Massive budget cuts under consideration by the Fairfax County School Board could mean the end of full-day kindergarten and all elementary language immersion programs, including the Spanish immersion program offered at Lake Anne Elementary. Here's what the Lake Anne PTA is telling parents:
Foreign Language instruction at the Elementary level is quite likely to be cut from the schools budget. This means NO IMMERSION PROGRAM at Lake Anne.Preserving full-day kindergarten is a no-brainer, especially at schools that serve needy students. But language immersion programs are one of the hidden gems of Fairfax County's schools, something few public school systems nationwide have the resources or wherewithal to offer. Losing such an innovative program would be a tragedy for a community that's home to such a diverse population of students -- and to Lake Anne Elementary, which has seen its enrollment grow as a result of offering the program.
In addition, Lake Anne's Art Focus School funding, narrowly restored last year, will likely cut as well. Our students would have reduced music and music instruction, reduced time in art class and no drama classes at all. Elementary level band and strings may be eliminated completely.
Class sizes will increase by one or two pupils per class. Services by social workers and counselors will likely be curtailed. And it is a sad possibility that teachers and aides will be laid off. (Teachers and staff did not receive any increase in pay last year and do not expect to see any increase this year as well.)
We have no idea how that would play out for Lake Anne. The enrollment would be drastically reduced if the majority of students currently enrolled in Spanish Immersion returned to their boundary or base school. Our children would lose out and the school would lose as well.
Here's how the PTA suggests people can make their voices heard:
* Attend the budget "Dialogues" hosted by Fairfax County and FCPS. The next one close to Lake Anne will be on Saturday October 24 (this Saturday) from 10 a.m. to 12 Noon at the Reston Regional Library and then another meeting on Thursday October 29 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at The South Lakes High School cafeteria. You need to register for either or both of these events by calling 703.324.3291 or visiting www.fairfaxcounty.gov/budget. Bring your spouse, your children, your support system and make your feelings known.
* Complete the BUDGET FEEDBACK FORM at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/budget or call and express your viewpoint at 703.324.9400.
* Letters and emails can also be directed to the School Board and to the County Board of Supervisors (our Supervisor is Catherine Hudgins (firstname.lastname@example.org) at 703.478.0283.