Fairfax County School Board members had their first glimpse of the school administration's Capital Improvement Program late last week.
At least one member was not pleased.
Toni Carney, the school board member who represents the rapidly expanding Springfield District, says students in her jurisdiction are being used to fill empty schools elsewhere.
"The numerous boundary changes proposed in this CIP for Springfield students also close their schools (to them). The only difference is that the building will still be open," Carney said in a prepared statement at last week's school board meeting. "As proposed, this CIP is a school consolidation study for my district without benefit of extensive community involvement."
The CIP provides for new school construction and for building additions to present facilities. In addition, the program calls for several boundary adjustments that might avert the closing of schools in areas of declining enrollments.
School administrators have scheduled a work session on the program for Jan. 14, to be followed by a public hearing Jan. 31. The school board is expected to act on the proposal at its Jan. 31 meeting.
In other matters, board member Robert Smith asked the school board to reaffirm its three-year-old position that schools may teach about religious holidays and are prohibited only from allowing students to celebrate those holidays in school.
"I am tired of responding to parents and teachers who believe that there are school board regulations that prevent them from exploring the significance of these special days in a fair and impartial way," Smith said.
Board chairman Rodney Page asked school administrators to report to the board at its next meeting about anything that occurred in Fairfax County schools during December that might be interpreted as a religious celebration.
Page said with such a report, the board would be able to make any necessary recommendations on the matter.