2015 Fairfax County School Board Candidate Survey

FABB recently sent a candidate survey to all Fairfax Count School Board candidates. The purpose of the survey is to gauge candidate's commitment to improving bicycling education and encouragement in Fairfax County schools. Note: All candidates are running as Independents. The questions and candidate responses are below:

At-Large

Robert E. "Bob" Copeland

  1. Do you agree with the statement? "The school system and school board should be doing more to enable FCPS students to walk and bike to school instead of driving or being driven."

  2. Yes

  3. Do you support the hiring of a full-time SRTS Coordinator position to help achieve this goal (current position is grant funded until Aug 2016)?

  4. No

  5. Do you support a comprehensive traffic safety education program that ensures, at the appropriate age levels, all students learn how to safely walk, bike, drive and use transit for their daily travel needs? Currently only drivers education is taught. Note: In 2012, the School Board adopted the following policy: "The school system will ensure that programs of walking, bicycling and bus safety education shall be established and maintained for students in the elementary schools."

  6. Yes

  7. Do you support a comprehensive transportation study of FCPS, akin to the school lunch and school start time studies, to understand FCPS' student transportation patterns, regional traffic impact, costs and other factors that drive decision making.

  8. Yes

Omar M. Fateh—Did not respond.


Jeanette M. Hough

  1. Do you agree with the statement? "The school system and school board should be doing more to enable FCPS students to walk and bike to school instead of driving or being driven."

  2. The school system should definitely be encouraging walking and biking as a safe and healthy alternative to driving and being driven. We should never discourage this behavior. As I have talked to some community members, it sounds as this has been the case in some instances where bikes have not been as welcomed at school. I know at my own children's school, they do a great job promoting the bike to school day as part of the national initiative. I understand the desire to make this one day initiative a daily reality for any student and family that would like the opportunity.

  3. Do you support the hiring of a full-time SRTS Coordinator position to help achieve this goal (current position is grant funded until Aug 2016)?

  4. I would love to discuss creative ideas for a coordinator that can devote time and attention to the goal of connecting community and schools for the purpose of encouraging walking and biking. The School Board would benefit from new people bringing new ideas to the table. As a health professional (physical therapist) in Fairfax County, I understand the importance of 'buy in' as part of the motivating factor. We should work with community members who can help inform schools, staff, and principals on how to encourage walking and biking to school. As part of that discussion, we can talk about creative ways to coordinate the effort. Perhaps it is a cross over between Board of Supervisor staff and our principals. PE teachers can also engage children on biking to school. I am sure many from your advocacy group have already been doing this, and I would be happy to enter in on the conversation. As an At-Large member, I see my role as being a voice for the whole county and plan to engage community in an authentic way. I am a parent of three children in the school system and understand that parents want to be part of the decisions before the decisions are made. I plan to have office hours and town hall meetings so we can continue to have dialogue throughout the year. With continued dialogue, we can discuss how to help our children be healthy, ready to learn and receive the best education.

  5. Do you support a comprehensive traffic safety education program that ensures, at the appropriate age levels, all students learn how to safely walk, bike, drive and use transit for their daily travel needs? Currently only drivers education is taught. Note: In 2012, the School Board adopted the following policy: "The school system will ensure that programs of walking, bicycling and bus safety education shall be established and maintained for students in the elementary schools."

  6. FCPS should always be discussing the programs in place that support (or don't support) the policies developed. I will discuss with your advocacy group and the community ways that FCPS can help educate our children on safety with all transportation. If elected, you can be confident that I will do my homework, I will listen and I will work with the community to prioritize our students and their best interest.

  7. Do you support a comprehensive transportation study of FCPS, akin to the school lunch and school start time studies, to understand FCPS' student transportation patterns, regional traffic impact, costs and other factors that drive decision making.

  8. Yes, I believe that there needs to be a collaboration between FCPS and the Board of Supervisors to evaluate transportation patterns of students and their impacts to regional traffic to ensure that the school system not only meets the needs of the students in getting them to and from school, but also to ensure that children remain safe in their travels. I intend to help build trust again between the two Boards so we can work together for the community. When the Board of Supervisors and School Board have a better relationship, I know Fairfax County will benefit. This should be part of the conversation that includes, infrastructure, roads and transportation.

Manar A. Jean-Jacques


  1. Do you agree with the statement? "The school system and school board should be doing more to enable FCPS students to walk and bike to school instead of driving or being driven."

  2. Absolutely. It is very important, especially in these technology driven times in our society, to encourage children to be more physically active. There is no substitue for healthy activity and exercise and the earlier our children build these healthy habits, the better.

  3. Do you support the hiring of a full-time SRTS Coordinator position to help achieve this goal (current position is grant funded until Aug 2016)?

  4. I would like to see the School Board create new opportunities to support programs like this and others by outsourcing some of our FCPS jobs, thereby saving money that would have been paid into pensions. Then, this should be a community conversation for all to have a voice in prioritizing programs. This is great program that deserves to be presented to the community so that we can move forward on decisions like this together.

  5. Do you support a comprehensive traffic safety education program that ensures, at the appropriate age levels, all students learn how to safely walk, bike, drive and use transit for their daily travel needs? Currently only drivers education is taught. Note: In 2012, the School Board adopted the following policy: "The school system will ensure that programs of walking, bicycling and bus safety education shall be established and maintained for students in the elementary schools."

  6. Yes. I would like to see what safety education was implemented following the 2012 policy, if any and what additional safety education we can provide. Once again, I value the community's input on the program objectives and would work together with the community to build consensus so that we are moving forward together.

  7. Do you support a comprehensive transportation study of FCPS, akin to the school lunch and school start time studies, to understand FCPS' student transportation patterns, regional traffic impact, costs and other factors that drive decision making.

  8. I believe a transportation study is important and would support it once we are able to get a handle on the deficit. I would, however, not be in agreement to the same timeline of 10 years that the board took with school start times. I support a study that is thorough and completed in a timely manner, so as not to once again waste the resources we have.

Peter M. Marchetti—Did not respond.


Ryan L. McElveen

  1. Do you agree with the statement? "The school system and school board should be doing more to enable FCPS students to walk and bike to school instead of driving or being driven."

  2. Yes

  3. Do you support the hiring of a full-time SRTS Coordinator position to help achieve this goal (current position is grant funded until Aug 2016)?

  4. Yes

  5. Do you support a comprehensive traffic safety education program that ensures, at the appropriate age levels, all students learn how to safely walk, bike, drive and use transit for their daily travel needs? Currently only drivers education is taught. Note: In 2012, the School Board adopted the following policy: "The school system will ensure that programs of walking, bicycling and bus safety education shall be established and maintained for students in the elementary schools."

  6. Yes

  7. Do you support a comprehensive transportation study of FCPS, akin to the school lunch and school start time studies, to understand FCPS' student transportation patterns, regional traffic impact, costs and other factors that drive decision making.

  8. Yes, I would like to try to fund such a study outside of the operational budget (and potentially with grants), as was done with the FNS study.

Ilryong Moon

  1. Do you agree with the statement? "The school system and school board should be doing more to enable FCPS students to walk and bike to school instead of driving or being driven."

  2. Yes, for many good reasons. Walking and biking promote healthier life style, save energy consumption, are more environment friendly, and can reduce traffic on roads. They could also result in a fewer number of the school buses needed for students, saving money for the school system.

  3. Do you support the hiring of a full-time SRTS Coordinator position to help achieve this goal (current position is grant funded until Aug 2016)?

  4. We should first continue seeking grants, if possible, and then make a decision on funding the position when we consider the other budget needs.

  5. Do you support a comprehensive traffic safety education program that ensures, at the appropriate age levels, all students learn how to safely walk, bike, drive and use transit for their daily travel needs? Currently only drivers education is taught. Note: In 2012, the School Board adopted the following policy: "The school system will ensure that programs of walking, bicycling and bus safety education shall be established and maintained for students in the elementary schools."

  6. Yes

  7. Do you support a comprehensive transportation study of FCPS, akin to the school lunch and school start time studies, to understand FCPS' student transportation patterns, regional traffic impact, costs and other factors that drive decision making.

  8. Yes

Burnette G. Scarboro

  1. Do you agree with the statement? "The school system and school board should be doing more to enable FCPS students to walk and bike to school instead of driving or being driven."

  2. I am in agreement with the statement but because of the new bell schedules, safety is of great concern particularly in the Fall and Winter when darkness is in the mornings and late afternoons.

  3. Do you support the hiring of a full-time SRTS Coordinator position to help achieve this goal (current position is grant funded until Aug 2016)?

  4. Because of budget constraints, I only support assigning the project to a person already on staff in central office.

  5. Do you support a comprehensive traffic safety education program that ensures, at the appropriate age levels, all students learn how to safely walk, bike, drive and use transit for their daily travel needs? Currently only drivers education is taught. Note: In 2012, the School Board adopted the following policy: "The school system will ensure that programs of walking, bicycling and bus safety education shall be established and maintained for students in the elementary schools."

  6. I am in total support of a safety education program which could be integrated in a PE class or afterschool programs in the schools or government agencies.

  7. Do you support a comprehensive transportation study of FCPS, akin to the school lunch and school start time studies, to understand FCPS' student transportation patterns, regional traffic impact, costs and other factors that drive decision making.

  8. I do support a comprehensive transportation study am not in support of hiring consultants. We have transportation specialists on our payroll at FCPS and at FC government. Let's begin to utilize the personnel already onboard!

Theodore J. "Ted" Velkoff

  1. Do you agree with the statement? "The school system and school board should be doing more to enable FCPS students to walk and bike to school instead of driving or being driven."

  2. Yes. I would like to reduce incentive for students to drive to school by increasing parking fees. I would also like us to reduce incentives for parents to drive children to school. I would welcome creative ideas from the community that would accomplish this without reducing safety of children or increasing workload on our employees.

  3. Do you support the hiring of a full-time SRTS Coordinator position to help achieve this goal (current position is grant funded until Aug 2016)?

  4. No, unless it remains grant-funded.

  5. Do you support a comprehensive traffic safety education program that ensures, at the appropriate age levels, all students learn how to safely walk, bike, drive and use transit for their daily travel needs? Currently only drivers education is taught. Note: In 2012, the School Board adopted the following policy: "The school system will ensure that programs of walking, bicycling and bus safety education shall be established and maintained for students in the elementary schools."

  6. The question presupposes that School Board policy is not being followed. I would need confirmation of that before making judgment. Even if we should desire to change our curriculum, we must be mindful of increasing workload on employees and increased costs to the system. I would not favor changes if either of those consequences would result.

  7. Do you support a comprehensive transportation study of FCPS, akin to the school lunch and school start time studies, to understand FCPS' student transportation patterns, regional traffic impact, costs and other factors that drive decision making.

  8. No. We need to remain focused on priorities identified in the Strategic Plan.

Braddock

Megan O. McLaughlin—Did not respond.


Katherine A. Pettigrew—Did not respond.


Dranesville

Peter Kurzenhauser

  1. Do you agree with the statement? "The school system and school board should be doing more to enable FCPS students to walk and bike to school instead of driving or being driven."

  2. Absolutely. In fact, a few years ago, my son lobbied the principal at Great Falls ES to install a bike rack, which was installed. As a former FCPS high school and college athlete, I agree that FCPS should do more to encourage exercise for students, and biking or walking to school supports that objective. This could be a win-win situation, which gives students more exercise while reducing transportation costs for FCPS.

  3. Do you support the hiring of a full-time SRTS Coordinator position to help achieve this goal (current position is grant funded until Aug 2016)?

  4. I would like to see this job done through volunteers, as many of the task forces and committees of the school board are done now. We may be able to obtain additional grant funds. Given current budget trends and priorities, we would not be able to justify a full-time hired position funded by the County.

  5. Do you support a comprehensive traffic safety education program that ensures, at the appropriate age levels, all students learn how to safely walk, bike, drive and use transit for their daily travel needs? Currently only drivers education is taught. Note: In 2012, the School Board adopted the following policy: "The school system will ensure that programs of walking, bicycling and bus safety education shall be established and maintained for students in the elementary schools."

  6. Yes, student safety should be a top priority. If teaching bike safety can be accommodated within the health curriculum time, that would make sense. If it requires students to reduce hours in other courses, there are more trade-offs that would require further study. However, the decision (and responsibility) whether to use the school bus, bike, walk, or use other transportation must rest with the parents. I do not want to see a bureaucratic "one size fits all" result where the school takes an overly cautious position against these options and impedes parents' decisions to let their children walk or bike to school. This already has happened in elementary schools. Be careful what you ask for.

  7. Do you support a comprehensive transportation study of FCPS, akin to the school lunch and school start time studies, to understand FCPS' student transportation patterns, regional traffic impact, costs and other factors that drive decision making.

  8. Yes. I am a strong proponent of hiring independent consulting firms to do performance audits and comparable studies of FCPS programs. One group has already gathered data on bus routes, for purposes of implementing later high school start times. It makes sense to hire a transportation expert to use the bus route data, to gather other data on traffic patterns and commuting costs, and then analyze whether it is possible to maximize student health while ensuring that students can safely walk or bike to and from school.

Jane K. "Janie" Strauss

  1. Do you agree with the statement? "The school system and school board should be doing more to enable FCPS students to walk and bike to school instead of driving or being driven."

  2. Our children need to be outside exercising as much as possible. Walking and biking to school is one way to achieve this. Getting more children to do this requires a strong partnership between the School Board, FCPS, the county Board of Supervisors and parents. Our children need safe walking/biking routes, parents need to support more walking/biking, and as schools we need to continue to educate children about the benefits of walking/biking to school and make it as easy as possible to do so.

  3. Do you support the hiring of a full-time SRTS Coordinator position to help achieve this goal (current position is grant funded until Aug 2016)?

  4. Maintaining a full time position to help coordinate our efforts is important. While fully funding the position out of central FCPS funds to insure the continuation of the program would be preferable, securing more grant funding to help meet some of the immediate costs would be most welcome considering the current fiscal issues facing FCPS.

  5. Do you support a comprehensive traffic safety education program that ensures, at the appropriate age levels, all students learn how to safely walk, bike, drive and use transit for their daily travel needs? Currently only drivers education is taught. Note: In 2012, the School Board adopted the following policy: "The school system will ensure that programs of walking, bicycling and bus safety education shall be established and maintained for students in the elementary schools."

  6. Yes, a comprehensive program on transit safety is needed. Some of these safety programs disappeared as county/school budgets were reduced in past years. If students and parents are to feel safe walking, biking or using public transit to get to school, comprehensive safety training on how to do so is important and needed. Many current students don't know basic safety rules for walking, biking or using transit. If we want Fairfax County residents to get out of their cars, walk, bike or use public transportation, helping children to do so, helps the change in culture.

  7. Do you support a comprehensive transportation study of FCPS, akin to the school lunch and school start time studies, to understand FCPS' student transportation patterns, regional traffic impact, costs and other factors that drive decision making.

  8. A study of transportation patterns would be very helpful. A safe routes to schools study that is a joint look between the schools and the county is needed. The questions to be answered are: Where there are safe routes, are they fully utilized, if not why not and how do we encourage students to use them. Where do we lack safe routes and what is needed to create them?

Hunter Mill

Pat M. Hynes

  1. Do you agree with the statement? "The school system and school board should be doing more to enable FCPS students to walk and bike to school instead of driving or being driven."

  2. I do agree. I see progress in the Hunter Mill District, but there is more we can and should do. Getting more students to walk and bike to school serves several key FCPS goals, including student wellness, resource stewardship and making sense of our complex transportation challenges.

    Sally Smallwood, the current FCPS SRTS coordinator, is doing a good job reviving the bike/walk safety education program, but her mission and her resources are limited. Parent advocates continue to grow bike/walk to school programs at their neighborhood schools, and I see better support from school principals and other administrators than when I first joined the school board. Parent and community advocacy has also produced some infrastructure improvements, like bike racks, sidewalks, trails and crossings, but progress on safe, contiguous routes throughout the county has been too slow. An encouraging note of county/schools cooperation is the new partnership between the Fairfax Connector bus system and several high schools, including Madison and South Lakes in the Hunter Mill District, which we will monitor to see if we get more students out of cars and onto public transit.

    To do more, I think we first need to recognize that one SRTS Coordinator, although essential to the effort, is not enough. Since the SRTS working group concluded its work, FCPS has a new superintendent and a new head of facilities and transportation, as well as several new school board members who are invested in student health and wellness. Many of the recommendations of the SRTS working group have not been fully realized. I think we should reconvene the advocates and supporting FCPS and county staff, perhaps as part of the School Health Advisory Committee's work, or as a stand-alone effort. We need to be more intentional about the work and bring advocates back to the table.

    For those who say we should not spend resources on this work, there is ample evidence that smart, coordinated SRTS efforts are important investments that pay for themselves. Our goal, as always, should be to leverage school system assets with private and other public resources. The Fairfax County community has proven time and again that it will support a SRTS program. As evidence, the commitments made by parents and other community advocates in the Fairfax County Bicycle Master Plan have largely been realized, unlike some of the other recommendations in that plan.


  3. Do you support the hiring of a full-time SRTS Coordinator position to help achieve this goal (current position is grant funded until Aug 2016)?

  4. Yes. I think a full-time SRTS Coordinator is essential, to continue the work that has begun, but also to expand the reach of the position. Initially, I hoped that a SRTS coordinator would be a clearinghouse and a catalyst for SRTS efforts throughout the county. Through Sally's work, FCPS has obtained a set of 30 bikes and conducted week-long bike safety lessons for over 8,000 4th-6th graders at twelve schools. This year's grant funding will add equipment for middle school lessons. While this is a good start, it is a far cry from the universal bike safety education we used to provide with support from the Fairfax County police. It seems also that the position hasn't had the capacity to increase community-based programs that encourage walking and biking to school. Those volunteer efforts have built the culture of walking and biking in communities like Vienna and Reston, and have resulted in successful advocacy for infrastructure improvements as well. Without the coordinator position, I fear that SRTS efforts will have no voice on FCPS staff, but I think we should re-imagine the role.

  5. Do you support a comprehensive traffic safety education program that ensures, at the appropriate age levels, all students learn how to safely walk, bike, drive and use transit for their daily travel needs? Currently only drivers education is taught. Note: In 2012, the School Board adopted the following policy: "The school system will ensure that programs of walking, bicycling and bus safety education shall be established and maintained for students in the elementary schools."

  6. Yes. Every child should receive bike and walk safety instruction at least once in elementary school, preferably by fifth grade to instill good habits. While I think pedestrian and bike safety lessons work well as part of the PE curriculum, I do not support adding that responsibility to classroom teachers, most of whom do not have the time or expertise.

    FCPS does provide driver safety education in high school, but as far as I know, there is no education about transit safety. As we urbanize and, especially as we encourage students to use public transit, that should be part of our coordinated efforts with the county. Ideally, I would like to see a return to closer coordination with the county police department at all levels in our effort to educate students about being safe in the community. That should be part of strategic budgeting conversations at the board-to-board level.


  7. Do you support a comprehensive transportation study of FCPS, akin to the school lunch and school start time studies, to understand FCPS' student transportation patterns, regional traffic impact, costs and other factors that drive decision making.

  8. I think a study like that could be a helpful addition to the infrastructure inventories that have been done. We would be smarter about prioritizing investments if we could match current transportation patterns and education efforts with gaps in infrastructure. I also think it aligns well with the FCPS Strategic Plan goals around student wellness and resource stewardship. It would be essential to join forces with the county on a study like that. I could see such a study being part of the budget conversations, as the county and the school system look for ways to save by combining efforts. I think the school system could benefit from the ongoing work that county staff do around trail and sidewalk planning, especially the way county staff have incorporated advocates into their ongoing work.

    Thank you for this conversation and for the many ways you make our community a great place to grow up.

Mark S. Wilkinson

  1. Do you agree with the statement? "The school system and school board should be doing more to enable FCPS students to walk and bike to school instead of driving or being driven."

  2. Today, when electronic media of all kinds are replacing physical activity, biking offers a practical and desirable means of both exercise and transportation for school age youth. Where biking to school is practical, safe, and supported by parents, I believe schools should provide reasonable accommodations for its use.

  3. Do you support the hiring of a full-time SRTS Coordinator position to help achieve this goal (current position is grant funded until Aug 2016)?

  4. Given the current tight budget situation, hiring for any new position must be weighted against measures which would contribute directly to improvements in educational quality. Also, I would first like to get information on the results achieved by the current Coordinator before making any decision about hiring a full-time Coordinator. I would also like to consider whether volunteer efforts in this area could achieve similarly favorable results

  5. Do you support a comprehensive traffic safety education program that ensures, at the appropriate age levels, all students learn how to safely walk, bike, drive and use transit for their daily travel needs? Currently only drivers education is taught. Note: In 2012, the School Board adopted the following policy: "The school system will ensure that programs of walking, bicycling and bus safety education shall be established and maintained for students in the elementary schools."

  6. Yes

  7. Do you support a comprehensive transportation study of FCPS, akin to the school lunch and school start time studies, to understand FCPS' student transportation patterns, regional traffic impact, costs and other factors that drive decision making.

  8. I believe the best decisions on biking or walking to schools can be made by parents, on a school-by-school basis, considering local conditions unique to each school.

Lee

Tamara J. Derenak Kaufax

  1. Do you agree with the statement? "The school system and school board should be doing more to enable FCPS students to walk and bike to school instead of driving or being driven."

  2. Yes

  3. Do you support the hiring of a full-time SRTS Coordinator position to help achieve this goal (current position is grant funded until Aug 2016)?

  4. Yes, if funding is available.

  5. Do you support a comprehensive traffic safety education program that ensures, at the appropriate age levels, all students learn how to safely walk, bike, drive and use transit for their daily travel needs? Currently only drivers education is taught. Note: In 2012, the School Board adopted the following policy: "The school system will ensure that programs of walking, bicycling and bus safety education shall be established and maintained for students in the elementary schools."

  6. Yes, the Fairfax Police used to partner with us in the Elementary Schools but the county eliminated this program.

  7. Do you support a comprehensive transportation study of FCPS, akin to the school lunch and school start time studies, to understand FCPS' student transportation patterns, regional traffic impact, costs and other factors that drive decision making.

  8. I'm not sure about the need for something this comprehensive but if we did a study, it should be in partnership with the county.

Mason

Sandra S. Evans

  1. Do you agree with the statement? "The school system and school board should be doing more to enable FCPS students to walk and bike to school instead of driving or being driven."

  2. Yes, this is important for the health of our students, improved efficiency and cost-saving for the FCPS transportation system as well as good for the environment.

  3. Do you support the hiring of a full-time SRTS Coordinator position to help achieve this goal (current position is grant funded until Aug 2016)?

  4. Yes, this position should pay for itself eventually with fewer students needing to take the bus.

  5. Do you support a comprehensive traffic safety education program that ensures, at the appropriate age levels, all students learn how to safely walk, bike, drive and use transit for their daily travel needs? Currently only drivers education is taught. Note: In 2012, the School Board adopted the following policy: "The school system will ensure that programs of walking, bicycling and bus safety education shall be established and maintained for students in the elementary schools."

  6. Yes. These are important lessons for the safety of all our children, both on school days and non-school days.

  7. Do you support a comprehensive transportation study of FCPS, akin to the school lunch and school start time studies, to understand FCPS' student transportation patterns, regional traffic impact, costs and other factors that drive decision making.

  8. Yes, I think something of this kind could yield important data that would help us improve our student transportation plan as well as help parents, teachers and other staff have better access to schools via public transportation. This should be done in conjunction with the county so we can share information and resources to find win-win solutions, and we should also work with public transportation authorities and the state. We should start with the FCPS Transportation staff and what they already know about these issues, as well as review the results of the 2008-9 Transportation Task Force. FCPS in the past has surveyed parents and students on their transportation choices and decisions, and we should do so again as part of this analysis.

Mount Vernon

Karen L. Corbett Sanders

  1. Do you agree with the statement? "The school system and school board should be doing more to enable FCPS students to walk and bike to school instead of driving or being driven."

  2. I absolutely agree with the statement that the BoS and the SB should be working together collaboratively to encourage students walking and biking to school. Walking and biking to school should be the norm. It is why I have been and will continue to be an advocate for neighborhood schools in the boundary process, limiting time spent on busses for students. Efforts should be made to promote infrastructure investments contained in the Capital Improvement Plan that foster safer commutes for walkers and bike.

  3. Do you support the hiring of a full-time SRTS Coordinator position to help achieve this goal (current position is grant funded until Aug 2016)?

  4. Efforts should be made to extend the funding of a full time SRTS coordinator.

  5. Do you support a comprehensive traffic safety education program that ensures, at the appropriate age levels, all students learn how to safely walk, bike, drive and use transit for their daily travel needs? Currently only drivers education is taught. Note: In 2012, the School Board adopted the following policy: "The school system will ensure that programs of walking, bicycling and bus safety education shall be established and maintained for students in the elementary schools."

  6. I believe that the traffic safety education program should begin in elementary school and be reinforced in health and physical education classes in middle and high school (perhaps at the same time as drivers education). Programs should focus on the health benefits as well as riding in a safe manner. During drivers ed, the focus should be on ensuring that cars provide a safe distance for bike riders, in addition to the importance of continuing to ride bikes or walking even when one has a license. It is healthier, better for the environment, and can be faster.

    In addition to student education, parent education is necessary. The national PTA has the Fire Up Your Feet program which encourages biking and walking to school. It has extensive materials. I would encourage partnering with their activities. Partnering with the police departments should also be a priority; especially by installing flashing signs, placing a crossing guard, or a police cruiser at crossing areas near schools that have high traffic patterns at the start and finish of the day.


  7. Do you support a comprehensive transportation study of FCPS, akin to the school lunch and school start time studies, to understand FCPS' student transportation patterns, regional traffic impact, costs and other factors that drive decision making.

  8. Yes. The study should also show the economic and health cost-benefits of having neighborhood schools where students can walk or bike ride to school; identify necessary infrastructure supports needed to facilitate increased biking and walking; and identify the costs associated with rolling out the program.

W. Anthony Stacy

  1. Do you agree with the statement? "The school system and school board should be doing more to enable FCPS students to walk and bike to school instead of driving or being driven."

  2. As an avid runner and biker, I agree there are lasting benefits to walking and biking to school. My daughter and I have a tradition of biking to school together on the first day and always participate in National Walk and Bike to School Day. The School Board can work closely with the state and county governments to ensure there is safe passage for students choosing to walk or bike to school. FCPS should also consider more ongoing efforts to promote the benefits of walking or biking to school.

  3. Do you support the hiring of a full-time SRTS Coordinator position to help achieve this goal (current position is grant funded until Aug 2016)?

  4. I support ongoing efforts to promote walking and biking to school, but would need to prioritize the cost of paying for this position with other expenses in a tight budget season. Having a better understanding of the impact the grant-funded position has made would be beneficial in justifying any potential costs in paying for this position.

  5. Do you support a comprehensive traffic safety education program that ensures, at the appropriate age levels, all students learn how to safely walk, bike, drive and use transit for their daily travel needs? Currently only drivers education is taught. Note: In 2012, the School Board adopted the following policy: "The school system will ensure that programs of walking, bicycling and bus safety education shall be established and maintained for students in the elementary schools."

  6. Yes, I am supportive of FCPS following through on its commitment to educate students about walking, biking, and bus safety education.

  7. Do you support a comprehensive transportation study of FCPS, akin to the school lunch and school start time studies, to understand FCPS' student transportation patterns, regional traffic impact, costs and other factors that drive decision making.

  8. Every person that lives in Fairfax County understands the transportation challenges we face. I do support the study, but would want to ensure it includes practical and measurable steps that encourage more students to walk or bike to school. Otherwise, it will be a missed opportunity. Aligning different recommendations to cost savings would be helpful in gaining support for different options if the study was pursued.

Providence

Dalia A. Palchik

  1. Do you agree with the statement? "The school system and school board should be doing more to enable FCPS students to walk and bike to school instead of driving or being driven."

  2. I absolutely agree with this statement. One of my top priorities is to increase students walking, biking and taking transit to school. I was a walker in elementary school, and then rode my bike to middle school, and I'm sad to see that we now have too few students walking or biking to school and the largest bus fleet in the nation.

    We need to improve education, access and infrastructure. This will have positive impacts on student health, reduce our carbon footprint and congestion in neighborhoods and improve community connectivity. Studies have been done to show that students who walk to school have a much clearer understanding of the layout of their communities. Walking and biking to school increase understanding and connection with students' communities, and encourages healthy habits.

    I have already started to work with supervisors to discuss changes that need to be made to increase safe biking routes and improve the way we encourage all county residents to use transit. I personally use our bus and train system and bike as much as possible. I am a huge supporter of the bike master plan, as I was able to live car-free in DC, and hope to make it easier for Fairfax residents to be less reliant on cars. This all starts with our students.


  3. Do you support the hiring of a full-time SRTS Coordinator position to help achieve this goal (current position is grant funded until Aug 2016)?

  4. I support this. While we are facing budget cuts, it is important that we make smart investments like hiring an SRTS coordinator, which will help FCPS save significant amounts of money on transportation costs.

  5. Do you support a comprehensive traffic safety education program that ensures, at the appropriate age levels, all students learn how to safely walk, bike, drive and use transit for their daily travel needs? Currently only drivers education is taught. Note: In 2012, the School Board adopted the following policy: "The school system will ensure that programs of walking, bicycling and bus safety education shall be established and maintained for students in the elementary schools."

  6. Yes, I do support increasing education about traffic safety so that students and parents feel comfortable walking, biking, and using public transit to get to school. I was a walker and biker as a student in Fairfax, and believe that we need to once again prioritize having more students walk, bike and bus to school.

  7. Do you support a comprehensive transportation study of FCPS, akin to the school lunch and school start time studies, to understand FCPS' student transportation patterns, regional traffic impact, costs and other factors that drive decision making.

  8. I strongly support this. Transportation costs for our schools eat up a huge portion of the budget, and we have the largest bus fleet in the nation. We need to understand how and why students travel so that we can improve sustainable transportation like biking and walking, and enable students who commute farther to school to take advantage of preexisting public transportation, such as through the new Fairfax Connector voucher program. We also need to look at investing in clean energy solutions, and ensuring students have safe routes to school.

Patricia S. "Patty" Reed

  1. Do you agree with the statement? "The school system and school board should be doing more to enable FCPS students to walk and bike to school instead of driving or being driven."

  2. Yes, I agree that enabling FCPS students to walk and bike to school instead of driving or being driven, should they desire to do so, is a highly laudable objective and that the school system and School Board have some role in helping the community to achieve this objective. In fact, I participated in and publicized the International Walk to School Day recently at Timber Lane ES and Graham Road ES. I witnessed the family and community bonding as well as the significant safety factors associated with walking/biking to school.

    Additionally, we are witnessing increasing problems as a result of long kiss-and-ride lines and traffic congestion. We should do more to encourage families and employees to walk and bike to school safely, including improving pathways and providing bike storage areas in all schools.

    One of my fondest childhood memories is walking to my elementary school, and walking to the school library in the summer. Now, years later, I am an avid walker in my community. My family includes active riders who take advantage of the area's excellent network of trails and face the safety challenges posed by the region's traffic volume and behaviors.

    As the Board liaison to the Student Health Advisory Committee (SHAC), I am committed to finalizing and implementing the FCPS Wellness Policy. We must advocate for the health of the whole child and not merely focus on academic achievement. Walking and biking to school represent some ways to encourage student health. The tantamount priority of the schools and School Board in this area should be ensuring the safety of students participating in these activities. As the county's Bicycle Master Plan recognizes, our region's traffic challenges are complex and require active and coordinated participation by many parties and some of these broader safety issues must be addressed to provide an environment for our students that will enable advancements on this front across the board.


  3. Do you support the hiring of a full-time SRTS Coordinator position to help achieve this goal (current position is grant funded until Aug 2016)?

  4. It is important for someone to "own" this goal and be responsible for advocacy and collaboration full-time. Given the budget challenges and other pressing issues facing Fairfax County's Public Schools, I cannot envision a new funded position for a full-time SRTS Coordinator. However, I would be very open to looking at alternative approaches to continuing to make progress against this goal, including seeking continuing grant funding from other sources, pursuing collaborative funding with other county agencies, establishing public/private partnerships with area riding clubs, bicycling stores, etc. I welcome the opportunity to discuss potential creative alternative approaches with FABB.

  5. Do you support a comprehensive traffic safety education program that ensures, at the appropriate age levels, all students learn how to safely walk, bike, drive and use transit for their daily travel needs? Currently only drivers education is taught. Note: In 2012, the School Board adopted the following policy: "The school system will ensure that programs of walking, bicycling and bus safety education shall be established and maintained for students in the elementary schools."

  6. Yes, I support implementation of a basic comprehensive traffic safety education program consistent with the School Board's adopted policy, providing education on these matters in the most cost-effective manner possible. The school systems should identify alternative programs outside the schools or access to additional sources of information for individuals who desire to learn more about these topics than the basic education provides.

  7. Do you support a comprehensive transportation study of FCPS, akin to the school lunch and school start time studies, to understand FCPS' student transportation patterns, regional traffic impact, costs and other factors that drive decision making.

  8. FCPS is a major provider of transportation for students (more busing passenger miles than Greyhound), and is inextricably intertwined within the region's transportation ecosystem. FCPS should maintain a spirit of continuous improvement regarding its own transportation capabilities and constraints and should continue to evaluate its performance against objectives.

    However, any comprehensive study aimed at improving regional transportation capabilities must include all of the cognizant authorities and stakeholder groups and reflect their perspectives. At a minimum, these would include the Board of Supervisors, FDOT, VDOT, the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce, community groups, etc. FCPS needs to partner effectively with all participants in the ecosystem to create comprehensive solutions to our common challenges and should not be expected to expend the resources to try to optimize a solution for FCPS on its own in the absence of these other perspectives. It may be that the I-66 widening proposals have created the perfect storm to encourage multi-modal transportation!


Springfield

Elizabeth L. Schultz

  1. Do you agree with the statement? "The school system and school board should be doing more to enable FCPS students to walk and bike to school instead of driving or being driven."

  2. Yes - in fact, I am not aware of any formal initiative other than the 'one day' Bike/Walk to School Day. A one-day initiative is rather insignificant in terms of the size of our district. In order for something to be embedded, it has to be deliberative, purposeful and on-going.

  3. Do you support the hiring of a full-time SRTS Coordinator position to help achieve this goal (current position is grant funded until Aug 2016)?

  4. Under grant funding, yes. The daunting budget gap and on-going resistance of the Board to prioritize the use of tax dollars wisely makes additional funding for a new line item unlikely. However, if a full line-item review was done by a successive Board and priorities were identified, reallocation of dollars within the existing budget are possible. I don't advocate increasing the budget for anything until such a review is undertaken.

  5. Do you support a comprehensive traffic safety education program that ensures, at the appropriate age levels, all students learn how to safely walk, bike, drive and use transit for their daily travel needs? Currently only drivers education is taught. Note: In 2012, the School Board adopted the following policy: "The school system will ensure that programs of walking, bicycling and bus safety education shall be established and maintained for students in the elementary schools."

  6. I favor enforcing existing laws - or policies - rather than expanding to make more of the same. The Board (I) voted for this language, yet nothing seems to have materialized. Consistent with my Board work to date, the Board needs to hold staff accountable for implementing and following policy as established. Without the accountability focus of the Board, passing policy without ensuring meaningful compliance is 'say' not 'do'. Expanding a policy beyond elementary school, when there is no demonstrative evidence that policy has effected positive change, doesn't appear like a fruitful endeavour. First things first.

  7. Do you support a comprehensive transportation study of FCPS, akin to the school lunch and school start time studies, to understand FCPS' student transportation patterns, regional traffic impact, costs and other factors that drive decision making.

  8. If such a study will include reviewing aspects of alternative provision of transportation services to:
    • reduce traffic impact around the county
    • improve costs
    • privatize aspects of or all of transportation services and
    • is a competitively bid contract that will quantify metrics and provide meaningful analysis for the Board to make better pathways to school for students, pathways to work for residents and pathways to improved budget decision-making processes for the Board...
    • then -> YES!

Sully

Karen A. Keys-Gamarra —Did not respond.


Thomas A. Wilson

  1. Do you agree with the statement? "The school system and school board should be doing more to enable FCPS students to walk and bike to school instead of driving or being driven."

  2. Yes. Walking and bicycling to school promotes self-esteem and good health. At our neighborhood elementary school, there is a bus stop less than 200 yard from the school's front door. Kids could easily walk from the neighborhood if there was a cross walk and a crossing guard or two to assist.

  3. Do you support the hiring of a full-time SRTS Coordinator position to help achieve this goal (current position is grant funded until Aug 2016)?

  4. Yes, I would support continuing the grant-funding for this position. However, in the face of a projected budget deficit of possibility $100,000,000, I would not support adding a new position if it meant increasing the budget deficit. The Board needs to complete a thorough line-by-line review first in order to review and prioritize the use of tax payer funds. In the course of completing such a review, I consider adding a full-time SRTS Coordinator position.

  5. Do you support a comprehensive traffic safety education program that ensures, at the appropriate age levels, all students learn how to safely walk, bike, drive and use transit for their daily travel needs? Currently only drivers education is taught. Note: In 2012, the School Board adopted the following policy: "The school system will ensure that programs of walking, bicycling and bus safety education shall be established and maintained for students in the elementary schools."

  6. As a parent of a child in elementary school during the past 6 years, I am surprised to read the language adopted by the Board because I have not observed any instructional changes that indicate FCPS took action to implement the Board's policy. The Board needs to hold the Superintendant and staff accountable for implementing established policies. Absent accountability, adopting new, more expansive policies makes little sense.

  7. Do you support a comprehensive transportation study of FCPS, akin to the school lunch and school start time studies, to understand FCPS' student transportation patterns, regional traffic impact, costs and other factors that drive decision making.

  8. I supported the change to high school start times, but I remain dismayed that the Board took 10 years to complete the start time studies and make its decision to have high schools start later. If the cost and time to complete comprehensive transportation studies will mirror that of the school start time review, then I am very reluctant to give my support. Cleaning up the budget mess is going to be step one. We need to look at eliminating expensive consultants, extra layers of unnecessary bureaucracy, sole source contracts, unhelpful teacher trainings, technology that is purchased and sits unused, and poorly thought out logistics. Given our difficult financial situation, we are much more limited in what we can do to improve the programs offered at our schools. Conducting lengthy studies or implementing new k12 programs to promote walking and bicycling will be possible, however, once we get our fiscal house in order.

Responses by District:

At-Large
Braddock
Dranesville
Hunter Mill
Lee
Mason
Mount Vernon
Providence
Springfield
Sully