Fairfax County teachers want more money; property tax hike possi - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Fairfax County teachers want more money; property tax hike possible

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Teachers in Fairfax County have not gotten much in the way of raises in recent years. But to get more money, they may have to convince the Board of Supervisors to raise the rate at which property is taxed.

About 680 students attend Deer Park Elementary School in Centreville. To cope with the growing enrollment, Fairfax County Public Schools has put in a modular wing with at least ten extra classrooms.

Teachers at Deer Park have decided to demonstrate solidarity (in their quest for more money for schools) by dressing in blue every Wednesday. Art teacher Precious Crabtree has a master’s degree plus 30 hours of academic credits. Crabtree says around here, her salary of about $73,000 a year is not enough: “Since I’ve lived in Fairfax County, I’ve had to have a second job, a third job. I’ve done tutoring. I’ve worked in a recreation center. I’ve also worked for a friend who has her own business, and I work as her personal assistant just to make ends meet in this county.”

The teachers know the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors will soon decide how much money to give the school system. The president of the teachers union says the current proposal is insufficient.

Kimberly Adams, President of the Fairfax Education Association, addressed the teachers at Deer Park Elementary late Wednesday afternoon: “Yesterday, Ed Long, proposed the budget -- that’s the county executive. He proposed a two percent increase in the transfer. So we need to get from two percent to 5.7 [percent]. And we’ve got to get somewhere there, close to that number. Or we’re going to see a definite deficit in our programs.”

Just about the only way to get more money for schools is to raise the rate at which residential (and commercial) property is taxed. Property taxes are already going up (an average of $330 a year) because of recovering home values.

It’s a dilemma, even for a parent with three kids in Fairfax Public Schools.

“On the one hand as a property owner, I don’t like the idea of taxes going up,” Marian Ewell, a parent of three public school students, told us. “On the other hand, I value having good quality schools in this county, and I want them to continue to be good quality schools.”

Before going home for the day, the teachers here at Deer Park Elementary School took out their cellphones to call county officials to lobby for more money to be spent on education.

Because of public notice requirements, we should know by next week whether the Board of Supervisors is even contemplating a hike in property taxes.

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