--What do you see as a MAJOR ISSUE facing the schools?
--What would you hope to ACCOMPLISH during your tenure on the School Board?
Candidates (choose 5):
Jon A. Buttram
Biography: Current School Board Member w/ 10 years service, Defense Contractor w/ CSC, BS Aerospace Eng (USNA) and MS Eng Mgmt (GWU), Captain (USNR-Ret), Past Chairman for VSBA NE Region, Scout Leader for 10 years, Married: wife-Sharon, sons-Samuel and Benjamin
MAJOR ISSUE: The issue that presents the most challenge is the budget. Our City’s school budget is tied to the FCPS budget through the service agreement contract between the City and the County. It is important that we monitor the county’s budget actions, and plan accordingly to address any potential affect these decisions may have on the City’s schools budget and our students.
ACCOMPLISH: To be a good steward of the City’s funds by supporting budgets that center on student success and provide responsible facility management. Work to ensure the schools benefit from a well planned and funded Capital Improvement Plan. Help expand STEM/STEAM and college/career readiness in all our schools. Continue the effort to reduce overcrowding in the division’s schools.
Carolyn S. Pitches
Biography: I have a BA in Elementary Education from VA Tech and a M.Ed. from George Mason University. Currently, I teach first grade at Flint Hill School but will move into the position as Math Specialist. I am finishing my second term on our school board.
MAJOR ISSUE: The proposal to increase class size as a result of budgetary issues will create one of the most negative consequences for school age children in Fairfax City because the effects are far reaching. With increased class sizes comes decreasing student achievement through less individualized instruction. Students are receiving less intensive intervention and enrichment.
ACCOMPLISH: There are many programs that make Fairfax City Schools part of a premiere school system. During my tenure, I hope to ensure that applicable programs continue to be supported and further enriched through our school board discretionary funds, while exploring strategies for substituting comparable after school programs for any discontinued programs.
Robert M. Reinsel
Biography: Bob Reinsel grew up in the City of Fairfax. He is a graduate of Fairfax High School and Radford University. He currently serves on the City of Fairfax Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, and has two children in the City Schools.
MAJOR ISSUE: A major issue faced by the City of Fairfax Schools is understanding, and planning for, changes in enrollment due to demographic shifts in the City of Fairfax, and in neighboring Fairfax County. These shifts will influence the City of Fairfax Schools budget by changing the amount that is paid to Fairfax County Public Schools to support our school services agreement.
ACCOMPLISH: I hope to accomplish two things in my first term: 1) to help my fellow board members maintain our strong, effective relationship with Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS), and 2) to work with the Superintendent, the School Board, and the City Council to find opportunities to augment the services provided by FCPS with additional support from the City of Fairfax.,
Tobin M. “Toby” Sorensen
Biography: School Board member; undergraduate, St. Bonaventure Univ., graduate degrees, Univ. of Chicago; member, Parks and Rec Board; former editor-in-chief, delegate to NSBA Federal Relations Network, mmbr Superintendent’s BCA Council, School Bond Task Force
MAJOR ISSUE: Thanks to a boundary change, Fairfax High and Lanier Middle Schools are seeing population relief. Because building is expensive and county planning for new buildings is a long-term process, it will be some time before the same kind of relief occurs at the elementary level. We must assure that educational achievement and school atmosphere remain strong despite the challenge
ACCOMPLISH: I want to communicate to our citizens what great community schools we have. Thanks to the County, our students have access to a world-class education. Thanks to City oversight, our children are in caring community schools. I want to assure families that their children, no matter their capabilities, can almost always receive the education they need right here in the city.
Mitch A. “Sut” Sutterfield
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.
MAJOR ISSUE: The big issue is how to contend with the classic whipsaw: more people, less money. Fairfax County Public Schools, our city’s contractual partner, is growing by thousands of students each year. An increasing proportion of these new students require extra resources, such as free and reduced lunch, extra language instruction, or special education services.
ACCOMPLISH: We must sustain the quality of our outstanding school system—and do so with less. Pinched revenues have meant smart but painful personnel cuts, pay freezes, boundary adjustments, delays and reductions in programs and facilities—all in the face of increased costs for health insurance and pensions. New funding would be ideal, but meanwhile we do our best in tough times.