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F.C. School Board, in 3-3 Tie Vote, Defers Action on Decoupling Campus Project

THE FALLS CHURCH SCHOOL Board was divided on the issue of terminating current process of developing the 36 acre school campus site. A 3-3 vote tonight pushes the decision to the City Council Monday. (Photo: News-Press)
THE FALLS CHURCH SCHOOL Board was divided on the issue of terminating current process of developing the 36 acre school campus site. A 3-3 vote tonight pushes the decision to the City Council Monday. (Photo: News-Press)

After a lengthy discussion Tuesday night, the Falls Church School Board voted on whether to discontinue the current Public-Private Education Partnership approach to developing the 36-acres of West End school campus property and deadlocked in a 3-3 vote which automatically deferred action to its next meeting. One School Board member was absent leading to the tie vote. The matter will now come before the Falls Church City Council for a vote on Monday night, and as Tom Horn, the legal counsel to the School Board, stated Tuesday, if either body — the City or the Schools — votes to terminate the partnership process, then it is terminated.

The alternative, a “de-coupling” of the educational facilities development and the 10 acres that have been designated on the site for commercial development, was strongly advocated Tuesday night by School Board members Erin Gill, who made the motion, and her colleagues Phil Reitinger and Lawrence Webb. On the other side of the vote were School Board chair Justin Castillo, vice chair John Lawrence and Margaret Ward. Michael Ankuma was absent. Lawrence conceded that he felt the decoupling option would be inevitable, however.

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