Education / Schools / Why are our schools so overcapacity?

The OUR SCHOOLS Facebook blog asks:

Why are Forest Park, Hylton, Osbourn Park and Woodbridge High Schools over capacity? Transfers in, not boundaries

Why are Potomac and Freedom High Schools under capacity? Transfers out, not boundaries.

Why do schools continue to accept transfers in that greatly exceed their transfer out numbers when they are out of space? High scoring students look good even in trailers and packed in like sardines.

Patriot is the only above capacity high school that had more students transfer out than in. The school decided to close the school to transfers in starting in Sept of 2013. It was a wise decision.

The numbers don’t lie:

Battlefield High School is 408 students above capacity with a net gain of 109 students from transfers in.

Brentsville District High is 188 student below capacity with a net loss of 109 students from transfers out.

Forest Park High School is 296 students above capacity with a net gain of 429 students from transfers in.

Freedom High School is 133 students below capacity with a net loss of 370 students from transfers out.

Garfield High School is 385 students below capacity with a net loss of 184 students from transfers out.

Hylton High School is 341 students above capacity with a net gain of 470 students from transfers in.

Osbourn Park High School is 333 students above capacity with a net gain of 335 students from transfers in.

Patriot High School is 561 students above capacity with a net loss of 127 students from transfers out.

Potomac High School is 733 students below capacity with a net gain of 694 students from transfers out.

Stonewall High School is 91 students below capacity with a net loss of 157 students from transfers out.

Woodbridge High School is 114 students above capacity with a net gain of 282 students from transfers in.

Spreadsheet of school student loads

April 2nd, Meet and Greet with Fairfax Supervisor Pat Herrity and Delegate Barbara Comstock

Fairfax Supervisor Pat Herrity and Delegate Barbara Comstock will hold a Meet and Greet on Wednesday, April 2 from 7:00 to 8:30 pm.

This Meet and Greet is being co-hosted by Paula and Peter Sabo and will take place at the home of Supervisor Pat and Nancy Herrity, located at 13929 South Springs Drive in Clifton. This event provides the opportunity for us to speak about the issues you care about and answer any questions you may have about the election.

Please RSVP to Erika Dyer at or (703) 906-6368.

McAuliffe Proposes Fed Funded Medicaid Program

RICHMOND – Gov. Terry McAuliffe addressed critics of Medicaid expansion as part of Virginia’s Biennial budget by proposing a two-year pilot program he says would close the Commonwealth’s healthcare gap without financial penalty to the state. McAuliffe’s 45-minute address signified the beginning of the General Assembly’s special session, which has been scheduled in effort to reach an agreement on the roughly $96 billion two-year budget currently at odds over expanding Medicaid coverage for more than 400,000 Virginians.


McAuliffe Proposes Fed Funded Medicaid Program

By Eric Luther

Capital News Service

RICHMOND — Gov. Terry McAuliffe addressed critics of Medicaid expansion as part of Virginia’s biennial budget by proposing a two-year pilot program he says would close the commonwealth’s healthcare gap without financial penalty to the state.

McAuliffe’s 45-minute address signified the beginning of the General Assembly’s special session, which was scheduled in effort to reach an agreement on the roughly $96 billion two-year budget currently at odds over expanding Medicaid coverage to more than 400,000 currently uninsured Virginians.

McAuliffe says the federally funded pilot program would allow Virginia to once again “lead the way” by helping its sickest citizens gain access to healthcare, keep hospitals and clinics afloat, and bring taxpayer dollars back to the commonwealth.

“Opponents have thrown up road block after road block,” McAuliffe said in the Monday address on Capitol Square. “But their arguments have been overcome by simple facts.”

Detractors said closing the healthcare coverage gap would cost Virginia millions of dollars. However, according to McAuliffe, expanding Medicaid would in fact save Virginia’s state budget more than $1 billion between now and 2022.

The proposed pilot program is backed by a letter from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and states if Virginia implements an expansion of Medicaid coverage for two years, and then drops such coverage at the end of that time period, there would be no financial drawback and no reduction in federal dollars otherwise available to Virginia for its Medicaid program.

The letter is significant, McAuliffe says, because it opens the door for a pragmatic and balanced approach to closing the healthcare coverage gap that all sides should find reasonable.

“There can be no more excuses,” McAuliffe said. “Hundreds of thousands of working families throughout Virginia are counting on us to set aside partisan politics and get the job done.”

McAuliffe harked back to the days of former Gov. Bob McDonnell to further the notion of setting aside partisan disagreements, and urged delegates and senators alike to reach a compromise in the coming weeks.

“Gov. McDonnell included funding in his budget for the Affordable Care Act as early as 2012,” McAuliffe said. “And please let us not forget that the Medicaid Innovation Reform Commission itself was a creature of the budget.”

In addition to Medicaid expansion, McAuliffe highlighted some of the other elements of his biennial budget, including $1.8 million for mental health initiatives, $4.8 million for extended school year grants and $17 million to fund the Line of Duty Act with the Virginia Retirement System.

Prince William, Virginia / Education / Schools and tax revenue-sharing

Prince William, Virginia / Schools / Education

Bill Golden

What if they held a debate, invited you, and you had little to say?

Last night I was a panelist on the Committee of 100 to discuss ‘Should the revenue-sharing deal between the county and the school system be kept in place?

A good topic. A great topic … however this is a conversation that could go in various directions.

My position was that I could support either outcome depending upon the details and once we knew more about what the prioritized needs of the schools. HOWEVER, my stated position was ‘No, do not continue the revenue-sharing agreement’. Due to a changing, challenged economy we need all parts of our government to be transparent and to justify every expense. We need expenses linked to a strategic plan that focuses first on needs and then on what we can do.

The conversation did not go there: it being all about the economy.

Committee of 100 attendees were focused on the internal processes and procedural relationship between the BOCS and the PWC schools. Fair enough. That is appropriate. Supervisor Candland of Gainesville and Chairman Milt Johns were on the panel — both did a great job of handling the line of questioning. Both are lightning rods on this issue and both comfortably answered questions and gave solid responses to those asking the questions.

It is all about the economy to me.

Our local economy (as are most in the region) are undergoing a fundamental reset. If we cannot afford the schools that we have then we are in real trouble … not real trouble eventually but now, tomorrow, beginning with the next budget.

Our local government derives 77% (2013) of its revenue from residential real estate taxes. 22% of revenue comes from commercial properties, and 1% from various odds-n-ends. Bad news: Commercial property shifted downwards in 2013, placing more of the burden on homeowners.

Once you blow past the bluster: we live in a great county devoted to people actually just living in the county. There are no major industries. There are barely any minor industries.

Major non-federal ‘in county’ employers as of 2013:

#1 PWC School System
#2 PWC County Government
#3 Walmart
#4 Sentara Hospital
#5 Wegmans
#6 Northern Virginia Community College
#7 Minnieland Private Day School
#8 Target
#9 Lowes’ Home Centers
#10 George Mason University

Source: Virginia Employment Commission, 2014

THE employer in Prince William County is the Federal Government and Department of Defense; 10 percent of their metro Washington DC employee base lives in Prince William County … and that is before counting its many contractors with jobs located outside of the county.

Washington’s Business Journal (2012) best summed up our local economy:

Prince William County is a jurisdiction of 400,000-plus residents, the second largest county in Virginia, and yet it remains a sleepy suburb. People eat there. They shop there. They rest their weary heads there. And then they wake up and go to work someplace else. Despite its exploding population, recently released data suggests Prince William is very much a bedroom community.

The Future arrived during the summer of 2013.

Summer of 2013 is when defense contractors began slashing salaries and laying off employees by the busload. Hundreds, if not a thousand locals, got pink slips. In some cases, professionals working at Quantico saw their paychecks cut from $120,000 to $75-85,000 … if they wanted to keep their jobs. Even those with technical skills and high-level security clearances were not safe.

So what is the future?

George Mason University’s Center for Regional Analysis ( issued an insightful updated report in December 2013 entitled: “Housing the Region’s Future Workforce, 2012-2032” by Lisa Sturtevant, PhD and Jeannette Chapman.

The theme of the report may be housing but what the report’s authors did brilliantly is to tie housing to jobs. It is all about the economy.

Some quick takeaways:

  • There will be continued jobs growth but the overwhelming number of jobs will be low or moderate paying.
  • Prince William County can expect to see an average of about 4,000 jobs added annually — which equals nothing more than normal population growth.
  • Housing that costs less than $200,000 will be needed for a significant number of people in newly created jobs.
  • More transient rental living units are needed. Home ownership is expected to slide from today’s 65% to 56%.
  • RED FLAG: a major threat to jobs growth will be falling wages and an inability to afford to live in the area.

It is all about the economy.

Housing, roads, public facilities, etc., all compete with schools for tax dollars. If we have trouble keeping up now then tomorrow (2015+) will be an even greater challenge.

If we strategically plan immediately for what the next five years look like and prioritize then we should do just fine.

Our challenge is that we are a suburb-based community living on the edge of other counties with dynamic industry-driven economies. We are dependent upon their economic health for our own. That pays for our way of life. That pays for our schools by us having good jobs that pay out-of-county wages that enable us to have median county salaries of $96,000 and not the in-county wages of less than $50,000 annually.

What are we going to say when our median salaries drop to $76,000 or $86,000? This is much more than just a possibility.

I oppose the continued tax revenue-sharing plan between the county and the schools because we need to start thinking differently. Thinking differently begins with establishing priorities, linking them to a strategic plan and then being willing to pay for it … or figuring what to scale back and how to smartly do that.

Best regards,
Bill Golden


Dale City’s Connie Moser selected as a Virginia Community Leader “Making Democracy Work” by the League of Women Voters

Anne Sterling, President of the League of Women Voters of Virginia (LWV-VA), enthusiastically announces that resident and community leader Connie Moser will be honored at the March 22, 2014 LWV-VA Spring Awards Luncheon at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond.

Connie was nominated by the Prince William Area League.  Along with ten other outstanding citizens and leaders from across the Commonwealth, she will be recognized for significant contributions to “Making Democracy Work” locally and regionally.

Connie actively encourages and empowers others to participate in the democratic process at many levels in the Prince William area. She educates the community using several types of media in a manner that initiates and encourages civil dialogue and action on a wide range of public policy issues.  Her creative initiatives and community education efforts result in more well-informed voters and empowered citizens.  She is Making Democracy Work.

The celebration also will feature a presentation by Bob Gibson, Executive Director of The Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership at the University of Virginia.

The public is invited to attend.  Information on reservations and other details are available at and from the President of the Prince William Area League, Carol Noggle, at, 703-743-1831.

Connie Moser

Rural Crescent – Does it have a viable future?

Rural Crescent

Went to a meeting about the Rural Crescent last evening. Was an education. Got to hear differing views: farm families that are unhappy with current policy (it severely depresses their worth if they should sell), current policy is supposed to prop up farming but does just the opposite, and PWC Gov has no staff member responsible for agricultural issues. There are numerous environmental issues and there are many tools (fiscal strategies) that PWC should probably be using but isn’t — but other counties are and are reporting general success.

2013 PWC rural crescent study

Throughout the discussions, the future of Woodbridge kept popping up. It seems that economic and neighborhood development of Woodbridge needs to be an essential component of keeping the Rural Crescent rural as PWC adds 100,000 new residents over the next 10 years. If we do not develop, or over develop the Rural Crescent, then all of these new PWC citizens need somewhere to live and to work. Woodbridge seems to be the right location due to transportation connectivity, its appropriateness for redevelopment (no longer a commercial hub; lots of developed idle space that can be redeveloped), and its proximity to jobs (not in our county, so access to transportation is essential).

It is complicated. Lots to learn and to think about.

Am adding ‘Rural Crescent’ to my Top 10 list of things to learn more about when it comes to PWC.

– Bill Golden

Crowded Classrooms and no money to fix, but $2.5M for lights on sportsfields?

Crowded Classrooms = No Money?

$2.5M to be spent on lighting school sports fields?!

There are some folks upset that the PWC schools keep finding money for nice-to-have and good-to-have, but non-essential things: an inexpensive pool inside of a new high school, neon informational billboard signs at entrances to schools, lights for sports fields, etc.

March 11th - Item #5I on the BOCS Consent Agenda/Budget Amendments – The Department of Parks and Recreation will ask the PWC BOCS to transfer $2.5M for the lighting of several middle schools sports fields.

What has some folks upset is that our classrooms are stuffed and classroom size is huge throughout the county.

? What not spend the money for some more teachers, some ask?

Yin and Yang

An appropriate counterargument would be: If the $2.5M were coming directly from the school budget then PWCS should be hauled up front and made to explain some things as to classroom size. However, it isn’t. The money is coming from Parks and Recreation — which has plenty of public sports fields without lights.

The $2.5M is being transferred from the Park’s fund to cover field lighting. School grounds are/have been part of the public park system in PWC for a long time.

However, if $2.5M is being spent from the Parks fund to light fields then what level of access  will the PWC public get to these fields? How will organizations and sports clubs go about getting access to their ‘parks’ with lighted sports fields?

Bill Golden

aka and

Tenth Congressional District will hold two GOP candidate debates – NEXT March 15th, Winchester

The Tenth Congressional District will hold two GOP candidate debates.

The first debate will occur on March 15, 2014 at Millbrook High School in Winchester, Virginia. Details are below. The second debate will occur on April 9 at River Bend Middle School in Sterling, Virginia. Details of the second debate are still being finalized and will be released later.

Candidates and their names and contact information are listed below in the order in which they will appear on the ballot (which was determined by random draw):

Delegate Barbara Comstock
Campaign Manager: Susan Falconer
Telephone: (703) 868-2429

Howie Lind
Campaign Manager: Howie Morgan
Telephone: (662) 832-8882

Stephen Hollingshead
Campaign Manager: Luke Mahoney
Telephone: (757) 353-7058

Marc Savitt
Campaign Manager: Tim Price
Telephone: (540) 550-4496

Rob Wasinger
Campaign Manager: Michael Cogar
Telephone: (571) 251-3830

Delegate Bob Marshall
Campaign Manager:
Telephone: (703) 853-4213

Sunday – 10AM – BlogTalkRadio – Local Manassas Blogger Phillip Joy discusses the situation in Ukraine

Local Manassas Conservative Blogger Phillip Joy will discuss today (Sunday, March 2nd) on The Meter the continuing crises in Ukraine as Russian president Vladimir Putin ignores U.S. President Barack Obama’s warning that there will be a "cost" for his actions as Russia’s military expands operations in The Crimea and now into eastern Ukraine which is pro-Russian.

From Phillip’s perspective: This is happening just as the Obama administration announced massive cuts in US forces and proclaims that America can no long count on dominating the Seas and Skies. So is this the appropriate course of action for America’s defense? Also, on the domestic front President Obama announces a plan called My Brother’s Keeper to help disadvantaged black and Hispanic youths in the 6th year of his historic administration. Please join the discussion at 10:00 AM. Your input is

10 of Bill Golden’s favorite employment news websites

by Bill Golden

10 Sources of high quality information about Jobs and Business trends:

– When collecting news to share, always try to focus on next week and the future. Talking about today and yesterday should only be discussed when it has some relevance to the future.

  • USATodayview
    – Serious jobs trends; stuff that affects ‘USA’
  • AOL Jobsview
    – Often a good place for crazy news
  • MarketWatch- view
    – Financial markets-driven news
  • U.S. Newsview
    – Issues in the labor and employment market
  • Federal Dailyview
    – Issues, topics and trends within the federal workforce
  • Federal Timesview
    – More federal jobs news, but focuses more heavily on changes in technology and the impact on employment.
  • Science Daily Newsview

    – How much or little is your science and non-IT technical degree worth? What is hot and (pinch your nose) not?!

  • Atlantic Magazineview

    – Business, employment and ethical/philosophy views on interpreting the news.

  • BBC Businessview
    – World economic news from a non-American viewpoint.
  • BLS / Bureau of Labor Statisticsview
    – Official U.S. Government statistical data on employment. Tons of info, but you often must ask questions or understand certain concepts for the information to make sense.

There are other sources that I also regularly use (Bureau of Economic Analyses, The Economist, Washington Post Wonkblog, etc.) but these are 10 of my daily favorites.

? What are your favorites? Please drop me a line and tell me. Am always looking for new sources of quality business, employment and jobs news.

Best regards,

Bill Golden