Please Help Us Understand

Before I begin I want to say that I like Milt Johns.  I think he’s an intelligent, kind, and generous man.  He’s a brilliant attorney, loves his wife and his kids, and cares about our community.  He cares so much that he was willing to run for and serve as the Chairman of our School Board.  I’m proud to say that I campaigned and voted for him in the last election.

I disagree with Milt wholeheartedly on the issue of the school pool.

In his latest letter published in local press, Milt said we can’t blame the school pool for all that ills our school system.  He’s right on that point because the cost of operating and paying off the debt issued for the school pool isn’t included in the current school year’s budget.   The school pool isn’t the reason there are 38 kids in some high school math classes, or why so many of our schools are overcrowded, or why our schools are rationing supplies like ink, toner, and paper in the 2nd week of the school year.  The school pool isn’t the reason high school students have to purchase the books they’ll be reading in English or why our teachers haven’t gotten the raises they deserve in the last bunch of years.  The school pool isn’t the reason some of our buses have kids seated 3 to a bench.

Milt is absolutely right.  We can’t blame the school pool for any of those things.

But we sure can question the wisdom of spending what will likely be $1 million or more a year on a school pool when those things are commonplace in our schools.

To many of us, the school pool simply makes no sense.

If PWCS doesn’t have enough money to provide basic supplies like ink and toner and paper to our classrooms now, how will we have enough in a few years to pay an additional $1 million in expenses for the pool?

Where will the money for the pool money come from?

Is spending a million plus a year on the pool a wise choice when we have classes with 38 children in them, can’t provide our teachers with the supplies they need in the classroom, and don’t pay our teachers a wage that’s competitive with other schools in the region?

How is a pool a higher priority than our classrooms and our teachers?

Help us understand.  Please, Milt, Betty, Dr O, and Lillie, help us understand why you think the pool is a wise choice for our school system, in lieu of the financial struggles that it faces.  Help us understand where the money to pay for it will come from.  Please help us understand because many of us just don’t get it.

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3 Responses to “Please Help Us Understand”

  1. Donna Says:

    Right, the pool isn’t to blame. But you know what is? THE SCHOOL BOARD. The school board approved the ridiculously high salary of the superintendent. The school board also approved all the NY salaries of Steve Walts’ buddies. The school board also carelessly approved a measure to allow the superintendent to spend almost as much as he wants without any oversight — including several million dollars to have MORE high school plans drawn up when our county already has 11 existing schools. The school board is also to blame for renewing Steve Walts’ contract time and time again. The school board is also to blame for not seeing to it that the state’s recommendation of 24 students per class wasn’t adhered to. The school board is also to blame for not ensuring that our students AREN’T at the bottom of the “cost per pupil” barrel. The school board is also to blame for seeing to it that the PWCS teachers are the second LOWEST paid teachers in the NoVa area. The school board has been asleep at the wheel for nearly 10 years. Just about as long as Milton John’s stint on the board! So Mr. John’s, the pool isn’t to blame. YOU and your board is to blame for the monetary ills of the school system. YOU and your board is to blame for the distrust the community feels in thinking that the school system and efficiently manage a pool.

    So let’s be honest. Special ed students aren’t going to benefit from the pool. PWCS doesn’t have aquatic therapists or any plans for busing students and changing them into bathing suits. The minority students who supposedly need swim lessons, according to Ms. Jessie and Mr. Otaigbe, aren’t going to benefit from the pool. If that was such a big concern, the pool would be built at Freedom or Potomac High Schools instead. The elementary and middle schools won’t benefit from the pool either. They’re too busy ramming SOL prep down the kids’ throats; there isn’t time to bus kids from all over the county to take swim lessons. The Dumfries Road community won’t benefit from the pool. As is the case with the other area pools, open-swim will be limited to what’s left after the swim teams book their time.

    And the claim that affluent families will be motivated to move to PWC, well, that just ludicrous. Affluent families are going to stay in Fairfax, Loudoun or Montgomery Counties where there intelligence isn’t going to be insulted with the draw of just one solitary high school pool.

    Who WILL benefit from the pool? That’s the literal million dollar question, isn’t it? We know Moseley Architects have already benefited. Milt Johns hopes his street cred will benefit as the school board chair who backed a pool. Somehow Steve Walts will benefit or he wouldn’t push so hard for a pool. Swim teams will benefit from a pool, but a family’s time on a swim team is short in comparison to the grand scheme of taxpayer dollars. But really, only the swim families in the immediate area will benefit. Haymarket families aren’t going to drive to Dumfries Road for practices.

    The overall population of PWC children will NOT benefit from this pool, but having it will definitely take funds from their school. It already has! Some schools already struggle for copier paper and ink, new PE equipment, technology and so on, as PWCS has just paid millions to have the plans draw up for another high school. And this pool hasn’t even been built! It’s taxpayer robbery of the worst kind — robbery from CHILDREN.

  2. Ed Says:

    Maybe the question is how badly will their reputations be damaged when we ask why so much money was spent designing this white elephant. The tax payers will realize they are not getting value for their money and this crowd will be run out of town!

  3. Ken Reynolds Says:

    You are absolutely right. I dont understand how Milton would try to slip that BIG ONE past us. Sure, the pool will not address ALL the problems…………and no one ever said that……….BUT, budgeting is budgeting………..and a pool s/b on a priority list……..and it simply would nt be on the top…………


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