Letter -- What the Really Tough Choices in Fairfax Are

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Dec. 22 editorial "Tough Choices in Fairfax," regarding the proposed budget cuts in Fairfax County, stated, "The most painful decisions involve the county's superlative school system." I disagree. Regardless of what education programs may be cut, everyone who is entitled to a public education will get one.

Rather, the truly "painful" cuts the Board of Supervisors faces would affect programs that are essential to the most vulnerable -- those with intellectual disabilities, mental-health problems, or alcohol or drug addictions. The choices the county faces in that regard are not increasing "the average class size by three students" but perhaps eliminating or reducing programs in a way that will leave many people without their services.

With such cuts, adults with intellectual disabilities may no longer have employment opportunities, denying them the ability to earn a living or attend day programs and requiring their parents, some elderly, to forgo their own employment to remain at home with disabled adult children. Or the cuts may eliminate mental-health, alcohol or drug-addiction treatment programs, leaving many in this population without the means to improve their lives and subject to lawlessness, homelessness or death from overdoses or winter weather.

These are the truly painful, and critical, choices for the Board of Supervisors.

MARK GROSS

Falls Church

The writer is Falls Church's representative on the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board.


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