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About the offices

Offices: City of Fairfax mayor and City Council.
Terms: Two Years
Salaries: Mayor, $6,500 per year; City Council members, $4,500 per year
Duties: The mayor presides over council meetings, has veto power that may be overridden by a two-thirds vote of the council, represents the city for ceremonial purposes and votes only to resolve ties. The City Council determines policy, enacts ordinances; levies taxes, adopts the budget, borrows money; provides for organizational conduct and operation of all departments, bureaus, boards, commissions, offices and agencies of the city; appoints the city manager and members of advisory boards and commissions.
Which initiatives would attract visitors and business to downtown Fairfax?
What is your stand on increasing green initiatives in the City of Fairfax and how will you implement them?
Do you favor a new green space or increased parking space in the redevelopment of Kitty Pazner/George Mason Square in the heart of Fairfax?
What other issue is important to residents of the City of Fairfax, and what solutions would you propose to address it?


Office: City of Fairfax School Board
Two Years
Salary: Chairperson, $2,500 per year. Board members, $1,800 per year
Duties: The School Board monitors terms and conditions of agreements with the Fairfax County Public Schools; develops and oversees annual operation of the capital improvements budget for two elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school.
City of Fairfax student enrollment continues to climb, resulting in an increase in the city’s tuition payments under the School Services Agreement and overcrowding in city schools. What budget and other solutions do you propose to address these situations?
Should the City of Fairfax introduce and support special programs in City schools beyond the prescribed curriculum? If yes, do you have any specific suggestions for such programs and ways to cover their costs?
What other school issue is important to residents of the City of Fairfax, and what solutions would you propose to address it?

Candidates for Mayor, City of Fairfax

(Vote for not more than one)

Gerald T. ‘Jerry’ O'Dell, Independent, Challenger

Biography: Resident-Homeowner since 1988. 1100 speeches, most before City Council (1994-2012), Co-Leader, HOA Bylaws Committee. (2006). Elementary School Task Force Opponent (1997). Key roles opposing tank farm expansion (1989). B.A. California State University Los Angeles; Career spanned program/budget analysis, personnel admin., computer programming, sales, social work, teaching, writing. Veteran: Infantry.

Visitors/Business: More parking has been demanded for years, from both merchants and shoppers. Gardens would do little to bring revenue, or visitors. Down town is too hectic to put visitors in the mood for a park. Several months each year are too cold or hot to attract outdoor visitors—especially without public restrooms. The $9 million wasted by Lederer, Silverthorne, Greenfield, Rasmussen, Cross, Winter, & Lyon, to convert one way streets to two way reduced parking and slows traffic so much that many motorists avoid downtown, further reducing merchant sales and tax revenues.

Green initiatives: Parks help here. But many green initiatives are misguided. The Global Warming hoax is fraudulent science enriching Al Gore (who failed divinity school). Universities in England were caught falsifying data to promote Cap & Trade and reduce gasoline consumption to promote: dependency, One World Govt. (In the 1980’s the contrived scare was global cooling!) Mercury light bulbs illuminate inadequately & pose unacceptable environmental cleanup hazards. Alternative energy sources can’t replace the losses from refusal to explore and develop oil and gas resources, which can catapult us past Saudi Arabia, a dubious ally, given the Sept 11, 2001, attackers.

Space: Since the Weight Watcher building was demolished to expand Kitty Pozer Park, the bond money raised must be used for the stated purpose, or a new referendum held. Parking spaces lost should be replaced with equally useful (close) parking gains. Underground parking is too expensive, unappealing, dangerous.

Issue: Stop the incessant spending of Lederer, Silverthorne, Greenfield, Lyon, Winters, & Cross—with its constant threat to bury us in more debt, taxes. (They drove us from second least to second most indebted jurisdiction.) Refuse to accept any more ‘stimulus’ money; it drives up the national debt and interferes with market forces, capitalism, free enterprise, which makes economy efficient.

Contact:; 703-425-1287

R. Scott Silverthorne, Independent, Challenger

Biography: City Council, 1990 1998, July 2011 present; Northern Virginia Regional Commission 1990 1994; 2011 present; Community/University Forum, 2011 present; Northern Virginia Transportation Commission, 1996 1998; School Board Facilities Planning Committee, 1992 1993; Community Appearance Committee, 1990 1992; Downtown Fairfax Coalition, 1990 1992; Executive Search Consultant, Lochlin Partners

Visitors/Business: Historic Old Town Fairfax remains an important part of the City’s economic vitality. This project continues to be a work in progress, and critical to the downtown’s success, will be replacement of lost parking and additional tenants that attract customers to the center City. An anchor tenant must also be considered and Courthouse Plaza may provide us with an opportunity should the center be renovated. Another priority is more residential in, and around downtown, which will greatly enhance foot traffic.

Green initiatives: I was proud to be on the council that initiated our recycling program in the city of Fairfax in 1991. This program has been greatly enhanced by requiring businesses to also recycle and we are well on our way to our stated goal of having the highest recycling rate in the Commonwealth of Virginia. I will consistently look for ways to improve this program. I was also the lead sponsor of the City’s open space initiative, which created over 56 acres of additional open space in the City.

Space: The city council voted unanimously in favor of increasing green/open space at Kitty Pozer garden in George Mason Square. I remain committed to address the shortfall in downtown parking, and if elected mayor, I will work with the city council to identify additional locations for downtown parking.

Issue: The key issue facing the next city council will be managing growth in a way that compliments our small town atmosphere, while moving forward with an aggressive economic development plan. We must get community consensus to move the city forward, and if elected mayor, I will lead those efforts with our business and residential communities.

Contact:;; 703-691-0033

Candidates for City Council, Fairfax

(Vote for not more than six)

Michael J. DeMarco, Independent, Challenger

Biography: My family and I have lived in Fairfax since 2000. I am Chairman of the Fairfax Economic Development Authority and very active in the community. I have worked for ExxonMobil for 22 years in financial, marketing and customer service positions. I hold degrees from Penn State, Temple and Columbia Universities.

Visitors/Business: I think we can be a community and a destination. However, we need to actively recruit and create multiple draws whether they are retail, entertainment, cultural and historical that will increase much needed downtown foot traffic. We need a well-funded and serious Marketing plan to publicize all the city has to offer and an active merchant association that promotes a shopper friendly destination.

Green initiatives: All economic development in the city must be done sustainably, incorporating green space, limiting surface parking, and including materials and designs that manage storm water. Mixed use developments promote mass transit usage, walkability and bikeability, all reducing traffic. We also need to implement or reinforce programs that address recycling, resource preservation and water usage.

Space: There is another part to the question that is missed. The Economic Development Authority aggregated ½ acre portion of this property to the east for $2.3 million. The intent was to develop this portion without casting a shadow on the park or historic properties. With an incremental cost of paving for $200,000, we are now getting 30 parking spots. That's over $80,000 per spot and not fiscally responsible. Plus we lose a potential of 30,000 square feet of retail space to help create that downtown destination and build our economic base.

Issue: Several years ago the city completed a master plan for the redevelopment of Fairfax Boulevard or Route 50. Based on broad community and business participation, it was agreed that the areas of Fairfax Circle, Northfax and Kamp Washington should be targeted for appropriate mixed use development. This type of sustainable development along with mass transit connections will attract businesses, and create jobs that will be filled by residents. We have done nothing to progress this plan and need to refocus our efforts to make Fairfax Boulevard an attractive business corridor.

Contact:;; 703-383-1934

Daniel F. Drummond, Independent, Incumbent

Biography: Married, three children; Director of Public Relations, Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards; BS, Political Science, Old Dominion University and MA, Government, Johns Hopkins University; Fairfax City Councilmember, Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments Board of Directors, Transportation Planning Board, Fairfax Little League Board of Directors, Cub Master of Pack 1113

Visitors/Business: The downtown’s shops, restaurants and its small town feel make it a unique destination. We need to capitalize on this. Some ideas include re-starting an ongoing restaurant week, holding a series of summer events (movies, concerts, etc.), extending crosswalk times, launching a new marketing campaign and introducing a bike share program. We also need to work on creating a long-term vision for downtown and the transition district, with the goal of attracting a movie theater and a new grocery store.

Green initiatives: We are a leader in environmental sustainability and I’ve supported the creation of a citizen-led environmental sustainability committee and stepped up recycling efforts. I’ve also helped to attract an energy efficiency program for City-owned buildings that has the potential to generate millions of dollars in savings and reduce our use of electricity.

Space: This is not a question of “either/or” when it comes to preserving green space and supporting our small businesses downtown. The City Council unanimously approved a plan that sticks to the commitment we made to the community in creating a new Kitty Pozer park while providing parking for our downtown. We are increasing our efforts to improve signage and look for additional parking space around the downtown area.

Issue: We are seeing renewed interest in the City. More people are moving here, buying homes and setting roots. This is a time to come together and, as a community, create an initiative similar to the 2020 Commission where we take the long-view and plan our future. As part of this vision, we need to look at the right kind of development that provides new opportunities for people to live, work, dine, shop and retire in the City while protecting our existing neighborhoods and preserving our great quality of life.

Contact:;; 703-268-0541

Jeffrey C. Greenfield, Independent, Incumbent

Biography: Co-owner, Greenfield Enterprises, LLC; Masters in Public Administration, GMU; B.A. Political Science, GMU; Fairfax High School; Eagle Scout; Northern Virginia Transportation Commission; Northern Virginia Transportation Authority; Washington Metropolitan Council of Governments, Board of Directors, Metropolitan Development Policy Committee, Human Services and Public Safety Policy Committee; Livable City Taskforce

Visitors/Business: The City should take aggressive action to develop vacant land with new retail and parking. Adding residential on the old Shell site and redevelopment of Courthouse Shopping Center, creating additional entertainment and retail uses will extend the downtown one block north. Finally, extending the downtown one block south by developing existing parking lots to a combination of parking garages and retail will create additional opportunities for visitors.

Green initiatives: The Council created the Environmental Sustainability Committee to assist us in becoming an environmentally sustainable City. Through their work, the City is reviewing environmental policies, conducting outreach and education, developing energy efficiency programs, encouraging LEED and other green building, and monitoring stormwater regulations and their impact on the City. Finally, the City should consider supporting an increase of half cent for storm water to meet infrastructure and future stormwater quality standards.

Space: In November 2000, City voters were asked to respond to an advisory referendum on the ballot to allow the city to dedicate funds to purchase open space and park land. By a ratio of nearly 2 to 1, City voters approved the advisory referendum. I favor green space on the old Weight Watchers property condemned in 2004 for the purposes of open space and paid for with open space funds. I favor additional parking in the area adjacent to the Fairfax Surf Shop.

Issue: A sluggish economy, in which projected revenues at current rates are unable to meet rising projected expenditures, coupled with a dramatic increase in school spending, present another challenging budget. It is imperative that we control spending and work to reduce the tax burden on residents. The Council must resist the temptation for new or expanded programs in order to adopt a budget with a tax rate lower than the 11.5¢ increase recommended in the City Manager’s proposed budget.

Contact:;; 703-591-2714

David L. Meyer, Independent, Incumbent

Biography: Resident of City of Fairfax for 31 years. Incumbent on City Council since 2008. Senior Executive, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission with 33 years of Federal service. Former President, Fairfax High School PTSA. Co-chair Civil War Sesquicentennial Committee. B.A. Randolph-Macon College, M.P.A American University. Married to Cindy, two children.

Visitors/Business: The City should partner with the business community to improve and expand parking on the north side of Sager Avenue, offer interim parking on the former Amoco lot, improve signage for existing business centers and parking, and sponsor more downtown events. Longer-term, the City should encourage a major redevelopment of the Courthouse Plaza center, with a new high-quality grocery store, greater density with shops and major restaurants, interior multi-level parking, and a multi-screen theater. This will create a critical mass of retail and commercial, when leveraged with the current re-developed commercial space and new residential units can sustain a robust retail activity in our downtown.

Green initiatives: Adopt aggressive goals in our Comprehensive Plan to encourage commercial and residential builders to construct superior quality Energy Star buildings and residences. Continue investment to improve our storm water management systems, and revitalize tree plantings in public areas and commercial and residential projects, and maintain our excellent CUE bus system.

Space: The Council-approved plan will expand the Kitty Pozer gardens and provide parking, both beside Old Town Hall and on the east end of George Mason square. The plan is a balanced approach to preserving green space and providing parking for visitors.

Issue: The City should revive the Fairfax Boulevard Master Plan to develop high-quality commercial, retail, and residential mixed-use projects that will create new, viable long-term sources of revenue. These projects will have targeted density and project-based codes and design standards that will attract the substantial investment to strengthen our City’s economic base. This will enable the City to continue its top-flight, signature public services our citizens enjoy and will attract a new generation of residents who will want to call the City of Fairfax their home.

Contact:;; 703-691-8852

Gary A. Perryman, Independent, Challenger

Biography: Resident of the City for 56 years. Graduated 1971 from Fairfax High School.

Married for 40 years/three children/three grandchildren. Served in the US Navy for 9 years.

Serviced copiers for 19 years. President of Westmore Citizen's Association for 10+ years.

Two years on the Board of Zoning Appeals.

Visitors/Business: The two main problems with the downtown business area are the traffic and availability of parking. The underground parking is not effective. Most people do not want to park underground and walk a block or two to get lunch or shop. They would much rather park close to the shops they want to visit and return to their cars quickly. The traffic issue is discussed in question #4.

Green initiatives: I support all efforts in the green initiative and believe the Council should require all new construction, residential as well as commercial, to meet certain standards in that area.

Space: While I do believe that saving green space is very important, I also believe if we are to save businesses in the North Street area, we must not remove the only quick park & shop spots we have there. The park with a few upgrades yet maintaining the parking area would be more beneficial to the downtown businesses.

Issue: In talking with many people in the City, the number one problem is traffic. I see only one solution and that is a bypass from Arlington out passed Manassas. I believe we need a minimum of eight lanes that would be used for incoming traffic in the morning and outgoing traffic in the evening. This would require a great deal of federal and state funding.

Contact:; 703-273-5947

Catherine S. Read, Independent, Challenger

Biography: Catherine Read was born and raised in SW VA. She is a 1984 graduate of GMU with a BA in Govt. & Politics. She founded a social media marketing company in 2007, Creative Read, Inc. She serves on two boards, is a Rotarian and the mother of 3 FHS graduates.

Visitors/Business: We need more “community spaces” where groups can meet, perform, exhibit and share experiences. This includes the expanded Kitty Pozer garden, expansion of the Sunday Farmers Market, more events at Old Town Hall, restaurants with space for groups to meet and more diverse small businesses that are unique to the city. We need to develop an identity to build around so we become a destination for visitors. We also need to be more inclusive of our neighboring GMU community.

Green initiatives: We need to invest today in technologies that will save our resources over the long term. Even small changes made incrementally will have a cumulative effect. We need to educate the public on ways to save energy, make smart purchases, conserve water, invest in new green friendly technologies and recycle more. We need to adopt emerging energy management practices (like smart meters) as they come to the marketplace. We also need to start this awareness in elementary schools and engage students in exploring new ways to build “green” into the design of everything.

Space: A parking space is a parking space 24/7. An urban public garden is a canvas on which the community can create many different things limited only by their imagination. The center of the city should show the activity & vibrancy of people engaged on a daily basis. Many towns & cities have successfully developed similar parks. I support the development of additional parking in other nearby locations.

Issue: We need to focus on residential housing development. Getting the right types of housing to serve our current demographic, which includes many seniors living in houses designed for families. We need senior friendly housing and more mixed-use development to support our downtown and Fairfax Boulevard. Those developments need to be pedestrian and bike friendly and have access to public transportation.

Contact:;; 703-966-6960

Eleanor D. ‘Ellie’ Schmidt, Independent, Incumbent

Biography: Executive Vice President, Cardinal Bank. Bachelor of Arts, University of Missouri. 36 years community service: Past President Kiwanis Club of Fairfax, Board of Directors, Fairfax County Crime Solvers, Board of Directors Historic Fairfax City, Inc., Leadership Fairfax, Inc., Independence Day Celebration Committee, Industrial Development Authority, City of Fairfax 2020 Commission.

Visitors/Business: We are now experiencing an improving economy. Economic development is critical and we need to be focused on downtown both Main Street and North Street. In addition to restaurants, we need to retain and attract interesting retail that appeals to a broad range including families, seniors and the university community. We need to make the current parking opportunities more visible and attractive. Citizens, business owners and City officials can work as partners. Together we can promote cultural and recreational events and festival markets as well as integrate the history of the city and the historic buildings into the fabric of downtown.

Green initiatives: It is important to keep focused on green initiatives. One example of a green initiative to bring forward is the use of reusable bags. The City is fortunate to have a broad base of active citizens and businesses who could work together on a reusable bag program. I would encourage the Environmental Sustainability Committee, and the Community Appearance Committee in concert with City service organizations and businesses to organize a program. Service organizations, civic associations, and businesses working together to encourage the use of reusable bags can make a difference.

Space: I voted with the City Council to expand the Kitty Pozer garden to the west while retaining parking to the east. The City needs to bring attention to the existing parking in the downtown area.

Issue: Protecting the residential character of our neighborhoods is also an important issue to residents. Encouraging the rejuvenation and revitalization of our aging neighborhoods will help to maintain property values and keep our residential vacancy rate low. I will continue to support our neighborhoods.

Contact:; elllie@; 703-740-7951

Steven C. Stombres, Independent, Incumbent

Biography: Personal: Married to Kristen; Children: Katie, Ellie, and Jimmy;

Professional: Congressional Staff, U.S. House of Representatives; Retired, U.S. Army Reserve; Education: Virginia Tech, BA, History; Community Activities: Alternate Commissioner, Northern Virginia Transportation Commission, Member, Historic Fairfax City, Inc., Member, Daniels Run PTA, Member, American Legion Post 177, Volunteer, FPYC Soccer

Visitors/Business: We should redevelop Courthouse Plaza so that an “anchor” can be established adjacent to the historic district to attract more foot traffic downtown. We can also encourage new investment and protect current businesses downtown by reducing the extra taxes they pay; replacing lost parking downtown, improving signage, and supporting hometown businesses with our patronage.

Green initiatives: I fully support increasing green initiatives in the City of Fairfax. I will continue to work to improve our recycling rate and meet our goal of having the highest recycling rate in Virginia. In addition, the City recently conducted an energy audit of City buildings, and we must fully implement the efficiency recommendations. We must also fight to prevent future spills of hazardous materials within the City and make the City more bicycle and pedestrian friendly.

Space: I voted in favor of increasing Kitty Pozer garden in George Mason Square. I believe this will be an attractive addition to our historic district and will provide a central location for special events, an ideal setting for farmer’s markets, and a usable community gathering place. At the same time, we must work to assist current businesses downtown and attract new investment so that residents and visitors can shop, eat, and be entertained here in the City of Fairfax.

Issue: The City Council and Planning Commission are currently reviewing the City’s Comprehensive plan, which represents our collective vision for what we want the City to look like for the next generation of residents. It must strike the proper balance between smart growth and commercial revitalization while protecting the residential nature of our community. We must also deal with our aging water treatment plant, work to mitigate the impact of high-density development just outside of the City, address the need for senior housing, and deal with reduced support for our schools.

Contact:;; 703-279-5187

Candidates for School Board, City of Fairfax

(Vote for not more than five)

Jon A. Buttram, Independent, Incumbent

Biography: Defense contractor; BS (Aerospace Engineering), Master’s (Engineering Management); Captain (USNR) Retired; Current City of Fairfax School Board 8 years service; Past Chairman, Virginia Schools Board Association, Northeastern Region; Southeast Fairfax Citizens Association; Scout leader ten years; Married (wife-Sharon, sons-Samuel and Benjamin)

Enrollment/tuition: Currently, City schools are at, or slightly above capacity, with the trend in school population over the next few years increasing. In the near term, to address overcrowding, I support the current efforts to add classrooms (like the temporary classrooms at FHS) or modify existing school spaces to gain class space, while increasing staff to properly support the expanding student populations. This will require budget support and grants for programs and initiatives that enhance the educational environment such as Responsive Classroom and math/homework clubs. A longer term solution involves gaining agreements with the county to adjust boundaries outside the city to more adequately support the populations of students that our schools can service.

Special programs: The City schools have a tradition of thinking beyond the curriculum. I will continue to support programs that expand on the curriculum to enhance the rigorous academic experience. I will also support budget initiatives and grants for programs that enhance the students’ creative and critical thinking skills (Patterns of Thinking/21st century skills, writer workshops), and support intervention and preparation (AP boot camps, Early Learning Lab, Read 180 and Jump Start Honors Camp). I support programs that seek ways to introduce technology as a useful tool and look forward to the introduction of digital textbooks and more on-line courses where reasonable. Finally, I support programs that take advantage of partnerships with universities, such as GMU, and the business community.

School issue: The maintenance of school facilities is a potential issue that needs to be addressed. Overcrowded, our schools will experience accelerated wear and tear. The School Board’s 6-year Plan addresses monitoring the facilities and ensuring appropriate maintenance and timely capital improvements. The solution is to continue pressing for needed funding in the school board’s budget for capital improvements and introducing cost reduction programs, such as performance contracting, when possible.

Contact:; 703-385-4643

Janice B. Miller, Independent, Incumbent

Biography: City resident and community leader since 1970. School Board 1996-current, 1977-1980, 1982-1992, City Council, 1992-1994, PRAB 1995-1997. Elementary School Mentor. Member: VSBA, Friends of Fairfax, Chocolate Lovers Festival, Historic Fairfax Inc, HFNA. Leadership positions with PTAs and youth groups. Graduate University of Kansas, BS Education. Married, four children, four grandchildren.

Enrollment/tuition: Student enrollment is growing in all Northern Virginia school divisions — including the City of Fairfax. Both city and county students attend classes in city school buildings. The four city school buildings are adequate to support the number of city students. The City School Board must work with the county school board to alleviate the overcrowding in city schools by modifying school boundaries. Increased student enrollment will require the city to allocate additional funds for the annual tuition payment.

Special programs: Under the School Services Agreement, the Fairfax County School Board is responsible for all school operations -- including curriculum and special programs. For a number of years, the City School Board has funded grants to our four city schools. Programs include: AP Boot Camp, Honors Math Camp, summer remedial learning opportunities, late buses, field trips, and funds for professional development. The program is funded through the city school board budget.

School issue: Contractual oversight is "the" fundamental responsibility of the City School Board The unique partnership between the two boards provides opportunities to advocate for high quality academic opportunities for all students, to keep outstanding and activist principals in our buildings, to offer challenging curriculum and to expect the best efforts from all students and staff. Meeting federal and state testing standards will continue to be a priority. Community dialogue should continue through e-Close-Up, social media and community forums. The Board must be accountable to our community, families and students and to use financial resources wisely while offering quality educational programs.

Contact:; 703-691-1748

Carolyn S. Pitches, Independent, Incumbent

Biography: Carolyn Pitches is a First Grade co-teacher and Wellness and Life teacher at Flint Hill School. She has a BA in Elementary Education from Virginia Tech and a M. Ed from George Mason University. She taught in Prince William County for nine years as a middle school teacher.

Enrollment/tuition: As City of Fairfax enrollment continues to climb, our tuition bill to Fairfax County increases and schools continue to become overcrowded. It is imperative that we find some viable solutions to these problems. We cannot stop population growth. However, we strive to ensure that our average daily membership is accurate by keeping on top of where our students reside and working with the county staff to make sure these numbers are updated. The buildings also need to be used to their fullest potential. I will continue to support the facilities staff coming into our buildings to evaluate the utilization of space and reorganize any space that is underutilized into viable classroom space. I also support future boundary studies that may alleviate some of the overcrowding in our schools.

Special programs: The City of Fairfax School Board supports Fairfax County Public Schools instructional programming and currently does provide special programs for City schools that delivers additional support for that curriculum. I will continue to support the Fairfax City School Board’s grant program that has been in place for about 10 years. It has provided both summer programs and programs that are provided throughout the school year whose purposes range from remediation to enrichment. The school board also uses this grant money to provide staff development at our City schools, which I feel to be extremely important for our teachers. This professional development allows them to provide our students with meaningful learning experiences.

School issue: I believe that the school issue that is most important to our residents is the overcrowding of our schools. I cannot say that there are many other problems that outweigh the concern of overcrowding for our residents. I support reallocation of facility space, use of modular buildings, and boundary studies to help alleviate this problem.

Contact:; 703-424-3027

Tobin M. ‘Toby’ Sorensen, Independent, Incumbent

Biography: Current member, City School Board; BA, Philosophy, St. Bonaventure University; MA, Linguistics, MA, Humanities, University of Chicago; former editor-in-chief; former computer programmer; PTA president, elementary, middle, high schools; past member, County Superintendent’s Business and Community Advisory Council, City School Board Facilities Planning Committee, School Bond Task Force, Fairfax Community Coalition

Enrollment/tuition: Growing enrollment is an issue that both the City and County School Boards are facing. Physical adjustments to buildings, reclassification of feeder schools, and, when the economy rebounds, new construction of County facilities are on the table. The City School Board works with our County counterpart to ensure that City schools benefit from these strategies. The City has worked hard in recent years to improve our housing stock, and we have seen a generational transition from older couples to young families. The Fairfax City Council, our funding body, will continue to support our schools and our students.

Special programs: According to the School Services Agreement, the City School Board cannot provide programs that the County does not offer. However, we can support existing programs. We have done so by paying for additions such as remedial and enrichment summer school classes, advanced language labs, and ecology programs as part of the science curriculum. Our discretionary funds for this purpose are relatively small, but targeted planning has proven to be very useful. Despite budgetary constraints, the success of these supplements has convinced City Council not to reduce these funds.

School issue: City residents have the same concerns as County residents. Is money being spent wisely, are our students successful, can we be proud of our schools? They are affected by the controversial issues that are discussed in the media. One of my major tasks is to communicate constantly with the residents about the status of our schools and work with our friends on the County School Board to resolve their concerns. This is much easier to do in a small tight-knit community like Fairfax City and is a reason why I love living here.

Contact:; 703-591-5899

Mitch A. ‘Sut’ Sutterfield, Independent, Incumbent

Biography: Current member, City School Board. BA, MA, William & Mary; PhD, GWU. Taught English, Fairfax HS, 1977-2009; Teacher of the Year, 2003. FHS Head Wrestling Coach, 1984-2008; VHSL Wrestling Coach of the Year, 2004; National Wrestling Hall of Fame, 2012.

Enrollment/tuition: Rising enrollment is a sign of a good school system, but it’s also a problem that must be addressed. There are many expedients: creative use of existing space; scheduling that spreads out class changes; installation of temporary structures; possible boundary changes; and, the ultimate response, new school buildings.

All these ideas have practical limitations and trade-offs. Managed space and temporary structures fill up, boundary changes are slow and contentious, and where can we find 50 acres to build a new high school? We must continue to pay attention to informed voices, then make the “least bad” decisions.

Special programs: The City of Fairfax offers several grants that add value to the already highly regarded curriculum of Fairfax County schools. The City has previously supported programs such as SOL remediation, Advanced Placement “boot camps,” extra technology resources, an extra late-bus run, and staff development. These targeted initiatives have been successful, providing measurable impact for a modest amount of money. The key is to listen to principals; they know best what would help their kids.

School issue: About 35 years ago, Fairfax City and Fairfax County had a falling out that led to talk of an independent school system for the City, along the lines of Falls Church. In August 1978, comity was restored with a contract of shared responsibility that we still follow today: The County staffs our four schools and runs our programs; the City builds, owns, and maintains the facilities and supplements the County’s services. This partnership has served us well, but we must constantly promote its mutual benefits. “Why can’t we move out the County kids and go our own way?” is an understandable reaction to today’s overcrowding, but such “independence” would leave us with a shrunken, limited, and more expensive school system.

Contact:; 703-927-9433