Virginia Senate

VIRGINIA SENATE (in alphabetical order)

Jennifer Boysko, District 33

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

I will continue my support of innovative teaching and increased autonomy in the classroom.

I’ve worked in the General Assembly to  help teachers gain autonomy in the classroom and help our students move away from the focus of  standardized multiple-choice tests instead of being able to focus on critical thinking and problem solving. While serving in the House of Delegates I was a member of the Education Committee.

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? 

Firstly, the General Assembly should meet its current commitment to meet the education needs of our Commonwealth.

Fully fund the revised Standards of Quality (SOQs), as adopted by the Virginia Board of Education, to accurately reflect what it costs to educate Virginia students and support their mental health needs.

Increase funds directed towards Virginia’s most at-risk students. Continue to support the needs of and address the inequities in Virginia’s small and rural school divisions. Fully fund our support staff positions. 

I will look to the FCCPTA & VEA on other specific initiatives we need to pursue to modify the Standards of Quality.

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

I believe strongly that increasing education funding and teacher retention are critical to reducing class sizes in our public schools in Fairfax County. 

State direct aid per student, adjusted for inflation, is up 16% in Loudoun County and up 14% in Fairfax County.

We need to do more: statewide per-pupil funding, adjusted for inflation, for K-12 education has declined 9 percent since the 2008-2009 school year while the student population is projected to have grown by more than 53,000 students and staffing has declined by 1,242 positions.

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

As Parent Education Chair for the Herndon High School PTSA, working closely with the Unified Prevention Coalition, I organized events and programs to discuss ways to prevent alcohol and drug abuse with our teens, the importance of sleep and stress management, and the overall health and wellness of our students.

I supported the bill to raise the age for purchasing tobacco products and vaping to 21 and will support legislation to further protect our students and families on this issue. I am also interested in patroning a bill to increase the tax on tobacco products and vaping products.

I would also support more intense study on the safety of vaping products.

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

There must be full community involvement and an open, public and transparent process. 

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

As the mother of two daughters and a former PTSA board member,  I worked for years to strengthen our local schools long before I ever considered running for office. I spent 7 years on the Herndon High School PTSA as an officer on the executive board.

I oversaw the collection and record of the “parent pledge” to keep our students drug and alcohol free.

As Parent Education Chair at Herndon High School, I organized events and programs to discuss ways to prevent alcohol and drug abuse with our teens, the importance of sleep and stress management, and the overall health and wellness of our students. 

I was also an active member of the Herndon High School Sports Boosters. I was the chair of the Herndon Invitational Field Hockey Tournament. I volunteered for the Choir Boosters. 

I am proud to have been awarded Virginia Education Association’s “Solid as a Rock” for my voting history on education.

As  the Education Aide for Supervisor John Foust, I worked with Dranesville District schools and nonprofits to provide necessities for children from families with limited financial resources – including weekend food bags, winter coats, shoe drives, bike helmets and more.

Janet D. Howell, District 32

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

My responsibility is to fund public education statewide. As budget conferee (and possible Chair of Finance), I have led the way in raising teacher salaries.  I have also stopped a lot of right wing nonsense.

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.  If the Democrats retake control of the Senate I will be Chair of the Finance Committee. My focus will be the budget and my priorities will include funding for education at all levels, Pre-K through Grade 12.

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

Increase state funding.

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

I will support legislation that bans vaping in public schools.

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

Not a state issue

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

Years ago, prior to becoming a Senator, I was President of my local PTA. I also was President of the Reston Council of PTAs and PTOs.  I was on the County Council of PTAs for six years.