The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, which decided last week to seek voter approval of a $51 million bond issue for parks, asked the County School Board yesterday to trim its $24 million school bond issue request.
The supervisors also critized the school board for failing to make the bond request sooner. Bond referendum questions will go on the primary decision ballot June 14.
The supervisors' action prompted a school principal. Don Rapier of Brookfield Elementary, to ask angrily after the meeting. "Why doesn't someone ask them why they vote $51 million for parks and then bicker about $24 million for schools?"
When he was asked that question, Board Chairman John C. Herrity replied, "Well, it's probably because the last time the parks had a referendum was six years ago, but the school board has had four, of which three have failed.
"But it also has to do with the way they approached it (asking for the bond referendum)," Herrity said. "The Park Authority began discussing their proposal with us three of four months ago."
The school board made a tentative decision to seek the $24 million bond issue at a meeting last Dec. 16. Although it sent the capital improvement plan to the county staff on Jan. 3, the school board did not formally request the June 14 referendum date until today. The supervisors must authorize the referendum by April 12 in order to get the bond question on the June 14 ballot.
"It's really interesting that the school board brings us a detailed program and it gets nit-picked," said Supervisor Marie B. Travesky (R-Springfield) "and yet the park authority had many items marked 'other' and 'miscellaneous' which were not questioned or explained."
"When I asked the park authority what one $4.2 million item marked 'other' was for, I never did get a satisfactory answer," Travesky said.
"If we came to the Board of Supervisors and said $4.2 million was for 'other,' they'd have our heads," said school board member John J. Caussin (Springfield). "They just don't understand the complex problems of mixing busing, school closings, renewal and construction," Caussin asserted.
Two hours before upbraiding the school board for failing to give earlier notice of the bond issue request, the supervisors had rejected as too formal a proposal that would have set up a procedure to provide better communications with various committees and boards.