Hunter Mill District Summer 2016 Newsletter

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Hunter Mill District Newsletter

Contact Pat:

Phone: 571-423-1082

Melanie Turpin
Executive Admin Assistant

Summer 2016 Newsletter

Congratulations to all the graduates and their parents and teachers! It is such a privilege for me to sit on stage and watch each graduate cross that important threshold. Every year I have the joy of watching some of my former elementary students take those final steps in FCPS, and I'm filled with wonder at how they've grown and all they have accomplished.


My year as chair of the School Board comes to a close in July. It has been a great privilege to serve the school system and my colleagues on the School Board in that capacity. I look forward to being more available to spend time in our great Hunter Mill schools as I step down from the extra responsibilities of the chair.

June is a time of transition for everyone connected with a school. I hope this past school year has had more ups than downs for your family and that summer provides time for rest and rejuvenation. In case you still have unscheduled time this summer, below is a short list of sources for local family-friendly activities:



Just a reminder that the 2016-17 school year will start AFTER Labor Day. For those who plan far ahead, you might note that the following school year -- 2017-18 -- will begin before Labor Day. Click here for a link to the 2016-17 FCPS calendar.   


In Other FCPS News

Meals Tax Referendum

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted this month to put a meals tax to referendum in November. Counties in Virginia have very little flexibility or authority when it comes to generating revenue, and a meals tax is one of those few options. Nearly every surrounding jurisdiction currently uses a meals tax to help stabilize and diversify its revenue base, including the Towns of Vienna and Herndon, Fairfax City, Falls Church, Arlington and Alexandria. The revenue from the proposed 4% Fairfax County meals tax is estimated to bring in almost $100 million to the County’s annual operating budget. Approximately $3 million of that annual revenue would go back to restaurants to offset the costs of implementation. Of the remaining estimated $96 million, 70% would go to the schools. November’s referendum is an important opportunity for the community to weigh in, so please take the time to learn more and vote!

Gender Identity and Non-Discrimination in FCPS

There continues to be some confusion and misinformation about the School Board's non-discrimination policy as it applies to gender identity. In May 2015, the School Board voted overwhelmingly (the vote was 10-1-1) to add the term "gender identity" to the FCPS Non-Discrimination Policy. There was considerable public input at the time, and the decision was made with full awareness that some in the community were opposed. I stand by my vote in favor of extending protection against discrimination to our transgender students and employees.

From that vote in May 2015 forward, the governing non-discrimination policy in FCPS has been and continues to be: "No student in FCPS shall, on the basis of age, race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, national origin, marital status, or disability, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity." No part of that policy is conditional or contingent in any way. Written regulations supporting non-discrimination on the basis of gender identity are still being developed, but employees are expected to comply, with support as needed on a case-by-case basis.


At the School Board's June 9 regular business meeting, we approved the 2016-17 Student Rights and Responsibilities Handbook. Virginia law requires school boards to approve those regulations each year. Included in the FCPS SR&R Handbook every year, there is a verbatim restatement of the School Board's non-discrimination policy. That statement needed to be updated in the 2016-17 SR&R Handbook to reflect the new language added by the School Board last spring. That housekeeping matter was taken up and passed by the School Board on June 9 as part of our annual approval of the SR&R.

Some community members have expressed the concern that the School Board extended or expanded its non-discrimination policy by restating it in the SR&R. That is a misunderstanding. If we had not updated that language in the SR&R, the current non-discrimination policy would apply, anyway, and the outdated language in the SR&R would be misleading.

Unless and until a policy is changed, the School Board's oversight role is to ensure that regulations and practices in the school system comply with current policy. For those who believe that the term "gender identity" should not be included in our non-discrimination policy, that conversation can be reopened by any School Board member at any time by proposing an amendment to the policy.

As for how the non-discrimination policy is being followed now, I have faith in our school-based administrators and educators to manage the challenge of maintaining a school environment that respects the dignity, safety, and privacy of every student. I have that faith because I know the challenge is being met every day. School must be a safe place for ideas, feelings, and physical needs. I commend our school-based staff for caring about each child's well-being.


Have a great summer!


Pat Hynes