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Fairfax Schools Tries To Avoid Another Class-Size Increase

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By Jonathan Wilson

In Virginia, members of Fairfax County's School Board are facing a tough vote on the budget later this week. Some members say one way to avoid drastic cuts will be to ask county supervisors for more education funding.

The school district is facing a $176 million shortfall, but board members also want to save programs like indoor track and foreign language in elementary schools.

Most important to several members of the board is finding a way to avoid increasing average class size for the third year in a row. Tessie Wilson is the boards vice chairman.

"Especially in a time when were not able to give teachers or any of our staff a raise, the burden of increasing class size is hard to swallow," says Wilson.

To avoid bumping up class size, the district could ask the county for an extra $17 million.

Jason Tipton, a policy adviser for county Board of Supervisors Chair Sharon Bulova, says that would require an approximately one-cent increase in the property tax rate.

Tipton says much depends on the state's new governor, Bob McDonnell, who has yet to decide whether to reverse his predecessor's education funding cuts, or add more of his own.

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