott says in the comments beneath the op-ed is troubling. More on this in a moment…

Scott writes:

My name is Scott Gordon, and I write this today not as a candidate for Alexandria City Council but as a husband, father and concerned resident.

I’d like to make just a few comments regarding the proposed fiscal year 2013 budget cuts as they’re related to a number of expenditure increases directed to the superintendent’s office.

I fear with these cuts, ACPS may be slowly moving our already financially and physically strained school system backward. The proposed cuts to special education staff limit the potential learning opportunities of children with more complicated learning needs. The elimination of a visiting science teacher position weakens an already, statistically, weak area of study in Alexandria and limits the exciting and energizing engagement between students and the subject. The 10-percent decrease in funding for extended learning opportunities does just that — decreases additional learning opportunities for students and adults of all ages. The budget stagnancy for ELL teachers is going to hurt the learning potential of the many Alexandrians who enter our school system having English as a second language.

Cuts and budget stagnancy can sometimes be explained by fiscal trouble on a citywide level. However, these cuts have been suggested alongside a number of increases I believe are without merit, and these include nearly $222,000 in budget expenditure increases specifically designed for the ACPS Office of the Superintendent.

Now is not the time for raises; now is not the time to employ assistants for assistants while we cut teaching and staff positions at 54 percent of our middle schools.

Responsible spending should be the idea of the day.

This is an awesome and exactly correct. However, when questioned by a resident in the comments over Dr. Sherman & staff’s outrageous salaries, Scott said this:

Additionally, I believe that FULL creation and oversight of the ACPS budget should be taken away from the Superintendent and School Board and should be a joint effort with the City Manager and City Council as well so as to prevent mis-use of funds and poor resource allocation.

Wrong.

Our kids and City would NOT benefit from the creation of another bureaucracy. After all, the School Board and Central Office have been really great for the kids haven’t they? Why should voters trust City Hall to do any better by our kids?

Instead, it is my hope Mr. Gordon would push for competition for our public schools through school choice, not more bureaucracy. Competition makes our schools better and our kids will be better for it.

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