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School Board Presents Legislative Agenda to State Delegation

Loudoun County’s School Board presented its 2023 Legislative Program to the county’s state legislative delegation during a November 10 breakfast at the Academies of Loudoun.

“We really value our delegation in Richmond and all the work they do to bring back quality education to Loudoun,” School Board Chair Jeff Morse said in welcoming the legislators.

State Sen. Jennifer Boysko (33rd District) and delegates David Reid (32nd District) and Irene Shin (86th District) attended the annual Legislative Breakfast. In addition, legislative aides to U.S. senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine; Rep. Jennifer Wexton (10th District); and delegates Karrie Delaney (67th District), Wendy Gooditis (10th District) and Suhas Subramanyan (87th District) attended the event.

“The number of things we had to get done to make education better for our students has never happened this quickly,” School Board member Atoosa Reaser (Algonkian District) said of the Loudoun delegation’s work on behalf of the county’s students. Reaser, the chair of the School Board’s Legislative and Policy Committee, also thanked the delegation for supporting the School Board and pushing back against misinformation about it.    

“It’s been a very collaborative environment working with the School Board,” said Reid. “We take this for granted. This doesn’t happen all across the Commonwealth. In many places it’s contentious or the state delegation just ignores the school board. This is something that is really very special.”

“We have unprecedented and unbelievable access to our legislators,” said Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) Superintendent Dr. Scott Ziegler. “It really benefits our students.” Not only in terms of legislation, he added, but in the willingness of legislators to speak with students in a classroom setting.

The School Board has three policy priorities for the upcoming session of the General Assembly:

School Mental Health Support: The School Board is seeking a comprehensive plan that would include school-based and community services. This plan should include therapeutic services, which are not offered by school-based staff and are often difficult to schedule in an on-demand or emergency basis.

Continuation of Free School Meals: This would ensure meal options for children continue to be available and that they can access meals under all circumstances.

Proper Reporting of Student or School Employee Arrests: The School Board supports changes to the Code of Virginia to clarify that law-enforcement agencies are required to communicate, via email and certified mail, a report on any arrest of a student or employee within 24 hours or the next business day.

Other positions supported by the School Board include the funding of pre-kindergarten education; providing state funding to cover the cost of state education mandates; funding for a pilot hazing education program; and appointing a regional governing board for Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. The full 2023 Legislative Program may be viewed here.

Among those attending the Legislative Breakfast were student School Board members Rashmi Admala (Freedom High School); Alex Ahedo (Loudoun County High School); Srikar Bangaru (Rock Ridge High School); Ashley Caffo (Heritage High School); Adam Domanico (Lightridge High School); Gabby Frierson (Broad Run High School); Ishaan Parikh (Briar Woods High School); Nate Pearsall (Tuscarora High School); Daniela Grados Rojas (Academies of Loudoun); and Arjun Setty (Potomac Falls High School). Ziegler praised the student representatives as examples of the quality of students LCPS produces. “People often ask me what’s my view for the future. I always have to say I’m very optimistic for the future because I’ve met the students who are coming of age.” The superintendent added today’s students are collaborative and willing to stand up for the rights of others. 

The breakfast was prepared by the Academies of Loudoun culinary students.

School Board members attending the breakfast included Vice Chair Ian Serotkin (Blue Ridge District), Harris Mahedavi (Ashburn District) and Tom Marshall (Leesburg District). Leesburg District member-elect Erika R. Ogedegbe also attended the breakfast.

Members of the Superintendent’s Cabinet attending the breakfast included Chief of Staff Daniel Smith; Deputy Superintendent Dr. Ashley Ellis; Division Counsel Robert Falconi, Communications & Community Engagement Director Joan Sahlgren; Chief Human Resources Officer Lisa Boland; Assistant Superintendent for Student Services Asia Jones; Chief Financial Officer Sharon Willoughby; and Chief Operations Officer Kevin Lewis.  

Published November 16, 2022