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Letter: Focus on Jefferson-Houston

— To the Editor:

The Gazette Packet’s story [“New Direction for Schools,” Nov. 22] relied on the overquoted, yet curiously ignored public relations expert Alan Hilburg's recent editorial lament. Hilburg's letter to the editor expressed sadness upon hearing of School Board Vice Chair Helen Morris' electoral passing. Morris like several past and present Jefferson-Houston PTA presidents are the architects of the school's academic decline.

It took the Virginia State Board of Education (October 2012) to confirm what the rest of us have always known. Hilburg donated $500 to Ms Morris' 2009 school board campaign. Then shortly thereafter he received a lucrative ACPS consulting contract.

Hilburg failed to acknowledge Jefferson-Houston School’s and Ms Morris' failure for what it is.

Jefferson-Houston principal Kim Graves once told us parents "children can be educated in a barn." The issue is not a new school building. Nor is it about modular units and overcrowding. It is about academic failure and overbuilding, and about how well ACPS does or does not recover from this board's failures. Perhaps we expect too much from a School Board that cannot rightly pass monthly financial statements.

The School Board fails, Ms Morris has failed, but hopefully the incoming School Board will not. It is time to pull back the new building and reevaluate Hilburg's spin. Does City Council has the chutzpah to do so before year's end?

Elizabeth Harrison