1. John presents the hard facts of this $120M bond to build what could easily be an oversized school. This bond is financial folly that could damage the integrity of the city forever.
    What should be added: real estate taxes could rise significantly in the next 3-5 years. The myth of economic development cannot cover the bond cost and continued operating cost growth.
    To ignore John’s facts is to risk the financial stability of the city and home value destroying taxes.

  2. Thank you John for this info. I would have expected this level of detail from the City – either directly from the City Manager, or from one of the many consultants hired to look at the land. It’s a good thing one of our citizen took the initiative to bring out the issues.

  3. This is quite a list. Can anyone tell me if the city or the school has explained the risks in detail anywhere? I looked on the website and couldn’t find anything. I would like to hear their side as well.

  4. Thank you John for this helpful review. How do we get this information into the hands of the citizens who see the emotional appeal and not the facts and ramifications?

    By the City’s own numbers, Mount Daniel will have 611 students in grades K through 2nd next year (2018/2019). This would be the high school sophomore, junior, and senior classes of the 2028/2029 school year. Factoring in 9th graders at the same level, this projects out to 815 high school students in 2028/2029.

    Yet the city is projecting 1296 students 2028/2029. Where is the 59% higher population coming from?

    You guessed it. It has to be mostly from high-density residential developments. That means that the city wants to build a far larger (and more expensive) high school than we need, based on the current population, to accommodate developers’ plans. The numbers are very clear. This means the taxpayers are underwriting the developers and a “Yes” vote on the bond referendum is nothing more than a vote to subsidize high-density residential construction, because we don’t need a 1500 student school when 1000 should be plenty.

    We are being presented with a false all or nothing choice designed not to secure the future of our families and students, and not for the quality of life of Falls Church, but for the developers and those who stand to capitalize on a high-density population.

    So I ask the city officials this: Where does it all stop and how much is enough? Why don’t you level with the citizens about why you think you need a 1500 student school?

    Scale back the school and bond size, and preserve our land for better uses and better ROI, and you can have the whole community on your side. Continue down this never-ending development path and you will achieve your goal of ruining this fine community.

  5. Joe Howard, It seems like the increase has been from the apartments but the school officials keep saying it’s single family homes. I don’t think that is possible because we have limited single family home density in the city. It appears that apartments have more volume and can easily add more kids to the system.

    The city thinks economic development will bring them more revenue but the retail revenue the city receives is pennies. The majority of the revenue comes from residential real estate taxes – primarily from single family homes, townhouses and condos. When you look at apartment rent, the amount an apartment dweller pays (via rent) is much less than the tax bill an owner pays.

  6. Driving down West Columbia Street this evening, I saw a sign in a yard I’d love to get for my own yard. It read along the lines of Vote NO thanks to the $120M school bond referendum. Does anyone know who I might contact to purchase a few of those?

  7. A taxpayer who has purchased signs indicates they are free and they even deliver! Send a message to fallschurchfacts@gmail.com with your contact info and we will forward the info to the sign person who said they will get back to you promptly.

  8. I reread this and wanted to thank you John for your hard work. Sadly, the City website has little or no clear information on projected tax rates to 2022. If they do, it is buried. Their entire justification for this bond is just weak in my opinion.

    Taking on this much debt without adequately priven revenues from commercial sources is a disastrous recipe for individual home-owning taxpayers.

  9. does anyone here have ideas on how to get this article and other information like this out to everyone in the community? Is it being taken to every home in some format?

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