Loudoun County School Board to Hold “Work Session” to Hear Budget Proposals Including Cutting Swimming

Another Virginia School District is considering cutting their swimming programs. After Albemarle County near Charlottesville decided against cutting swimming from their scholastic curriculum earlier this year, Loudoun County, near Leesburg in the northern part of the state, is proposing the same.

The public school system is the largest employer in the incredibly wealthy area with a median household income in the range of $120,000 per year: one of the wealthiest jurisdictions in the country. Part of the county’s wealth comes from the fact that much of Dulles International Airport lies within its borders.

With a population of 312,311 according to the 2010 census (and massive growth that means probably around 350,000 citizens at present time), Loudoun County has 13 high schools.

While the public discussion of the new athletics budget proposal has centered around big cuts to the administration of high school athletics and the possible elimination of “freshman athletics,” school board member Debbie Rose tells us that one member of the school board has proposed cutting swimming as well.

Rose, who says that she will not support eliminating funding for high school swimming, says that all three of her children have participated in their local swim team, and that her family are big supporters of swimming.

Rose would not name the board member who had proposed swimming, but another member of the Board, Eric Hornberger, said on his official Facebook page that he “suspect(s) golf and swimming may be among these programs” vulnerable to be cut, due to their high cost and lower participation rates.

Several responses on Hornberger’s Facebook page have been that parents are willing to pay higher athletics fees to avoid elimination of athletic opportunities.

Hornberger also said that “The School Board would prefer to not make such cuts but is forced to reconcile an enormous budget gap this year and the prospects of a severely constrained budget again next year, based on Board of Supervisor goals of an equalized or lower tax rate.”

The school board needs to close a $37.7 million operating budget shortfall, despite voting to increase the local funds dedicated to the school by $47 million last year.

Information on how to sign up to speak in front of the Board in the meeting on Wednesday evening is below, courtesy of Susan Schlemmer.

6 of the 13 Loudroun County Schools scored at last year’s Virginia 5A State Championship meet. That includes the Potomac Falls boys, who were 5th.

The County owns a 25-yard by 50-meter indoor competition pool that is host to The Swim Club swim team.

Ironically, this hearing comes less than a week after Loudoun County put out a press release touting their ranking by the University of Wisconsin and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that they were the healthiest city in Virginia.

School Board Meeting Information

The Board will host a work session on Tuesday, April 1 6:30pm at Farmwell Station Middle School in Ashburn.

Please email Christine Coleman at [email protected] to sign up to speak. The limit is now 2 minutes.
You can also contact the Superintendent’s Office at (571) 252-1020 (571) 252-1020. Persons wishing to speak will be asked to provide their name, address and telephone number, subject matter, and organization represented, if applicable.

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6 years ago

As an LCPS teacher, swim coach, and taxpayer, I recognize the whole situation as a tragedy. The problem begins with the Loudoun Board of Supervisors not approving the proposed school budget. Not only is our beloved sport on the chopping block, teaching positions, technology needs, and necessities to keep stellar teachers are as well. Our wealthy county must recognize the need to provide students with the top-notch education and opportunities they deserve. Thinking about it sometimes breaks my heart and sometimes makes me fume.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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