by Karen Keys-Gamarra
When Republicans want to gain seats on the Fairfax County School Board, truth doesn’t matter. That’s the reality we have seen in the past few weeks. I’m Karen Keys-Gamarra, Fairfax County Public School (FCPS) Board member at-large and I have to admit, this race has hit a new low. Republicans have been using fear tactics and a misinformation campaign to try to win this election and it’s time to set the record straight.
The truth that matters is that this School Board has been courageous in its determination to tackle difficult issues. Since I joined the Board in 2017, I have presented or supported motions to:
- remove Confederate names from our schools by renaming Justice High School
- create greater access to advanced academics
- provide more support to our special education community
- achieve Menstrual Equity
- improve our anti-bullying efforts
- beef up our Title IX procedures
- increase transparency and accountability
- and I have been a strong advocate for discipline policy revisions designed to keep kids in school and so much more.
Last October, this Board set out to thoroughly review our Boundary policy. We have held four public meetings to discuss appropriate criteria. At our last work session in July, FCPS staff presented recommendations and the Board directed the superintendent to seek an outside consultant as part of that process. That’s it. That’s where we are.
Contrary to the fake news and abundant conspiracy theories, there are no boundary proposals that are not included in the CIP, on the table. No such changes have been proposed. The Board has agreed to discuss areas of severe overcrowding in future meetings and Board members will submit their concerns to the Superintendent for discussion at a future public meeting. The current policy, which has existed since 1986, considers travel times, socioeconomics and other factors when reviewing boundary concerns.
The entire goal for this process is to create an open, transparent process that recognizes the voices of the community. We are not discussing anything else. And that’s the truth that DOES matter.
My Republican opponents, sadly, don’t care about this truth. One such candidate even wrote that he was responsible for stopping a vote at a work session. (By the way, the Board does not vote on policy in a work session). I guess it’s easy to claim to be a hero when the event that was allegedly prevented wasn’t even scheduled.
What we have here is a travesty to our democratic process. These folks are desperate and using deceitful practices. We can’t let them prevail. This is Fairfax County, a place where we respect our neighbors and stand up for the vulnerable. In this campaign, we have to fight these treacherous tactics because both our democracy and truth matter.
To help me in this fight to keep our school board blue, go to karen4fairfaxkids.com. To volunteer, write us at firstname.lastname@example.org.