News from Lee District School Board Member Tamara Derenak Kaufax

Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page.

Tamara Derenak Kaufax

Contact Tamara:


Phone: 571-423-1081


Joann Kinney

Executive Admin Assistant






Edison PTSA

7 p.m.


Listening Tour

Wednesday, January 20

6:30 p.m.

Edison HS


Franconia ES PTA

Tuesday, February 9

7:00 p.m.


Kaufax Koffee

Tuesday, February 16

9 to 11 a.m.

Grounded Coffee

6919 Telegraph Rd





Welcome to my first newsletter of the New Year! I am honored and humbled to continue my public service to the Lee District Community after my re-election to a second term on the Fairfax County School Board!  Thank you all for your support!  I will continue to work my hardest to ensure that children in our community receive the highest quality education--one that meets their individual needs and allows them to reach their fullest potential.


I look forward to seeing you this year!



JANUARY 20th - 6:30 PM

Please join FCPS Superintendent Dr. Karen Garza, Region 3 Assistant Superintendent Terry Dade, and me on Wednesday, January 20 at 6:30 p.m. in Edison's cafeteria for the start of the Superintendent’s 2016 Listening Tour.  We will provide updates on the latest happenings in FCPS—but, more importantly, we'll be there to listen--to hear your ideas, comments, concerns and questions you have about our schools.


Please register here if you plan to attend:



-FCPS students outperformed their peers in Virginia and the nation on the SAT in 2015 with an average score of 1669, compared to the Virginia average of 1523 and a national average of 1462?


 -Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses teach students the technical applications of occupations such as information technology, practical nursing, or construction technology and prepare students for both entry level employment and higher education?  And, that last year FCPS students earned more than 17,000 industry certifications and licenses?


-That 92.7 percent of the FCPS Class of 2015 graduated on time and 74 percent went on to attend post-secondary programs?


As the 10th largest school system in our country, FCPS has always strived to provide the highest quality education for the diverse needs of our students. We are proud of our accomplishments and are always striving to grow and improve.


The citizens of Fairfax County are a constituency that values education.  We know that strong schools draw businesses into our neighborhoods and maintain high property and home values.  Simply put -- Strong schools equal a strong community!



But the strength of our world class school system is at risk. Like the rest of the U.S., Fairfax County has been impacted by years of an economic recession--followed by something more unique to our area--the federal sequestration. Consequently, our funding needs were not met on both local and state levels. 


During those challenging economic times, our school system had grown tremendously- since 2008 we added over 28,000 students to our ranks. Many of these students came with significant special educational needs. During that same time we made budget reductions totaling nearly half a billion dollars, eliminated over 2,000 positions, and increased class sizes three times.  With limited available resources, annual compensation increases had been restricted resulting in lagging salaries, particularly for our mid-career teachers.


Now is the time to reinvest.  Dr. Garza's 2017 budget proposes no cuts. Instead it begins to reverse the negative impact of the significant cuts that had been sustained since 2008. The budget totals $2.7 billion and funds our most basic and pressing needs. Our two key priorities are focused on investment in the classroom.  First, employee compensation that includes a step increase and a 1% market scale adjustment for all employees, plus an additional $40 million investment in teacher salary scales. Second, $10 million to fund additional classroom teachers to reduce class size in every elementary classroom to below 30 students where space is available.



While we receive revenue from multiple sources, the primary source of FCPS operating revenue is the Fairfax County Government with approximately 72.6% of our funds coming from the county transfer.  Our next largest source of revenue comes from the state at 15.1%, followed by sales tax revenue of 7%.  On average, other Virginia jurisdictions receive just under 50 percent of their operating revenue from the state. Because we receive less state funding than other jurisdictions, coupled with the fact that we do not have taxing authority, we have a great reliance on local funding.


I cannot emphasize enough how important it is for you to stay informed about the budget and how necessary it is for you to become an active advocate for our schools.  Remember what I said earlier:  Strong schools equal a strong community!


For more information on our budget, our funding sources, and what you can do to get involved please visit:



I had a great time meeting with parents and teachers from the Springfield Estates Elementary School PTA last week and talking about the budget. My next two budget dialogues will be held on Tuesday, January 19th at 7:00 p.m. at the Edison High School PTSA meeting and on February 9th at 7:00 p.m. at Franconia Elementary School.


I will be holding a "Kaufax Koffee" at Grounded Coffee, 6919 Telegraph Rd., Alexandria, VA on February 16th from 9 to 11 a.m.  I look forward to meeting with you to talk about the budget or any other topic you would like to discuss! Please stop by to say hello - I'll have some pastries waiting!