Budget Comments Focus on Thomas Jefferson High School

| February 12, 2013 | 0 Comments | Education

Student Anya Owsenek shares her experience as a freshman at Thomas Jefferson High School with the Prince William School Board members at Monday's special budget meeting.

Parents and students utilized citizen’s time at the special Feb. 11 budget meeting of the Prince William School Board to ask for continued support for Thomas Jefferson High School of Science and Technology.

Dave Cline, Associate Superintendent of Finance and Planning Services, reviewed the FY14 budget presented at the Feb. 6 School Board Meeting, but included the caveat that Governor McDonnell is considering cutting $9 million in funding for cost of competing in Northern Virginia. These are funds that help jurisdictions in Northern Virginia pay teachers a competitive salary to match the region’s high cost of living.

Thomas Jefferson High School parents asked that the partnership between Prince William and Fairfax counties to support the science and technology high school not be severed.

Parent Mark Towne of Bristow thanked the School Board and Superintendent Walts for their support for Thomas Jefferson High School. Town said the school has changed his son Jonathan’s life. Although Jonathan was not present, his father said Jonathan had said of the school, “This is where I belong. The kids there are just like me.”

“We have great specialty programs in our county: IB, biotech and performing arts,” said Towne. “These are all fantastic programs because they give students the opportunity to thrive in any talent they’ve been gifted with.”

Anya Owsenek, who attends Thomas Jefferson High School as a ninth grade student, told the School Board it is the perfect place for her.

“I had heard so many positive things about Thomas Jefferson,” said Owsenek, but this did not keep her from being “amazed and astonished” on her first day. Owsenek said her school is unique because there teenagers roam the corridors, discussing mathematical equations, science experiments or technology projects.

Like her school mate Jonathan, Anya felt the school well suited for her interests and passions.

“It’s an education for teenagers who are a little bit different like me,” said Owsenek.

Suzie Bastian is a mother from Manassas who coaches Math Counts and prepares students to attend Thomas Jefferson. She said for her family, the opportunities to live in the country and still have her children attend Thomas Jefferson in Fairfax led to their decision to move to Prince William.

Michele Gonzales of Manassas said she also chose Prince William County so her children could attend Thomas Jefferson. Gonzales described sending Prince William students to the school as “a win-win situation,” because students receive an excellent education and can thus give back to others in their community.

Nokesville citizen Zara Terrill was the only speaker to address a different topic. She encouraged the School Board not to spend school funds on building a pool in the twelfth high school, but to focus their efforts on educating students, paying teachers and improving test results, saying a pool was a recreational need better suited for the Department of Parks and Recreation.

Should the state of county funding be reduced, not all of the proposals in the Superintendent’s FY2014 budget would be able to be realized. This could mean a choice between reducing/ eliminating employee raises, specialty programs or construction of new schools.









© 2013, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

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