Friday, March 26, 2010

Too Many Trailers

This week, the Washington Post reported that 70% of Fairfax County Public Schools have trailers - 135 schools - and that 14 schools have a double-digit number of trailers. Annandale High School has 17.

During my campaign, I frequently argued that the number of trailers in Fairfax County's Public Schools seemed to be exploding and was not acceptable. According to the Washington Post, trailer inventory in Fairfax County is up 38% since 2007. When I attended Hollin Hall Elementary, Waynewood Elementary, Stephen Foster Intermediate, and West Potomac High School, I rarely saw a trailer. We had four at West Potomac when it first opened, but I'm pretty sure they were gone when I graduated. There were no other trailers at any other school I attended.

Today, the opposite is true. Nearly every elementary school in my delegate seat has trailers or as the School Board prefers to call them - "modulars." My daughter at Waynewood has to attend 4th Grade in trailers next year. The picture to the right shows 12 trailers at Waynewood (there are less today). Many of these are nice classrooms, but I have also heard complaints from parents about problems in them such as air quality. The Washington Post noted problems with vermin and "wierd bugs," leaky roofs .

FCPS formally blames the lack of construction on the time needed to obtain construction permits. Construction money has to compete with every other expense in the school system including teacher salaries, programs for at-risk children, and special education. The root cause of the proliferation of trailers is that our school population is exploding while the school system is suffering from a significant lack of revenue and long-term investment. While building brick and mortar schools is more expensive in the short-term, in the long-term it is less expensive. The primary cause of exploding trailer use is a lack of investment in our schools.

1 comment:

  1. Could one of the reasons there is not enough money for schools is that Fairfax County likes to build Taj Mahal schools. As we are in a recession, it is a good time to build good, nice , usable schools that are not "state of the art". Building such a schools is not sustainable--especially in a recession. Fairfax County wake up..the boom days are gone for right now. Anytime the schools live beyond their means, it falls on the property owners to make up the difference.