The Fairfax County School Board last night proposed a $46.7 million bond issue to build eight new schools and renovate several others. They will ask the County Board of Supervisors to schedule a referendum for April 4.
If the supervisors agree to request, the referendum will be the second in less than 10 months on large school bond issues. Last June county voters approved sale of $19.7 million worth of bonds to build two new schools and renovate 16 old ones.
School Board Chairman Rodney Page predicted last night that "It's going to be a tough campaign" to win approval for the latest bond issue proposal, "but it's a good package and one that will get support."
Bonds are sold to raise money for construction projects through long-term borrowing rather than from the county's operating revenues, which are derived primarily from the property tax.
If the bond issue were rejected by the voters, the school board would try to bring it back before at another referendum after another year. During that year, Page said, the board would seriously consider additional busing to relieve crowding.
The $46.7 million total would finance two years of school construction and renovation "to avoid coming bbck to voters every year asking for more money for the needs we have identified," Page said. He said that asking voters to approve more construction money every year "is a practice that jeopardizes the credibility of the board."
Among projects that the bond money would finance are construction of six new elementary schools for the rapidly growing Reston, Herndom, Great Falls and Pohick areas. These schools would be Mumford Park, Great Falls II, Herndom/North Reston, Rolling Valley West, Burke Center and Newington Forest.
The bond issues also would pay for construction of Chantilly and South Lakes Intermediate schools. The board decided to avoided naming six elementary schools to be renovated first with the bond money until more information comes from the citizen groups that are studying declining school enrollment and naming criteria for the studying schools to be closed. The elementary schools proposed for renovation would be named before information on the bonds is printed.
The money also would finance later renovations at Longfellow and Glasgow Intermediate schools. McLean and Fort Hunt High schools, the Northounty Education Center and an unspecified number of additional elementary schools.
The school board plans to present its bond issue proposal to the county supervisors at 7 p.m. Monday.