Those who have been following any of the school board elections this year are aware that Fauquier County schools spends over $1,200 per student more than Prince William County, yet Prince William continues to hire teachers away with higher teacher salaries.  

No one talks about the fact that in the most recent school superintendents reports available from the Virginia Department of Education addressing grades eight through 12 pupil/teacher ratios for secondary teaching positions, Fauquier County reports a ratio of 10.9 pupils per teaching position, compared to Prince William County’s report of a 17.22 ratio. 

These ratio reports indicate it would require approximately 411 teaching position using the Fauquier ratio to teach Fauquier’s roughly 4,480 grade eight through 12 students, while using the Prince William ratio would require only approximately 260 teaching positions.  

No wonder Fauquier can’t match Prince William salaries.Per these superintendent reports, Fauquier appears to be paying for 37% more instructional staff for grade eightthrough 12 instruction than if Fauquier schools operated with the Prince William County pupil/teaching position ratio.  

While this difference in staffing ratio is the largest with nearby school divisions, it is not the only one. The following jurisdictions pupil/teaching position ratios would also produce significantly lower staffing for grade eight through 12 instruction. Spotsylvania’s ratio produces 24 percent less staff, Culpeper’s 23 percent less, Stafford’s 21 percent less, Fairfax’s 16 percent less, and Loudon 14 percent less. 

If Fauquier County Schools could operate at the pupil/teaching position ratio for grades eight through 12 of any of these nearby school divisions, there would be significant funds to address both teacher salaries and obtaining the special-needs teachers required to improve services provided to these students. 

While there all small difference among these school divisions in SOL pass rates over the last four years, they are all reasonably comparable to the pass rates of Fauquier County. There does not seem to be an educational advantage to Fauquier’s lower pupil/teaching position ratio for grades eight through 12, but there is an obvious reduction to teaching staff salaries because of it. 

With this background information, it is surprising that only one candidate at the Oct.2school board Candidates Forum said they would support addressing class size and multiple teachers per classroom assignment methods currently used by our school system. This candidate is Shelly Norden, who is running for the Scott District school board representative position.  

Shelly is a 17-year teacher from inside the Fauquier School system, willing to give up her teaching position to serve as our representative. She offers a pragmatic, common sense view of what needs to be done to address long term school division issues. 

Please join me in supporting and voting for Shelly Norden for Scott District school board representative on Nov. 5. 

Charles Medvitz 

New Baltimore 


(4) comments

Cameron Jones

Normally teachers gripe because the class sizes are too large: so what is Ms. Norden's beef with Fauquier County? Isn't a higher staff to pupil ratio better: it's what we've been hearing for years? Seems to me that there are a group of people in our county who are focused on unseating Ms. Sloane, simply because they have an axe to grind with other Party members who supported Ms. Sloane when she was elected last go 'round. I urge voters to look VERY closely at Ms. Norden's record as a teacher in Fauquier; there are indications she has some disturbing issues that need to see the light of day.

Mary Page

Fauquier County School Board races are non partisan. Support for Shelly Norden is rooted in her policies and approach.


It has been years since I last compared the Fauquiers budget to those of the surrounding areas. But one thing really caught my attention at the time was the transportation cost in Fauquier compared to the surrounding communities. I think that before a comparison can be made, the transportation cost need to be pulled out.

Smaller classrooms make for better behaved and more manageable students. As of then end of this school year I will not have any students in the school system. I have seen firsthand the advantage to students of those smaller teacher student ratios.


Great letter, vote for Shelly!

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