Fairfax County Republican Committee has given its school board endorsement to a Clifton Elementary School parent who decided to run at least in part because of controversy over the closing of the school.
Days after the elementary school marked its last day of classes, the GOP endorsed Elizabeth Schultz in the race for the Springfield District school board seat.
Schultz also took an opening shot at Superintendent Jack Dale.
“The School Board works for and serves the public, not the superintendent,” Schultz said in a written statement. Schultz said that if elected, she would improve the district’s collaboration with the Board of Supervisors and transparency with the public for an entity that consumes more than half the county’s tax revenues. Schultz, who founded Republican Women of Clifton, hopes to replace incumbent Elizabeth T. Bradsher, who sided with the school board majority last year in closing Clilfton. Bradsher chose not to seek re-election.
While some parents still hope pending litigation could lead to a reversal of the board’s decision to close the school, community leaders have joined an effort to establish Fairfax County’s first charter school on the Clifton premises.
Rex Simmons, the Fairfax County Democratic Committee chairman, has said he is confident that voters will return a Democratic majority to the board because of its record of providing excellent schools.
Both parties expect a spirited school board contest this year, as six open seats and a series of high-profile controversies, such as the district’s zero-tolerance disciplinary policy, have sharpened interest in the contests. The races are officially nonpartisan, and so candidates do not run as Republicans or Democrats. But the parties are free to offer endorse their preferred candidates.
Democrats have endorsed 11 candidates, including school board chair Kathy L. Smith (Sully). Other Democratic-endorsed candidates include at-large incumbent school board member Ilryong Moon; Charisse Espy Glassman, who is running for another of the three at-large seats on the board; Ted Velkoff (at-large); John Wittman (Springfield); Patricia Hynes (Hunter Mill); Dranesville District school board member Jane K. Strauss; Mason District school board member Sandra Evans; Megan McLaughlin (Braddock); Tamara Derenak Kaufax (Lee); and Mount Vernon school board member Daniel Storck.
Republicans have endorsed Nell Hurley (Braddock) ; Nancy Linton (Hunter Mill); Louise Epstein (Dranesville); Michele Nellenbach (Mount Vernon); Providence school board member Patricia Reed; and Sheila Ratnam (Sully).
Anthony Bedell, chair of the Fairfax County Republican Committee, said in an email last week that several other candiates will be considered for at-large endorsements at a July 20 GOP party meeting, including Christina Guthrie, Sheree Brown-Kaplan, Lolita Mancheno-Smoak, Lisa Fagan, Li-Dai Kendall and Steve Stuban.
Stuban is the father of a Fairfax County student who committed suicide while he was the subject of serious disciplinary action.