Local Commentary

A Penny for Your Thoughts: News of Greater Falls Church

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Mason District voters will go to the polls again next Tuesday to elect a Mason District representative to the Fairfax County School Board. The vacancy exists because Kaye Kory, the previous School Board Member, was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates in November. Her victory triggered the legal process for a special election, set by the court for March 2.

There are two special elections in Fairfax County that day: in the Mason District School Board race, and in the Western Fairfax 41st delegate district to replace Dave Marsden, who was elected to the State Senate in January to replace Ken Cuccinelli, who was elected Attorney General last November. This musical chairs sequence is a bit unusual but, hopefully, Tuesday’s elections will be the last for awhile.

In Mason District, longtime school activist and parent advocate Sandy Evans has been knocking on doors, even in the snow, and says the response has been very positive. Sandy lives in the Falls Church area of Mason District, where she was PTA president at Sleepy Hollow Elementary School. Sandy is a member of the Northern Virginia Healthy Kids Coalition Steering Committee. Although the School Board position is non-partisan, Sandy received the endorsement of the Fairfax County Democratic Committee. The Republican-endorsed candidate is Samantha Rucker, a lawyer who works for the Virginia Attorney General’s office.

When the Mason District seat is filled on March 2, the new School Board member immediately will have to tackle a very difficult budget. Sandy Evans already has six years’ experience analyzing school budgets. Her work on the school system’s Transportation Committee led directly to a $4 million savings. Sandy’s level-headed approach to managing tax dollars responsibly, while protecting class size and meeting every child’s individual educational needs, will be important to the School Board’s decision-making in this, and future, budget years.

As a former journalist, Sandy knows the importance of understanding multiple viewpoints and obtaining information from all sides. She already has engaged parents, teachers, advocacy groups, and other stakeholders in her campaign, and will bring effective advocacy to the School Board. Sandy will be a full-time School Board member, shouldering the enormous demands of day and evening school meetings, and accommodating constituent schedules. Sandy Evans has the endorsement of the Fairfax Education Association, and will be an excellent Mason District representative on the School Board.

Registered voters in Mason District should vote at their regular polling places on Tuesday. Skyline precinct voters have a temporary polling location: 5707 Seminary Road, the National Association of Power Engineers Building. Skyline voters should park in the rear and enter to polling place from the rear parking lot. Polls are open from 6:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. For information about voting absentee, call 703/222-0776, or log on to www.fairfaxcounty.gov/eb/. Although it is too late to vote absentee by mail, voters may vote absentee in person at the Electoral Board offices at the Fairfax County Government Center until Saturday at 5 p.m.

Now that the snow is melting, damage to trees and shrubs in local landscapes is more evident. Although some plantings will survive unscathed, Virginia Cooperative Extension recommends that any snow removal should be done gently and carefully to avoid further damage to weakened limbs and branches. Ice can be allowed to melt naturally. More information is available though the International Society of Arboriculture (www.mac-isa.org), and Virginia Cooperative Extension Service (http://offices.ext.vt.edu/fairfax).


Penny Gross is the Mason District Supervisor in the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. She may be e-mailed at mason@fairfaxcounty.gov

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