March 2018 Newsletter

President’s Notes

Not a member? Join LEA!

Recently, I have had some great school visits and I want to share a point which many members do not realize. The leadership of LEA is voluntary. LEA's committee members, Worksite Reps, and your Board of Directors all have full-time jobs just like you. They volunteer their time and talents to LEA and LEA members for the improvement of our profession.

Together, we advocate with a unified voice. To ensure member and worksite concerns are heard, the quality of the structure of LEA is vital. I am working with the LEA Board of Directors as we look at our strengths and weaknesses which will lead to some exciting leadership development opportunities for members. I will be sure to share these with you as they are developed.

I want to challenge you to find a way to get more out of the Association by putting a bit more into it. We have many worksites with just a single Rep; ask them how you can help support them at your worksite. There are so many opportunities for you. I encourage you to check out  VEA's Summer Organizing School.


David Palanzi, President
Loudoun Education Association

School Board Update

From LoudounEA Facebook Live Post February 13 & 27

At the School Board Meeting. Tonight’s topics include the Fiscal Year 2018 Financial Review – as of December 31, Strategic Plan Action – Differentiated Resources, Facility Use Policy, Board-Staff Communications, Kindergarten Policy, and HCA & MCC (Charter School).  

Public Comment:  There are 10 speakers tonight for public comments. The speakers discussed advocacy for LGBTQ Harassment protection language in the policy and members from MSAAC spoke about the need for unconscious bias training for all staff.

At the School Board Meeting. Tonight’s topics include Board-Staff Communications, Kindergarten Policy, Action Plan Update for Gradebook Implementation, Action Plan Update on Recruitment, Rising Grade Five Students Affected by the Opening of Goshen Post Elementary School, and Temporary High School Attendance Zone Change for Certain Rising Grade Nine Students (in 2018-2019 Academic Year) Residing in the Brambleton Middle School Attendance Zone and New Policy 6540 "Retirement of Facilities" and the Deletion of Policy 2-19 "Superintendent's Recommended Capital Improvement Program: Closure of an Existing School". 

Public Comment: There are 18 speakers tonight for public comments. The speakers discussed advocacy for Special Education, LGBTQ harassment policy, and school safety.
See the rest of Dave's notes for the SB Meeting

Member Highlight

Shirlita West has been working with special education students as a teaching assistant for over 20 years. Shirlita's entire tenure in LCPS has been at Farmwell Station Middle School, where she first joined the staff in 1995.

Ms. West has dedicated her time to helping children with special needs, and, for the past 19 years, has worked with these students during the summer as part of the extended school year program. "It is rewarding to see the progress each child makes in his own time," she notes. "The students I work with want to know I care and understand them as a person, respect them as individuals...and encourage them to be better citizens."

Shirlita has been an active LEA member for 20 years, and has been one of the LEA representatives for Farmwell Station for the last five years. In her role as a Association rep, she focuses on the importance of keeping the school's staff informed of budgetary and policy decisions, and pays special attention to the needs of minority staff and school support staff.
The LEA Communications Committee thanks Shirlita for her service!

Budget Update

$1.105 tax rate would fund all the needs for the FY19 budget. The Board of Supervisors is considering adopting $1.09 which would leave LCPS $10.8 million short of the budget presented by Dr. Williams to the Board of Supervisors on February 7.

April 3rd @ 5 p.m. Board of Supervisors approves Loudoun County FY19 budget, including appropriation to schools.

BOS Budget Hearings

Thanks to the advocates for Public Education and the LCPS budget.

At the recent BOS Public Hearings, kudos go to the following LEA Members  who spoke:

Tuesday, February 27
  • Michele Copeland, Librarian, Powtomack ES, LEA Association Rep.
  • Carl Mackey, Teacher, Belmont Ridge MS, Compensation Committee
  • Sandy Sullivan, Teacher, Legacy ES, LEA Vice President
Thursday, March 1
  • Claire Scholz, LEA - Retired President
  • Anthony Fasolo, LEA - Retired
  • Matthew Gallelli, LEA - Retired
Saturday, March 3
  • David Palanzi, LEA President
  • Melissa Muszyskit, Teacher, Sully ES, LEA Secretary
  • Jeff Dunn, Teacher, Dominion HS, LEA Association Rep
  • Steven Meyer, Teacher, Harper Park MS, LEA Association Rep
There were many LEA members in the audience in support of these members.

Send the BOS an email supporting the LCPS budget from your personal email account today!

Public Hearing Speech

March 3
Good morning Madam Chair and Supervisors. I am David Palanzi; I live in the Leesburg District.

“Properly invest in public education”—these words were found in Supervisor Meyer’s campaign literature. I urge you to have the wisdom to set a tax rate which will fund the school’s budget. This budget begins to address some of the needs of the school system, however, it does not meet the needs of our employees. 

Loudoun needs schools where our custodians and all employees are paid a fair wage for the hard work they do. More than 85% of LCPS’s budget goes to employee wages. Although you do not set the school’s wages, the budget you set will fund the employees of the school system. I hope you’ve been reading the local paper; LEA has been working to educate the public about the abysmal pay of many employees who work 12 months a year, 8 hours a day, and are paid less than $32,659, which is a living wage for Loudoun County. Looking at recent local and national educational issues, we can see how undervaluing our public schools impacts the quality available to our students.

Due to underfunding by this board, there have been many cuts which undermine the resources for our employees and the learning environment of our kids. Using per pupil funding as an indicator, and accounting for inflation, the Loudoun Board of Supervisors are transferring less per pupil now than the Board transferred in 2009! To be precise, that is 10.1% less per pupil.

Setting a tax rate which under-resources the schools is irresponsible to our kids. For far too long, members of this board have used the equalized tax rate as a wall to block adequate funding for our schools. An equalized tax rate fails to factor in inflation. 

With an equalized tax rate, you are setting up our kids for failure.

Please demonstrate that you believe in our employees as well as our kids--and make the vote to set a tax rate that will properly invest in education. Poor decisions made here will set surely lead to failure for you at the ballot box in 2019.

LEA in the News

In case you missed these articles:
  • Loudoun Now   New 
    ECHO, Public Employees Union, Teachers Ask for Budget Help
    Check it out
  • Washington Post
    For low-wage school workers, lessons in survival
    Check it out
  • Loudoun Now    New 
    After Quiet Budget Public Hearings, Supervisors Get to Work
    Check it out

Educator for a Day

Thank you to the Membership Committee Chair, Alexa Severo, who worked with LEA Members to place LCPS School Board representatives and Board of Supervisors in classrooms across the district.

Jeff Morse, School Board Chair, Dulles District SB, spent a day at Lunsford MS with LEA Member, Katie Arnold.
Suzanne Volpe, Algonkian District BOS, spent a day at Dominion HS with LEA Member Heather Cox.
Jill Turgeon
, Blue Ridge District SB, spent a day at Woodgrove HS with LEA Member Sallie Street.
Kristen Umstattd
, Leesburg District BOS, spent a day at Leesburg ES with LEA Member Amanda Barbee.

March - Important Dates

  7 - Membership Committee
13 - School Board Meeting
14 - LEA Board of Directors
19 - Government Relations Committee
20 - School Board Meeting
21 - Rep Meeting
22 - LEA - Retired

**Next Association Rep Meeting 3-21-2018

More Dates

Reggie Smith
Organizing School

If you’re looking to make a difference in the LEA on the issues that matter most, join your VEA colleagues at Reggie Smith Organizing School this summer. This informative and fun event runs July 18-20 at the University of Richmond. Our theme is, “Educate, Agitate, Organize!”
You will leave our three-day organizing institute with the knowledge, skills, and confidence to improve the working and learning conditions in LCPS. Veteran organizers and seasoned colleagues will lead the training.  Consider attending with several of your LEA colleagues as a team!

Remember LEA will reimburse the $50 Registration fee after you have attended this training. Please let Debbie Harris (LEAOffice@LoudounEA.org) know if you plan to attend and she will send you information on LEA's reimbursement procedure.
More Info & Register

Rep Meeting Door Prize Winners

Lora Buckman, First Grade Teacher, Meadowland ES
Angelia Bono, Science Teacher, Smart's Mill MS
Rebecca Lasky, Resource Teacher, Frederick Douglass ES

500 Color Photo Copies, Office Supplies, A Day With Dave as a Co-Teacher

Member Issues

When you talk to us, your information is confidential and we do not share your personal situation without your permission.
Suggestion Box

Association Meeting Schedule

    14—Wednesday, Board Meeting @ the LEA Office
21—Wednesday, Rep Meeting @ the Douglass School
    11—Wednesday, Board Meeting @ the LEA Office
25—Wednesday, Rep Meeting @ the Douglass School
    9—Wednesday, Board Meeting @ the LEA Office
16—Wednesday, Rep Meeting @ the Douglass School
    TBA—Annual Celebration for Reps and Retiring Members

Meetings are open to all members!


LCPS Summer Training
Q: Can I be mandated to go to training over the summer?
A: Never. If you are not on contract then the choice is up to you.

Rowing Coach Wanted

Individuals interested in becoming a rowing coach with Stone Bridge High School in Ashburn, VA.  Water practice is on the Potomac River in Sterling, VA.  

Applicants will be sponsored in taking the US Rowing Level 1 Coaching Certification Course, Launch Driver Training, a Rigging Workshop, and will work under an experienced coach.  

Applicant must be available to work afternoons/evenings/weekends as needed during the competitive spring season, have effective communication skills, the ability to promote positive athlete development, and the ability to maintain athlete safety on the water.  After working with current coaching staff during the 2018 season, opportunities to advance to head coaching positions will be available.  Pay will be competitive with higher level LCPS coaching salaries and will commensurate with experience.  

Please contact Wendy Fishler (wendy.fishler@lcps.org) with further inquiries. 
Advertisement approved by the LEA Board of Directors 2/14/2018

We are here to support you!

Call LEA immediately at 703-858-7700 when:
  • you are contacted by Child Protective Services, law enforcement, or are placed on administrative leave.
  • a student or parent threatens you.
  • you are being disciplined, reprimanded or dismissed.
  • you are placed on an improvement plan or have other evaluation concerns.
  • you have questions about LCPS policies or regulations.
  • you think you have a grievance. Grievances must be filed within specific timelines. Waiting may void your ability to file!
Remember: If you have a concern, be sure to contact LEA. We are here to work together for the school system we all deserve.

Loudoun Education Association

19465 Deerfield Ave. | Suite 206 | Lansdowne, VA 20176
Phone: 703-858-7700 | Fax: 703-858-7712