What is Falls Church FACTS?
Falls Church FACTS is a citizens partnership to promote and enhance
in the City of Falls Church government and school system.
What is our mission?
Our City must be the cohesive undivided sum of our aspirations, interests and values. Those qualities of civic life, if partitioned because of official deference to the interests of one group over another, will weaken the entire community and defeat the spirit and comity of its citizens.
We will work to insure that our City officials reflect the interest of the entire community and that our elected representatives are committed to the overarching value of one city and one people. Anything less than a commitment to that value creates pockets of privilege at the expense of the whole and creates personal enmity between neighbors and civic institutions.
We will also work to insure that our government processes are open and transparent to all citizens and reflect the integrity and honesty to which our government must aspire. We must achieve a financially efficient government that is not an economic impediment to supporting a socially diverse citizenry.
We will work to insure that citizens who aspire to leadership roles, elected or appointed, share our vision that we are a community of shared values with a commitment to long-term intergenerational responsibilities and sustainability.
We will strive to insure that our schools and city services are not just for those who live among us today, but are preserved and protected for those to yet to come.
We invite the participation of our fellow citizens who share these values and who share our concern that our city government has diverged from these values that will better serve us in both the short- and long-term.
Why “Falls Church FACTS”?
In the winter of 2014 - 2015 we recognized the growing malcontent with many of our elected leaders on the City Council and most notably our School Board. The School Board in particular was clearly so far out of touch with the concerns of parents, teachers and taxpayers. That board seemed more interested in selling an image than listening to our concerns about our schools under their leadership. Concerns we had about working with informed citizens about a sustainable school system were disregarded. By all appearances, they seemed blind to behaviors that stand in direct opposition to the values and the preservation of what is most important to us – our schools. Citizens who voiced concerns were maligned as malcontents and rules and policies were ignored or bent if it served the interest of the school leadership.
Budget seasons became a time of war between factions where one group seemed to be favored over another. The community seemed to be fracturing as members took sides
So Falls Church City residents Kristina New and Alison Kutchma organized a community meeting and shortly thereafter a group was formed to say:
We want leaders that listen and are responsive to community concerns;
We want leaders that will work collaboratively to sustain our long-term financial stability and independence.
We all need to work together to need to more carefully, honestly, and skillfully and respectfully manage the affairs and finances of our City. We want to elect to the Council and School Board those individuals will work transparently, communicate openly for the good of all parts of our city.
We seek cost effectiveness and a fair rebalancing of the deployment of city financial resources to meet the entire range of governmental needs as well as a quality public school system that fully supports all students across the spectrum of needs.
We demand more prudent management of service and construction contracts and of proper oversight of school spending to avoid, for example, the huge cost overruns that have marked school construction projects. We want to make sure that spending is directed to satisfy the greatest need and achieve the greatest good not for a select few.
We want a City Council and School Board that are committed to observing open meeting and so called sunshine laws.
We request that our School Board and City Council establish and communicate realistic budgets and employ understandable expense tracking and accounting systems. We want our school budgets to be presented in accordance with state laws. .
We want confidence that when our school leadership; school board and City Council tells us something, we want to be able to believe that the information is actually true, credible and can be supported by facts.
We know that if Falls Church is to sustain itself as an independent city, and if our school system is to be maintained for the long run we need changes in the way we generate revenue, a rebalancing between our burdensome and unsustainable real estate taxes and our insufficient commercial tax revenue base. Commercial tax revenue must come from development appropriately designed to enhance not just our coffers but our quality of life. We want leadership that understands we are in this for the long term.
We want Falls Church City leadership with integrity and a thoughtfulness to those that will come long after we are gone.
In the fall of 2015 FACTS endorsed candidates for school board and the city council who we felt shared and would work for this vision. Those candidates went out into the community to continue this conversation door to door talking about the need for transparent school budgets; leadership with integrity; sustainable tax rates; appropriate development and sufficient commercial tax rates and revenue. While those candidates were not successful, a few were extremely close and the conversations have resonated and now those words are now being heard all over town in growing groups of citizens who share these concerns. Join our conversations and share information about these issues by sending articles to this website for posting for our community to read. We wish this website to be a place to share information concerning our schools or our community to increase the level of understanding for us all.