Supervisors and School Board pledge to improve relationship

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and School Board members staged a rare joint retreat Feb. 25. Members of both boards acknowledged that their working relationship has been troubled at times and pledged to work together better in the future.

Because the groups’ primary relationship is through the county budget, Supervisor Gerry Hyland (D-Mount Vernon) said it naturally sets up tension between the two boards. More than half of the budget goes to support the school system.

“It’s uncomfortable, because we may feel like we’re being pitted against one another when we’re all working on the same subject, which is the education of our children,” Hyland said.

Both groups said the retreat was a good start for improving communication. Some blamed poor communication for conflicts that have marred the relationship in recent years, such as a heated 2010 debate over eliminating year-round schools and other programs aimed at helping low-income students.

“The goals of the Board of Supervisors and the school system cannot be at cross-purposes with one another,” said School Board member Elizabeth Schultz (Springfield). “Our [priorities] are not mutually exclusive of yours. . . . We represent the same people.”

The two boards will meet jointly this month to discuss the budget.

Metro surveying its customers on budget and fare policies

In addition to its budget comment process, Metro is surveying customers regarding budget and fare policies. The survey, which is at wmata.com/budget, asks customers for their thoughts on prioritizing services that support Metro’s day-to-day rail, bus and MetroAccess services, as well as ways to fund Metro and new fare options under consideration.

The survey will remain open available until 5 p.m. Monday. Results will be submitted to Metro’s general manager and board of directors.

‘Stuff the Bus’ campaign collectsmore than expected for pantries

Fairfax County’s annual “Stuff the Bus” campaign to stock area food pantries finished this year’s drive 26 percent ahead of last year’s totals, organizers said.

The effort took place at 11 grocery stores throughout the county across six weekends, netting 26,000 pounds of food and more than $3,000 for the food pantries.

This is the second year of the campaign, which begins Martin Luther King Jr. Day and runs through Presidents’ Day. This time of year was selected because the post-holiday season traditionally represents one of the lowest giving periods to food pantries, organizers said.

Airport gets charging stations for electric vehicles in garage

Four electric vehicle charging stations installed in Daily Parking Garage No. 2 at Washington Dulles International Airport opened last week. They can be used free of charge as part of a pilot program.

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority said it is installing similar charging stations at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.

Each charging station can accommodate two vehicles, for a total of eight parking spaces at each airport. The spaces are near walkways to the main terminal and are reserved for electric vehicles.

— Fairfax County Times