An article in Wednesday's Voters Guide mentioned that Keith Scarborough, candidate for the Occoquan District School Board seat, has children in Fairfax County public schools. Scarborough is divorced and has joint custody of his children, who live with their mother in Fairfax. (Published 10/31/1999)
For voters in the Occoquan District, a new face will represent them on the School Board regardless of the election's outcome.
Because incumbent Linda H. Lutes has chosen not to run again, Keith A. Scarborough and S.R. "Steve" Wassenberg are vying for the position.
Scarborough, 46, vice president of state government relations for the Association of National Advertisers, said the challenge of the Occoquan District is that it contains some of the county's oldest schools, such as Rockledge and Occoquan elementary schools, and some relatively new schools, such as Antietam and Old Bridge Elementary schools. Students at the older schools should not be at a disadvantage compared with their counterparts in those newer schools, he said.
The board should lobby the General Assembly to make sure this year's infusion of cash from the lottery money is not just one-time funding, Scarborough said.
"Even after this round, there's still a lot of unmet needs," Scarborough said. "We need to make sure there's a continual stream, so then you can do some long-term planning."
Scarborough said developers in the county should be asked to provide services for the school system. For instance, a technology company moving to Prince William might be able to provide computers or network infrastructure.
"The businesses that are moving here, I think they want to be long-term business partners in the community," Scarborough said.
Scarborough also proposed making the schools a greater resource in the community by providing classes and other activities after hours for parents. By providing activities such as computer courses or parenting courses, parents then might be more likely to attend a PTA meeting or other school event.
Scarborough's children attend school in Fairfax County, which has been noted as a strike against him. But "the fact that my children attend schools in Fairfax County gives me a unique point of comparison," he said.
Wassenberg, 57, a retired Navy officer, is a member of the Prince William Park Authority. He said he has a vested interest in the school system because his children attended school here.
Seeing crowding as a problem in some of the district's schools, Wassenberg believes taking charter school applications might be a way to ease the problem. The School Board already has taken up the issue and decided not to accept applications, but Wassenberg said the quality of the program can determine whether the School Board allows it to be created.
"Let's get the applications and see what we have," Wassenberg said. The school system also should look into leasing business property for classroom use.
Wassenberg said he supports increased security but that he thinks the new policy requiring visitors to sign in each morning and leave a photo ID inconveniences parents and volunteers who are in the school regularly. Such people should be given a pass rather than having to sign in each visit.
Schools should have discretion in creating security plans and policies, Wassenberg said, criticizing an early vote this year to ban long trench coats as too small a matter for the board to vote on.
"We need to overcome the administrative part of it," Wassenberg said.