Town of residence: Fairfax
Family: Husband, Charlie (Oakton graduate ’97); Ryan (4th grade), Keri (2nd grade), Ethan (Kindergarten), Vader (rescue puppy)
Education: B.A in Economics; University of Virginia, Masters in Physical Therapy; University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Occupation and relevant experience: Physical Therapist (Senior Therapist – mentor and leader role)
Community involvement: Volunteer in children’s elementary school, local homeless shelter, church, and with meals and holiday gifts through Our Daily Bread, volunteer with kid’s sports and activities, Manna Meal coordinator, PTA member
Email address: Jeanetteforschoolboard@gmail.com
Name three favorite endorsements: Class Size Counts, Former Congressman Tom Davis, Congresswoman Barbara Comstock
What is one issue that defines your call to serve, why does it matter, and how will you tackle it?
Responsibility to the community defines my call to serve. That responsibility comes with engaging the community members, being fiscally responsible and setting clear priorities. Authentic engagement includes holding office hours and citizen town halls throughout the year, not just showing up to ribbon cuttings and planned events. Our community deserves more transparency with FCPS’ $2.7 billion operating fund. I will prioritize reducing large class sizes, not with one-time fixes the way my opponents have, but with long-term planning. I will prioritize competitive teacher salaries. Our teachers’ salaries have fallen behind compared to surrounding counties. Instead of making it a real priority, the Board raised their own salary by 60%.
As a leader, I will have fresh ideas, strategic planning and direct the dollars to our teachers and students first.
What distinguishes you from your opponent(s) and why should voters choose you?
My opponents either do not have children or have not had children in FCPS for a long time. Only three of the 12 School Board members have children in FCPS. As the mother of children in graduating classes of 2023, 2025, 2027, I bring a unique insight into our school system. Parents want a voice on the School Board and to have input before decisions are made. I bring an Economics degree at a time when we face a shortfall of over $70 million for FY17 due to the current Board failing to enact budgeting best practices.
How will you address the growing economic divide in county schools?
Part of the growing divide comes from parallel decisions made by the Board of Supervisors. It is imperative to have a new School Board that can build trust with the Board of Supervisors. With a better relationship, the two Boards can work together for our community and all of our children.
How will you address the achievement gap?
Under current leadership, the achievement gap continues to be substantial. We cannot keep electing the same people and expect a different result. We need to provide a rigorous curriculum to all students and allocate resources for objective gains. We need to work with the community to provide wraparound services and empower parents to help their children at home, after they leave the school building.
More than half of the county budget is devoted to the local school system with a significant budget gap looming, both for FCPS and Fairfax County. What steps would you take to manage the gap and to fund the needs of the school system? What are the top priorities and what could be cut?
FCPS’ projected shortfall is 2.5% of the operating budget. The current School Board took five years to hire an auditor general and has refused to do a line of business review. My top priority is to ensure clear metrics and objectivity so we base cuts on educational impact and effectiveness, not on bias and popularity. We also need to look at FCPS’ contract procurement practices. One At-Large member, as chair of the audit committee, failed to present a report to the Board detailing significant concerns with FCPS’ contract procurement process. I will bring leadership to the Board so we cut waste and inefficiency, not proven programs.
What value does FCPS add for taxpayers who do not have children in the schools?
A great school system improves home values, drives economic development, and attracts businesses among other things. Conversely, a declining school system will have an adverse effect. If elected, I will work hard and make common sense decisions to get the dollars to our classrooms, helping our students and our whole community.