Vote Yes: Immigrant Families Rely on Schools for More Than Education

Vote Yes: Immigrant Families Rely on Schools for More Than Education

Fairfax County Public Schools are more than just a place to learn. Growing up in Burke, I saw firsthand how our schools created a sense of community and neighborhood camaraderie.

Schools are where we could go to borrow a book, where we could watch and play sports, and where we could perform a play or listen to a concert.

Schools are where we gather for community events and festivals. For many of us, schools are where we will exercise our civic duty, and vote in November.

They are a promise to everyone in our neighborhood that regardless of racial, ethnic, or economic background, you are a part of our community.

This is especially true for Fairfax County’s immigrant and new American residents. Education is essential to realizing the commitment of the American Dream — that if you work hard, and play by the rules, you can have an opportunity to achieve a better life. Fully funding our schools is critical to fulfilling that promise of opportunity and uplifting Fairfax families.

In fact, immigrant families rely on schools for more than just education. The wraparound services that Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) provide informs families about county services, involves them in the larger community, and brings families that might otherwise be isolated through language or cultural barriers into our Fairfax family.

That's why I support investing in Fairfax and voting "yes" on the 2016 Fairfax County meals tax referendum.

The meals tax will bring in millions of dollars for our schools. This money will be used to hire and retain the best quality teachers, keep class sizes low, and maintain the best specialty programs in the state, such as art, music, and ESL classes.

Without a meals tax, our schools will continue to experience budget shortfalls. Without a meals tax, Fairfax will struggle to hire and retain the best teachers, and FCPS will continue to struggle with increased class sizes.

Luckily we have a choice. Vote Yes on the meals tax to support our schools.

Alfonso Lopez represents Fairfax and the 49th District in the Virginia House of Delegates. He also serves as the Minority Whip.