House of Delegates

HOUSE OF DELEGATES (in alphabetical order)

Karrie Delaney, District 67

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

I will continue to support efforts to get Northern Virginia its fair share of funding, ensuring that our school systems flourish. Additionally, I will do all that I can to secure more capital funding from the state which can be used by localities to update, rebuild or extend their schools. I will also continue to fight for more pay for our teachers, school staff members, and administration and will do all that I can to keep high education standards in the Commonwealth. 

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 support more funding for our public school system. We should fight for more funding from the state and shift priorities in the state budget and try to secure other, more local, sources of funding. I would like to see this funding properly compensate our teachers and support staff, provide our students with a well-rounded education, and provide our students with proper supplies and space in the classroom. 

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

I will help increase school funding, make sure our teachers are competitively paid which will help with our teacher shortage and do as much as I can to invest in capital improvements so our localities can build new or expand their current schools. 

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

I was proud to have supported legislation which increases the age to purchase nicotine products from 18 to 21 and will support continuous education programming which informs our students of the risks of vaping. 

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

They should ensure that our schools offer equal opportunity to our students, regardless of their background or socioeconomic status. They must also do all that’s practically feasible to level out our student attendance rate in schools. Currently, there are schools which are over-enrolled and others that are not, yet serve the same general area.

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

I was proud to serve as Vice President of the PTA at Poplar Tree elementary before my election and have continued to be a member ever since. Additionally, I have interacted with several of the local PTAs in my district and have set up meetings with their parents and students to discuss leadership, policy and the legislative process.

Dan Helmer, District 40

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

I am proud to be the husband of a third-grade teacher at Canterbury Woods Elementary School, the father of two boys at Frost Middle School and Canterbury Woods, and a graduate from public high school. My education gave me incredible opportunities, including the chance to attend and graduate from West Point and become a Rhodes Scholar. I share the values of families in my community — we want all of our children to have the resources they need to succeed in school.

Far too many children arrive at Kindergarten without the foundational numeracy and literacy needed for success in elementary school. Ensuring more of Virginia’s budget is dedicated to education funding including Pre-K funding, providing localities like FCPS with flexibility to find revenue for Pre-K funding, and providing grant and matching funding at the Commonwealth level are all important mechanisms to increase the availability of funding for 3 and 4 year old education in the Commonwealth, particularly for families in need.

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? 

Teachers in Virginia deserve a salary above the national average. Medicaid expansion, which my opponent opposed, provided some of the funding that supported teacher salary increases enacted as a result of Democratic leadership in 2018. I will work to continue to identify new outside sources of revenue from the federal government, provide local communities with autonomy to identify their own revenue sources, and look at specific, dedicated revenue sources across the Commonwealth the ensure fair teacher pay.

Part of my decision to run was inspired by the fact that our current delegate, despite his power as Caucus chair, failed to restore education to pre-recession levels, even as teachers like my wife are overworked and struggling each day to meet the needs of their students. I will seek to increase the percentage of state funding dedicated to K-12 education, provide localities with additional autonomy to identify revenue for K-12 education, identify new dedicated statewide revenue for K-12 education, and revise SOQ funding formulas to ensure that each child in our Commonwealth has access to an excellent public education and that our teachers and staff have have fair compensation and the resources they need.

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

My wife Karen is often up working until 10 or 11 PM because we haven’t given teachers like her the resources they need in the classroom, and she’s not going to let her students fail. Too often, students throughout Virginia are jammed into overcrowded classrooms and trailers and quality educators are leaving the Commonwealth for more competitive salaries elsewhere. We need strong infrastructure in our school system to accommodate a growing population; students and teachers alike agree that trailers are not an environment conducive to learning. An investment in our children’s futures is an investment in our community and in Virginia.

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

The best strategy to address vaping is to deal with the issue proactively. The bases of a proactive response to vaping are to inform our students about the effects of vaping and limit the sale of e-cigarettes. This should come through media campaigns and events such as classes, activities, and guest speakers. In Richmond, I will advocate to require businesses be licensed to sell e-cigarettes and to ensure that legislation in place keeps e-cigarettes out of our schools. I will work hard to ensure that Fairfax public schools like the ones my sons attend are no longer plagued by vaping.

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

Fairfax School’s Facilities Planning Advisory Council (FPAC) recommends that boundary changes should be limited as much as possible to schools with severe overcrowding. I agree.

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

I have participated in Veterans Day presentations at my kids’ schools and helped Karen with various projects of hers ranging from setting up her classroom to preparing for major events on the school calendar. I know how much our teachers invest in their work; as I mentioned before, Karen is often up late at night working hard to ensure her students have what they need to succeed. I’m glad to support her and stand with all our Fairfax County educators and parents in providing a world-class education for all FCPS students.

Kaye Kory, District 38

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

Advocate for more funding for K-12 & higher ed, teachers’ rights & higher salaries, flexibility in certifying schools, reducing class size, more supports for students with special needs, mandate lead-testing for all water piped into school

Buildings

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!  legislate increased funding from the state for teachers’ salaries and smaller class sizes 

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

change the SOQ’s, increase funding, legislate smaller class sizes 

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

In 2014 my bill banning ecigs in schools was passed; because the current vaping 

devices are the size of a memory stick & easily concealed, I plan to introduce an expanded bill in 2020. We banned the sale of vaping devices & pods to anyone under 21 int he 2019 session. More education about dangers of vaping for students & parents. 

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

The School Board boundary change policy should not be dictated by the state.

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

Former School Board Member, PTA officer, GS leader. Currently participating in Rutgers Univ Teach a Girl to Lead project. 

Paul Krizek, District 44

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

Our students in Fairfax County are already receiving a world-class education, and I will continue to listen to PTA members in my district about any issues or ways that I can be of service to our parents, students, and teachers at the state level, including regarding funding issues.

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 do support increasing funding for our public schools. Just this year, in my role on Appropriations, I requested a budget amendment of over $178 million to invest in public schools. This total would bring our funding level of public schools back to the level it was before the Great Recession. I will continue to advocate for funding increases in the future to provide for higher wages for teachers, school meals, extracurricular activities, etc. 

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

The best way to reduce class sizes is to help increase the number of teachers available at every school. Virginia took a step in the right direction towards encouraging talented educators to continue teaching in the Commonwealth (and Fairfax County) by increasing teacher pay by 5% this year. Additional funding will continue to help Virginia offer competitive wages and benefits to keep more teachers who will be able to provide more one-on-one attention to our students. 

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

This year in the General Assembly, we raised the minimum age to purchase nicotine vapor products (along with tobacco) from age 18 to 21. Hopefully, this is a step in the right direction towards combatting this issue. 

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

School boundaries are an important issue, however, in my role in the General Assembly on the state level, I don’t have an opportunity to weigh in on these local issues that the School Board oversees. 

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

I am the father of a recent graduate of Fairfax County Public Schools. While my daughter was in school, I was a member of the PTA. 

Alfonso Lopez, District 49

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

As Delegate, I have strongly supported public education through increased funding and last session voted to pass a 5% pay raise for teachers and other school employees throughout the Commonwealth. I believe that the pathway to student success begins at a very early stage of life and am committed to fighting for universal access to pre-school for every Virginia child. Likewise, our schools must have the resources to support and educate students with limited English proficiency. With that in mind, last year I was the chief co-patron of a new law that expanded the ability of school boards to institute dual-language programs with instructors who were fluent in languages other than English. Finally, our support for our students shouldn’t end at high school graduation—I have been fighting to expand funding for higher education and to pass legislation that would make undocumented students eligible for in-state tuition at Virginia’s public colleges and universities.

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—in my capacity as House Democratic Whip, I have worked closely with members of my Caucus to support increased funding for public education and was involved in the budget negotiations that resulted in a 5% pay increase for teachers and other school employees. Increased public education funding should be used to attract and keep world-class educators, to support their work by giving them the resources and materials they need to educate, and to support our students by investing in school building maintenance and infrastructure projects to give every student the opportunity to learn in a nice and safe environment.

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

I am committed to fighting for increased funding for our schools to hire more teachers and build more classrooms. As our region grows rapidly, the General Assembly must keep up with its responsibility to adequately fund the education of every student in Virginia.

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

This past session, I voted to pass the law raising the age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21. As the news reports continue to come out about the potential dangers of vaping and e-cigarette use, I am following them closely and look forward to working with my colleagues when the General Assembly comes back into session to consider methods to curb vaping among minors, including the possible ban on flavored e-cigarette products being considered by the federal government.

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

Students and their families must always be the first consideration when changing school boundaries, so schools boards should seek extensive community engagement and input before enacting changes.

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

I am a proud graduate of Fairfax public schools. I attended Fairview and Oakview Elementary Schools. I went to Robinson Secondary School for Junior High and I graduated from Robinson Secondary School in 1988. My son attended Patrick Henry Elementary School in Arlington and is now attending Thomas Jefferson Middle School. I have been involved with the Patrick Henry PTA for the past several years and now the Thomas Jefferson PTA. I have remained a strong supporter of the work of Parent Teacher Associations across the region and regularly speak at local meetings. 

Kathleen Murphy, District 34

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

As Delegate I have supported increased funding for schools and higher teacher pay. I am also endorsed by the Virginia Education Association and work closely with them. 

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 voted for increased funding, advocated for smaller class sizes, and higher teacher pay.

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

I have long advocated for smaller class sizes, and have offered bills on this matter. I have also worked closely with the McLean Citizens Association to explore solutions.

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

We passed a law this year banning anyone under the age of 21 from purchasing vaping products.

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

The best guidance should be focusing on keeping communities together. 

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

I helped start a Japanese/American exchange program at Langley High School. 

Mark Sickles, District 43

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

We need to make sure that state regulation fosters creativity and doesn’t overly prescribe what schools have to do on a daily basis. It’s important the appropriate amount of tests over 13 years of education occurs, but not at the expense of other very important values. The General Assembly has reduced the number of SOLs, and the State Board of Education is empowered to reduce more as they see fit. Finally, listening to parents is an important way to understand what is going on in the 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? 

Yes. I will submit a budget amendment to increase funding for public schools. I believe that school divisions and local governments across the Commonwealth should attempt to agree on changes to the funding formula that would take into account the free and reduced lunch populations that they serve.

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

I support fully funding the standards of quality. I submitted a budget amendment to increase funding. I lead the charge on cost of competing in NoVa and getting back the cost of competing for non-instructional personnel. 

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

I would consider legislation banning vaping on school property.

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

I hope the School Board members try to make sure that each school is representative of Fairfax County as a whole.

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

Although I do not have children, I attempt to stay involved and understand what’s going on in the schools in the districts. I frequently attend events at my schools, such as speaking in the government classes, and try to know the administrative staff on a personal level.

Rip Sullivan, District 48

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

I have worked hard to ensure that our public schools provided a high quality education even before I was elected, having previously volunteered as a member of the Virginia Commission on Civics Education. I now serve on the House Education Committee, where I have pushed for bills to better help low-income students, increase the number of guidance counselors per student, and update curricula to include important topics like mental health. Additionally, I have opposed bills that would expand the presence of charter schools in Virginia that too often strip critical funding from our public schools as well as other bills that would negatively impact Virginia’s students. 

This year, I successfully created the Digital Citizenship, Media Literacy, and Internet Safety Council within the Department of Education’s Office of the Superintendent. Today’s students have a unique opportunity to easily and quickly access all of the content – fact and fiction – the internet has to offer through an unprecedented number of devices. Studies show that students unfortunately have difficulty navigating this new digital world safely and critically. The Council will convene to advance the goal of safe, ethical, and responsible use of media and technology by students in Virginia’s public elementary and secondary schools. The Council, which would include teachers, librarians, representatives of PTAs, school administrators, and professionals with expertise in related fields, would develop model policies for local school boards, model instructional practices for public elementary and secondary schools, and make available online relevant resources.

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 support a change to funding formulas to increase funding for Fairfax County public schools, which all four of my children attended and from which they graduated. This will require additional appropriations, which I will enthusiastically support in next year’s budget process.

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

I would support an increase in funding in the budget specifically to help our public schools reduce class sizes, which is a proven method for improving student outcomes.

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

I supported HB 2748 last session to raise the age to buy cigarettes, e-cigarettes, and all other tobacco products to 21 years old, and also supported HB 2384, which bans all tobacco products on school grounds. More must be done, especially in light of recent vaping-related deaths, however, to regulate non-tobacco vaping products.

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

I recognize that school boundary issues are challenging. Changing of boundaries must include the preservation of the neighborhood nature of a school, while balancing school size. 

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

Both my wife, Beth, and I attended and graduated from Fairfax County public schools — Class of 1977 from McLean High School — and our four children attended FCPS institutions as well. While we were never formerly involved with a PTA, we were avid boosters of FCPS sports teams and consistently attended back-to-school nights, sports games, and more.    

Vivian Watts, District 39

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

My number one priority is lowering class sizes, with the most significant decrease targeted at the maximum class size in K-3.  According to the 2002 J-LARC report, Fairfax County has larger class sizes at every grade level that 3/4 of Virginia’s school divisions.  The consequences are especially dire in areas of Springfield and Annandale that I represent. Making sure all Title 1 and especially immigrant children establish a sense of belonging through more intimate classroom settings is a critical preventative step to counter the influence of gangs, decrease the dropout rate, and counter the school to court/prison pipeline predominately affecting black and ID/DD students.

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 support increased funding for FCPS.  To achieve this objective, I have tenaciously gone after changing the school funding formula that distributes state funds to localities.  The formula does not reflect the actual ability-to-pay based on the very limited taxing power of counties compared to the broad authority granted to cities, nor does it reflect the competing demands for local services that arise in densely populated counties.  The Cost of Competing does little to address actual ability to pay because it is run through a locality’s LCI, resulting in Fairfax only receiving about a 2% pay differential when the actual cost differential is closer to the over 25% received by Virginia State Police assigned to Northern Virginia. The major reason I haven’t been successful is that formula changes to correct the iniquities for Fairfax would reduce state funding to other school divisions.  Therefore, I haved focused on equalizing city and county taxing authority. This would allow Fairfax County to enacting a meals tax, transient occupancy taxes on hotels, and raise the local tax on cigarettes without having to have voter approval in a referendum, just as cities have been authorized to do since the 1930’s.

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

The only way to meaningfully reduce class sizes is to increase funding.  While I have introduced bills to reduce class sizes by mandating state-set MAXIMUMS (rather than the large AVERAGE class sizes allowed under current the SOQ), this assumes that Fairfax County can equitably raise the revenue to do so and/or could reduce funding other services that are essential for an urban population of 1.2 million.  Fairfax County cannot do either as long as the only source of revenue we have control over is the real estate tax.  

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

In the 2019 GA Session, we raised the age to purchase any type of nicotine product to 21 to try to reduce the availability of vaping products to middle and high school students.  We also toughen the mandatory requirements for school board policies to prohibit use OR DISTRIBUTION AT ANY TIME on school buses, any type of school property, or at on-site or off-site school activities.  If this needs to be backed-up by making such distribution a criminal offense, I would support such legislation. I also believe that we need to ban flavored liquid nicotine products just as we ban flavored tobacco products. 

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

My ideal answer goes back to the recommendations we made when I chaired the School Board appointed commission in 1978 on the Efficient Use of School Facilities:  the more that students can move with their classmates from elementary to middle to high school the better to avoid marked differences in the number of established friendships.  However, representing a significant number of At-Risk school populations, we need to be very conscious of balancing available socioeconomic community support. 

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

My citizen activities included, in chronological order, intense involvement with the County Council of PTAs in joint budget analysis through the League of Women Voters, PTA president for Wakefield ES,  Chair of the FCPS Citizen Task Force on School Closings and Efficient Use of Facilities, and Co-Chair of a Countywide School Bond Referendum.