Board of Supervisors

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS (in alphabetical order)

John Foust, Dranesville

What will you do to ensure every public school student in Fairfax County receives a world-class education?

I believe our community’s most important obligation is to provide our youth with an opportunity to earn a first class education. I also believe that education is the key to creating opportunity in the knowledge-based economy of the 21st century and that great schools are needed to attract employers to the County. 

Schools are my number one funding priority. I have supported the Board of Supervisors efforts to fully fund the school budget so that the County can recruit and retain the best teachers and reverse the trend toward larger class sizes. I advocate to make class size and teacher pay raises budget priorities. Over the years, I have studied proposed school budgets and made numerous recommendations for improved efficiencies and cost reductions to make more funds available for the classroom. 

I was a leader on the Board of Supervisors, working with parent advocates, teachers, and School Board members, to expand full day kindergarten to all elementary schools in Fairfax County. I have delivered projects that made major improvements to high school stadium fields and that improved safety and access to schools for pedestrians and bicyclists. I have also worked to preserve funding for important school programs and to restore funding for proposed cuts to programs such as:

Language immersion programs

Music programs in elementary schools

Sports programs for High School Freshmen

School mental health resources

Many Fairfax County schools are old and in serious need of renovation, while many other school buildings are over-crowded and in need of expansion. I am working to improve and expand capacity of our school buildings. I served on the Board of Supervisors’ and School Board’s Joint Committee on Infrastructure Financing that identified more than $13 million annually for the infrastructure needs of the Schools. I have also been a strong advocate for increasing the annual cap on school bond funding, including the recent increase in the cap from $155 Million to $180 Million. I also negotiated with developers for contributions of land for a new school and significant cash contributions for new school construction and improvements to existing school properties.

I believe we have one of the best school systems in the nation because we have great teachers and a community that values the importance of education. I will continue to support our schools and work with the FEA, FCFT, School Board, FCCPTA and other community groups to make them even better. 

Do you support increased funding for public schools in Fairfax County? If “yes,” what will you do to achieve this objective, and how should our public schools use the additional funding? If “no,” what changes (if any) should be made to the school budget and programs in Fairfax County? 

I support increasing funding for schools and have supported substantial funding increases. I believe the Board of Supervisors needs to focus on diversifying our revenue. I am prepared to consider proposals for new revenue sources. For example, I supported a meals tax to bring in additional revenue for FCPS. Through my leadership of the Economic Advisory Commission, I am working hard to increase revenues from commercial property taxes. I believe the Board of Supervisors should work cooperatively with the School Board to ensure that funding for teacher pay, class size and early childhood education  receive the priority they deserve. We must diversify county revenues starting with diversifying and expanding the commercial real estate market and advocating for the state to adequately fund its obligations to the schools.

What will you do to reduce class sizes in our public schools? 

We need to fully fund the School budget so we can recruit and retain the best teachers, reduce class size and invest more in early childhood education.

What will you do to end the epidemic of vaping in our public schools?

I appreciate that vaping is a serious issue and I am prepared to work with and support efforts to eliminate it in the schools. Through the county’s legislative package, we can support legislative efforts to limit vaping. I would also support financial requests from the School Board and others for programs to address the problem.

The School Board has undertaken a comprehensive review of school boundaries throughout Fairfax County. What factors should guide school boundary changes? 

The primary consideration should be capacity issues (excess and under-utilization) in adjacent attendance areas. To the extent possible, communities should not be divided into different schools and efforts should be made to ensure that all students have an equitable opportunity to earn a great education.

Please describe your volunteer activities with public schools in Fairfax County, such as your involvement (if any) with your local PTA(s).

Before being elected to the Board of Supervisors, I served as President of the McLean Citizens Association and participated in its education and youth programs. I also served on two citizen advisory committees, appointed by members of the School Board, that addressed curriculum and achievement gaps.

Jeff McKay, Chairman

What will you do to ensure every public school student in Fairfax County receives a world-class education?

Our school system is the envy of not only the Commonwealth, but of the nation. I am committed to partnering with the School Board, our schools staff, the community, and all other stakeholders to ensure every public school student receives a world-class education. Throughout my campaign, I’ve spoken about the need for the School Board and County Board to collaborate on the expansion of early childhood education programming, for continued improvements to teacher and staff pay, for the continued reduction of trailers, and much more. Education has always been one of my top priorities, and it will continue to be moving forward.

Do you support increased funding for public schools in Fairfax County? If “yes,” what will you do to achieve this objective, and how should our public schools use the additional funding? If “no,” what changes (if any) should be made to the school budget and programs in Fairfax County? 

Yes – Education is a top priority of mine. I am proud to have built through the budget process the closest working relationship between the School Board and County Board to-date. 

I am always open to doing what is necessary to fully fund our school system – and I’m proud to have been able to do that each of the last two years. I have increased funding for our school system every year since becoming our Board’s Budget Committee Chairman. From FY2017-2020, School Operating Disbursements have increased by $327M (or 12.3 percent) and the County transfer to FCPS’ Operating Fund has increased by $222M (or 11.6 percent). 

Long-term, I have and will also continue to fight for additional state funding, a new state funding formula, increased taxing authority (at a minimum Fairfax County should be able to tax the same way as Virginia cities), and revenue diversification. We cannot continue to solely rely on regressive real estate taxes to balance our budget. 

The Board of Supervisors cannot dictate what the School Board spends the transfer on, so the second part of your question is difficult to answer. However, I’ve been a staunch supporter of increasing teacher and employee pay, decreasing class size, reducing the number of trailers, and supporting FCPS’ strong programming. 

What will you do to reduce class sizes in our public schools? 

Both increased funding in our budget and the creation of additional classroom spaces are drivers for reducing class sizes in our public schools. We talked above about the importance of the annual budget process and school funding.

As our Board’s Budget Committee Chairman, I’m proud to have also increased the amount of dollars we give to FCPS for capital improvements in recent years by $25 million per year in perpetuity. We have also reduced the number of trailers at our schools by nearly 150 in the last four years. 

Years ago, I also served on the Infrastructure Finance Committee. That committee recommended $13 million more a year from a sinking fund to go to schools’ capital needs. We have now been doing that for years, which allows schools to do major maintenance without having to dip into their capital fund. This combined $38 million a year has made a difference. In addition to continuing to make these significant investments, the County and FCPS must better identify and capitalize on available space in schools. It is important that every decision the School Board makes about programming also considers capacity issues.

What will you do to end the epidemic of vaping in our public schools?

As I mentioned earlier, the Board of Supervisors cannot approve specific programming in our school system. However, we can help with messaging, joint programming, and other information campaigns that are critically important to end the vaping epidemic. Our Health Department should play a critical role in educating our youth about the problems associated with vaping.

The School Board has undertaken a comprehensive review of school boundaries throughout Fairfax County. What factors should guide school boundary changes? 

The Board of Supervisors does not make boundary changes for the school system. That is role of the School Board. However, I feel it’s important to consider access to equitable programming and learning opportunities, transportation, keeping neighborhoods together, more efficient use of buildings, and be mindful of future growth trends. 

Please describe your volunteer activities with public schools in Fairfax County, such as your involvement (if any) with your local PTA(s).

I have a deep background within public education. I attended elementary and middle school in Fairfax County, and both of my children are currently FCPS elementary schoolers. Education runs deep in my family. My mom was a teacher growing up, and my sister is currently a public school teacher. It was and remains a big part of my life and, as I mentioned, has been my top priority since first being elected Lee District Supervisor. My wife and I are members of the Hayfield Elementary School PTA where we have a second and sixth grader.

Dalia Palchik, Providence District 

What will you do to ensure every public school student in Fairfax County receives a world-class education?

A comprehensive and dynamic education can be achieved for every student with a combination of a school system that meets their needs and understands their skills, while being supported by a county that ensures students feel safe and secure. I will continue to fight for hiring additional teachers as well as retaining our gifted educators with competitive salaries. I will work to fund the building and renovation of schools, while simultaneously working to alleviate home life insecurity in the county. Affordable housing incentives, an inclusive and welcoming community, a diverse teaching staff who understand equity and continued efforts for responsible development will help ease the lives of young students and allow them to focus on achievement in schools.

Do you support increased funding for public schools in Fairfax County? If “yes,” what will you do to achieve this objective, and how should our public schools use the additional funding? If “no,” what changes (if any) should be made to the school budget and programs in Fairfax County? 

I firmly support increased funding for Public Schools in Fairfax County. As a member of the school board, I have advocated for increased funding for our schools for the past four years, both within the county, as well as from the state government. With this funding, I plan to ensure that every student has access to Pre-K, and our dedicated teachers get the necessary resources in the classroom and in their compensation. I will hire more teachers, and Fairfax County will fund efforts to rebuild and renovate our schools.  

What will you do to reduce class sizes in our public schools? *

As a teacher, I know first-hand the benefits of creating a warm and intimate learning environment for our students. The way best way to ensure smaller class sizes is by retaining and hiring more teachers. I plan to ensure that schools receive sufficient resources to retain and hire teachers by paying them competitive salaries and allocating funds for hiring more teachers across all FCPS.

What will you do to end the epidemic of vaping in our public schools?

Vaping is simultaneously a health issue as well as a community issue in our schools. We must prevent young students from vaping at an early age, by pushing against the forces that target younger children. The best way to tackle this problem is to learn from the successes of the fight against traditional tobacco products. I will strive to focus education of the risks of vaping in schools as well as the addictive nature of e-cigarettes. I will create networks of peer support, for only a change around vaping culture will have the necessary effect on reduction. Lastly, I will push to ensure there are no differences in the way vaping and e-cigarettes are regulated as compared to traditional cigarettes. 

The School Board has undertaken a comprehensive review of school boundaries throughout Fairfax County. What factors should guide school boundary changes? 

As a member of the Fairfax County School Board, I know that any discussion of boundaries involves three main factors: Capacity, socioeconomic diversity and travel time for students. These are our most important considerations to ensure an equitable and functional school system that serves all our students, from every background. 

Please describe your volunteer activities with public schools in Fairfax County, such as your involvement (if any) with your local PTA(s).

In addition to my role as a member of the school board, I have spent significant amounts of time dedicating myself to our local schools. From Volunteering at STEM LAB, to my involved in the “Girls on the run” program at Graham Road,  to my time with the Eco schools project, I have always loved FCPS and will continue to view our schools as one of my main priorities.

Kathy Smith, Sully District

What will you do to ensure every public school student in Fairfax County receives a world-class education?

I will continue to vote to fully fund our schools. I will support salary increases for teachers so that FCPS can compete to hire the best and brightest for our classrooms. 

Do you support increased funding for public schools in Fairfax County? If “yes,” what will you do to achieve this objective, and how should our public schools use the additional funding? If “no,” what changes (if any) should be made to the school budget and programs in Fairfax County? 

Understanding that every year, the student population increases and expenses rise, I will support the budget request of the School Board. I continue to advocate for new sources of revenue and will promote business development that adds to our tax revenue. 

What will you do to reduce class sizes in our public schools? 

The Code of Virginia provides the authority to the Fairfax County School Board to run the school system. The majority of the school funding is provided by the Board of Supervisors. As Supervisor, I am committed to supplying the funding needs identified by the School Board. 

What will you do to end the epidemic of vaping in our public schools?

The State of Virginia has raised the age to purchase of buying tobacco and nicotine products to the age of 21. We can do more to get information out to local businesses of these law changes.

The School Board has undertaken a comprehensive review of school boundaries throughout Fairfax County. What factors should guide school boundary changes? 

The school board is in charge of this initiative.

Please describe your volunteer activities with public schools in Fairfax County, such as your involvement (if any) with your local PTA(s).

As my four children attended Fairfax County public schools, I was active in the PTA. I served as PTA President at Poplar Tree Elementary School, Rocky Run Middle School, and Chantilly High School. Additionally, I was also a board member of the FCCPTA serving as Parent Advisory Services Coordinator. 

Linda Sperling, Springfield District

What will you do to ensure every public school student in Fairfax County receives a world-class education?

As a former college professor, product of Fairfax County Public Schools and parent of current FCPS students, I understand completely the importance of providing a solid educational foundation for our kids. I believe that the first thing that we need to do to ensure that FCPS provides every kid a worldclass education is invest in them. We need to ensure that we are able to fund our schools so that we can reduce class size, keep up with our infrastructure needs, and attract and retain world-class teachers. 

Do you support increased funding for public schools in Fairfax County? If “yes,” what will you do to achieve this objective, and how should our public schools use the additional funding? If “no,” what changes (if any) should be made to the school budget and programs in Fairfax County? 

Yes. We need to increase funding via additional revenues, however we can get them (getting more from Richmond, revisiting a meals tax, working with corporate partners to fund certain county initiatives)! We need to modernize our infrastructure, build new buildings, get rid of trailers, hire more teachers, and pay them–and all FCPS employees, whether teacher or staff or admin–what they are worth.

What will you do to reduce class sizes in our public schools? *

We need to build new schools/expand existing schools and then hire new teachers. In this district, we have schools that have expanded to 40 students/class (in the 6th grade!) which is unacceptable. 

What will you do to end the epidemic of vaping in our public schools?

I will defer to experts in this area as to how to deal with this problem, and then support their recommendations. 

The School Board has undertaken a comprehensive review of school boundaries throughout Fairfax County. What factors should guide school boundary changes? 

Kids should go to the schools closest to where they live. 

Please describe your volunteer activities with public schools in Fairfax County, such as your involvement (if any) with your local PTA(s).


We are a member of the Union Mill ES PTA (my oldest son just started 1st grade there).

James Walkinshaw, Braddock District

What will you do to ensure every public school student in Fairfax County receives a world-class education?

Investing in our public schools will always be my top priority. As Braddock Supervisor, I’ll work with our School Board members to ensure that teacher pay is competitive with surrounding jurisdictions so we can recruit and retain the best teachers, pay our support staff a fair wage, invest in the capital improvements needed to expand classroom capacity, pursue reforms of discipline policies to eliminate racially-biased outcomes, expand adult ESL programs, promote programs for children of all abilities, and ensure a happy, healthy, and safe learning environment by expanding access to school counselors and psychologists.

Do you support increased funding for public schools in Fairfax County? If “yes,” what will you do to achieve this objective, and how should our public schools use the additional funding? If “no,” what changes (if any) should be made to the school budget and programs in Fairfax County? 

Yes. I will work with our School Board during the annual budget process to ensure that we are meeting the needs of our schools, teachers, and students.

What will you do to reduce class sizes in our public schools? 

I support the Board of Supervisor’s recent decision to increase the annual bonding capacity for school construction from $155 million per year to $180 million per year. Moving forward, we will need to continue to assess the situation to ensure that we are providing the resources necessary to reduce over-crowding and class sizes.

What will you do to end the epidemic of vaping in our public schools?

Fairfax County must take the lead in a public education effort to inform our community about the dangers of vaping and dispel the myth that vaping is a safe alternative to cigarette smoking. We should also work with our state lawmakers to tighten state law to prevent marketing of any tobacco products to children.

The School Board has undertaken a comprehensive review of school boundaries throughout Fairfax County. What factors should guide school boundary changes? 

The School Board is undertaking a necessary review of the outdated FCPS boundary and redistricting policy. I trust that their process will rely on data-driven best practices and incorporate broad-based community input and feedback. 

Please describe your volunteer activities with public schools in Fairfax County, such as your involvement (if any) with your local PTA(s).

I’ve spent the last seven years as a mentor to two FCPS students through Fairfax County’s Be-friend-a-child program and have had the opportunity to participate in a number of their school activities, including field trips, band concerts, and PTA-sponsored fun runs.