Academy Is County's Own
In her Sept. 1 letter to the editor ["Fairfax Students Left Out?" Loudoun Extra], Holly Weatherwax wondered when Loudoun County public schools would open their new Academy of Science to Fairfax County students because Loudoun students attend Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology.
Thomas Jefferson is a Governor's School, designated by the governor of Virginia about 25 years ago. It was the last governor's school designated by any Virginia governor.
The new Loudoun academy was established through a grant to Loudoun public schools from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute so the county could establish an advanced science school. Nowhere in the funding for the science academy does the term Governor's School appear, thus not opening it up to surrounding jurisdictions. The new science academy is "owned" by the county public school system.
Mother Nature's Lessons
The past weeks have been a wake-up call for all of us. The natural world has rudely reminded us that we are fragile creatures who depend on it for life and sustenance.
In the face of the implacable might of natural forces, our failings in planning and execution come back to haunt us. If we pollute, pave over, squander, misuse or damage natural resources, recent events have shown us that we will pay a terrible price.
Loudoun County is a part of the threatened Chesapeake Bay watershed.
We are in a federal nonattainment area for air quality. Traffic conditions are unsatisfactory and becoming worse every minute. We are losing prime agricultural soils and forests. Our taxes are skyrocketing. These conditions can be ignored, as the inadequacy of the levees was ignored, or they can be the driving force for our future plans.
Loudoun can be a regional leader in applying the hard lessons of recent days to our land-use planning. We can turn away from sprawl and create a sensible number of true communities on our undeveloped land, saving our resources and our finances in the process, or we can continue to sprawl at a record pace, favoring quick corporate profits at the expense of our future. What faces us is beyond politics.
We have the choices before us. Our children and grandchildren will know the consequences of the choices we make. A dead bay, unbreathable air, water shortages, gridlock, a tax nightmare . . . or a vibrant, green, livable (and solvent) community.