Woodbridge residents received a few updates concerning their district.
Area projects and legislative priorities were discussed at Supervisor Margaret Franklin’s first Town Hall Meeting.
It was held at Leesylvania Elementary School, 15800 Neabsco Road in Woodbridge, on Thursday.
Franklin also talked about some of the Woodbridge District office’s goals, which include looking into school lunch debt and addressing environmental issues.
Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Director Seth Hendler-Voss, Human Rights Office Executive Director Raul Torres, and School Board member Loree Williams spoke at the Town Hall Meeting, as well.
Here is a video of the meeting:
This is a transcription of the video, which was completed with 80 percent accuracy:
Franklin: Supervisor, Margaret Franklin, um, first term in office, only about three weeks now. Um, and so I’m excited to be here. Um, uh, thank you all for coming out tonight. Thank you all became to the open house. Uh, last week. Um, we have a lot of good things coming up. I want to take this time to introduce myself, my staff, some of our priorities and give you all updates on some of the infrastructure projects that we’ve been working on, including some transportation items and parks and recs items. Um, it will also be joined by, uh, Himmler boss who’s with our County parks and rec system who also provide updates, uh, as well as our human rights commission who is going to talk about the census that we have coming up this year and why it’s important to participate in my office role, uh, in getting that off the ground here.
Franklin: So, um, I’ll just going to start with some priorities and some updates and some infrastructure projects and then we’ll do Q and a after all of the, um, after all of the presentations. And I have a staffer who will be writing down cause some of you have specific concerns about your neighborhoods. We’re going to make a list of all those projects that you all have been asking about and we’ll follow up with transportation, uh, next week to see what’s actually feasible to get done, uh, and try to manage expectations with everyone, uh, in terms of where items are on the list. So, um, we’re glad you came out. We do want to hear your specific, uh, concerns, uh, whether you say it kind of an open setting or grab one of us, um, afterwards, um, we’re going to just make a list of everything and then get back to you on, uh, how feasible it is to get whatever that project is done in your community.
Franklin: So that’s kind of how this is going to go. Before I dive into my presentation, I do want to introduce my staff. Uh, uh, Pamela Montgomery is my chief of staff. Some of you may know her from the zoning commission, but she’ll be on board. So if you don’t get a chance to speak to me, find her. And she can also right now in some of your, uh, questions or concerns, uh, BJ Johnson, who I think a lot of people already know here in Woodbridge. She’s an institution she’s outside of checking people in, but she’ll be in at some point, you can always reach out to her for questions if you can’t find me. And then we have Brenda Madrona free as soon as my senior advisor who does all outreach, that’s probably who you’ll be interacting with the most. If you have specific questions about your neighborhood.
Franklin: She is out sick today. Um, and so she is not here, but I mean you call the office probably on Monday. Um, she’ll be there to, to answer some of your questions in a, to filter some of those through our County services. So again, thank you for coming. We do have a few seats in the back if people want to try and make their way back there and get a little bit more comfortable. I don’t know what I was expecting in terms of turnout, but um, this is space. We have. So, um, I do apologize for that, but I’ll just dive right into things here. Um, I want to go over first a lot of our transportation projects that are currently in motion. Just so you’re aware, and we have some maps here, um, that will outline the garage that’s supposed to be built. Um, there is a map of all of the mobility projects that are in motion completed, uh, and that are to be funded moving forward.
Franklin: And then here you will see, um, a list of all projects that are underway. You’ll have to check by magisterial district, but you’ll see there are several, uh, Woodbridge projects that you know, we’re looking to complete moving forward. Uh, and then this is just one of the examples of what we’re doing on Merino way. Uh, we’re not hoses, so I’ll just dive right into it. Um, opens Boulevard, um, we have a project involving, um, construction of approximately about 1300 feet of sidewalk along opens that’s going to connect the Potomac town center where stone bridges, uh, to the existing sidewalk where you see the library. So instead of it being separate, uh, you’re going to moving forward, see some of that connected. So, um, look out for that moving forward. Uh, it’s supposed to start, um, in January, probably be completed within a year or so. So be on the lookout for that.
Franklin: Uh, route one, I just kind of mentioned it a little bit, uh, Annapolis way to where, uh, Mary’s way is that is a V. dot. Project. I’ve gotten a lot of calls about what’s going on with route one. Why is it taking so long? Uh, we’re here and stuff date from Annapolis to Mary’s way. That is a V. dot. Project that should be completed, um, at the end of this year. Um, so you’ll see a little bit of a freedom with regards to congestion after that’s done. Um, but you know, it took a little bit of patience to get there from, uh, Mary’s way to Featherstone. Uh, that is, uh, right now construction is the construction that you see is actually then putting utilities underground. Uh, once that is done, which is supposed to be at the end of this year, um, you’ll see the construction of the actual widening. Um, and that’s to be completed in 2022.
Franklin: Uh, so that’s the update there. A couple more years and then you’ll see the widening from, uh, till about six lanes total, three on each side going North and South, um, Annapolis way. Um, we’re going to extend Annapolis way to connect route one to one 23. Uh, if, you know, when you get off, it doesn’t quite connect and it’s kind of a pains across all lanes. We’re gonna connect that to make it a bit easier. There is any app, skull mills widening that’s underway. It has not started yet. Right now we’re in the process of what’s called a right away, working with the businesses to, uh, obtain some of the land to start construction. Uh, next will be the utilities, um, and making sure the utilities go underground. And then third will come to construction. So that’ll start in 2021 and it’s gonna take about a couple of years to do so. Um, the expected date of completion will be 20, 23.
Franklin: Uh, you know, that’s going to be a project where you’ll need to be patient with that because obviously right now it’s one lane up, one lane down. Uh, and so with construction you can just imagine it’s going to be a lot more congested. So from 2021 to 2023, we’re just going to have to ask for your patience on that. Um, so that’s where we are with that. And then you all may be familiar with, uh, the parking garage that was proposed across from Sentara, where the town center is. That’s going to be 1400, um, parking spaces. Uh, and it’s going to be in conjunction with the NAB skull mills widening project. Um, that is a County owned land. And, uh, the course of that discussion was pretty much, where do we put another commuter lot to relieve, um, issues at two 34 because that space fills up around 7:00 AM.
Franklin: Um, and then not to have our commuters go all the way to Horner and Telegraph. I park at Telegraph feels a very quickly. Um, and so, uh, the question was where do we put it in the middle of those two? Potomac town center, uh, was where the County has a science, but the land had a lot of concerns about that and a lot of, uh, questions about traffic congestion. Um, you know, that is a project that got underway before I came. And so my goal is just to figure out how, uh, to help mitigate the impact of that traffic. We think that it’s going to help a little bit coming off the interstate because the plan is to have a lane going from 95 straight into the parking lot. Hopefully that will work. Um, and then also I’ve raised concerns to D a to V.
Franklin: dot. In our transportation officials to say, make sure that we have security features, uh, in place. Because if you park at Horner, you know that you may come home and your tires won’t be there. Uh, so we want to make sure that we have enough cameras. We want to make sure that, um, we’re encouraging people, um, to basically be as safe as possible. If you’re going to have 1400 parking slots in the garage. So it is the first parking garage that we’ll see, um, on the Eastern end of the County. Uh, and so it’s kind of a, we have I think 300 or 400 spaces at the VRE life. But in terms of just straight commuter, uh, this is, this is a huge project. So, um, if you have questions about that, feel free to call our office and we can raise any concerns or just any pose, any questions to our local transportation officials.
Franklin: Cause that’s going to be a huge project there. Um, some park and recreation projects we have in Belmont Bay, we have the Belmont park bridge replacement, um, Hamill mill park. We have some pavement paving that. We’re going to do some site improvements, um, to comply with ADA regulations. Um, and then there’s gonna be a retaining wall replacement. Every pawn lodge we have, um, we’re gonna install a flat roof, a front gate, also some ADA, um, regulations we need to abide by. And then we’ll do an interior sidewalk. I have veterans park, there’s going to be a court pavement for the basketball, tennis court, um, at NAB, skull regional. We’re going to connect the Julie Metz, Annalise van state park boardwalks and then we’re going to do a boat launch at Ripon landing and then also have an exercise trail. And then we’re constantly working on the Aqua quaint, the Occoquan Greenway trail.
Franklin: Uh, and so those are just some, uh, parked items that we have coming up. Also, Seth is gonna, uh, delve a little bit more into some of those projects as well as some other things that we’re looking to do. And with bridge, a lot of you know that, um, you know, the plan is to try and revitalize, uh, North Woodbridge, uh, and really the route one corridor or that’s something that’s very important to me. So we do have a small area plan where the goal is to revitalize and put some mixed use development there, including commercial, uh, as well as some residential. And so, um, my goal is to seek public comments on the next center, so from you all to hear what you want up and down route one, which you don’t want. Um, make sure that I’m providing regular updates to you all in terms of what development is to look like, uh, within that plan.
Franklin: Um, and then also talk to our businesses to figure out what their interests are and to really lure more businesses up and down the route one corridor that are diverse in nature. Um, and then also protecting the businesses that are already there because we know when you bring growth, sometimes people get moved out and we don’t want that. We want to protect our businesses. We also want to promote our minority owned businesses and making sure that, um, they have a place here in Woodbridge and Prince William and that we’re providing support, um, for their businesses as well. So that’s very important to me. Um, and then, uh, like I said, for the businesses that are already here, we want to help them grow and expand and we want to help them do it right here in Woodbridge. Um, so that’s all, uh, all of our priorities for the small area plan.
Franklin: But again, we’re looking for comments from you all and tell us what you want. And so beyond the lookout from us to say, Hey, this is what we’re looking to do. Uh, what do you all think about that? Some education priorities. We are of our school board member here, Ms. Lori Williams. Uh, we’re gonna work very closely together on our capital improvement plan. Uh, we’re going to ask questions like, you know, what are the needs of Eastern Prince William? Where are the needs up and down route one? Uh, do we need more schools? Do we need to expand and increase, uh, access to the current schools that we have? Do we have enough resources for administrative services and technical services? Those are the things that we’re going to talk about in many more items in, uh, I’ll give the floor to Lori later on to kind of give an update on what they’re working on and what she needs from us as partners.
Franklin: Obviously the board of County supervisors, we give the school board their funding, so they’re going to be some very specific funding items that’s going to be important to Woodbridge. And I’m hoping she’ll be able to speak a little bit about that. Um, some, uh, legislative priorities for Richmond that we have. Um, transportation is the number one, uh, making sure that, uh, we have our fair share of dollars that are coming into Woodbridge for our tutor services as well as local services. Um, many of you may know that, uh, we get a lot of our revenue from the gas tax. Um, over the years the gas tax has not, um, generate as much revenue as we’ve needed to sustain a lot of our transportation items. And so we’ve had to get those funding sources from elsewhere, but we want to make sure that we’re being good partners with Richmond and that our delegation understands that the dollars we put in for taxes, they need to come back to Prince William and our transportation infrastructure.
Franklin: So that’s going to be important. Um, you know, we’re paying close attention to the governor’s announcement with regards to the long bridge and, uh, expanding the long bridge and creating a separate, uh, rail for commuter traffic. That’s gonna increase efficiency, uh, going into D C if you take VRE. Uh, so that’s gonna be incredibly important here. Um, also there a program called smart skill funding in which, um, transportation projects are currently ranked against each other. Uh, in terms of who actually gets funding on a state level. We want to change their formula and say, uh, you know, our projects here in Prince William County that we apply for funding for shouldn’t be compared to what’s going on in, uh, Virginia Beach, right? We want our fair share, um, of, uh, funding here and we want a formula, uh, that’s fair, that where we can get our actual transportation dollars back.
Franklin: So, uh, that’s going to be important. And then some of you may have heard that, you know, there’s been talk about setting up a public defender’s office here in Prince William County. That’s going to be important for those that, uh, may need those types of services. Our state delegation has been on board and pushing for that in Richmond. And that’s something that’s important to us. Lastly, uh, the census, the census is a priority for my office. Uh, we’ve been working closely with our congressional delegation as well as, uh, the human rights commission. Who’s going to speak a little bit about that, uh, to let people know that the census is coming. Uh, we’re hiring for the census. We want people in the community, uh, that look like the community to encourage people to participate in the census. Um, so we want people to know what is the census, why is it important?
Franklin: Uh, and why should we participate? I mean, if, you know, when we participate in a census, we get federal dollars based on our level of participation. So we want as many people participating in the census as possible. Uh, and so that’s going to be really important. So those are pretty much kind of the priorities that we’ve been looking at. My office has some very specific budget priorities that we’ll be looking for. Um, eliminating, um, school lunch debt that a lot of our students have. A lot of our students in our district have that issue and we want to see budget wise from the board of County supervisors. How can we create a system in which there is no lunch debt for students? As you know, um, some students are prevented from graduating, um, because of that lunch debt. So that’s something we want to take a look into.
Franklin: It doesn’t mean we’re going to solve it, but it’s something that we certainly want to fight for. We want to address some environmental issues. I’m looking into setting up a joint economic task force, bringing the CPS program here and provide to provide incentives for having energy efficient businesses and homes. Um, and then also looking into, um, a resolution to see that, to say that we want 100% green energy that we do around the County. So those are some of our goals. Um, and we hope that we can do that. The last thing is, um, or one additional things establishing a child advocacy center here in Prince William County. Um, this will help respond to the needs of, uh, victims of child abuse. Um, we have those types of centers in Loudon County and Fairfax, but Prince William County actually has the largest cases of child abuse, but we don’t have one center where you can bring all of those needs together for the victim.
Franklin: So that’s going to be important down the road. Want to look at a summer youth program. Um, all of these are budget items. So these are goals and priorities that I’ll need your help and actually pushing for. Um, and then a lot of people
have, uh, come to me asking about crime issues in some of our communities. We have a meeting coming up with the police department to talk about what are those issues would have been the rates of crime over the years. Are we just being, um, are we just advertising, um, the crime rates more now than before? What are the actual issues? So those are some of the things that we’re going to be talking about. I do want to say, um, that Prince William County, uh, is now in a very important position of influence. And power. Uh, many of you may know that, uh, delegate, Luke Torian is now the chair of the appropriations committee in Richmond.
Franklin: That’s going to be important because now we have a direct line to bring in funding back to Prince William County for some of these items that I mentioned. A delegate Hala, I who represents the Lake Ridge area. She’s a deputy whip, so she has a direct seat at the table for advocating, uh, for some of these things that are important to Prince William. And many of you may know that I recently became chair of Omni ride. That’s our local commuter and bus system here in Prince William. So any issues that you all see with our bus system, um, buses on the side of the road that are not working correctly, buses going too fast, buses going too slow, or the buses may not be servicing your neighborhood and you want to know why bring those issues to us and we’re happy to help. So, uh, again, I’m gonna turn it over to a few other people, but I do want to hear, uh, your questions after some of our other presentations. So I’m going to turn over to Seth to go over some of our parks and rec projects and then very quickly, um, uh, revel is going to talk about the census and then I’m going to turn over to, uh, our school board member to talk about some education issues and then we’re going to hear all of your questions and then I’ll go home.
Speaker 2: [inaudible]
Hendler-Voss: and you supervised here for welcoming me here. And I must say I’m, uh, I’m rather impressed with how quickly you’re digesting all this information you’re drinking out of a fire hose, but very, very impressive to see up here grasping these, these issues. Uh, good evening. My name is Seth Hendler boss and I’m honored to serve as your parks, recreation and tourism director. Uh, I’ve been on the job about two and a half years of Woodbridge is my community. I live over in Potomac shores. I do most of my shopping and my heating out and my recreating in Woodbridge district. So at the personal stake in your community here, whatever it is, one of the most unique park areas in Prince William County, you have the most, the greatest collection of waterfront parks in the County along uh, the, uh, the ASCO Creek and become a river and uh, you, uh, have a good, a good mix of not only County parks but state parks and federal lands as well.
Hendler-Voss: Uh, as the supervisor said, we’ve been investing considerably in this managerial district, uh, recent latest about P five point $3 million worth of active capital improvement projects taking place in the district. Uh, we recently cut the ribbon onto the app, the apps go boardwalk, uh, and uh, dedicated the, the asker regional park in Woodbridge district. Uh, we have a lot of fantastic projects in
the pipeline. The largest, or the biggest focus right now is on ne Potomac heritage national national scenic trail. So right now we’re under construction on a, on a mile long segment up at the, uh, in the Belmont Bay area that will run through the [inaudible] wildlife refuge and connect Belmont Bay down to veterans park. And then we are going to be moving over to the Featherstone wildlife trail segment, which will connect veterans park to the rip on VRE and then down to the MAPSCO boardwalk.
Hendler-Voss: And then we’re going to be constructing an extension of the existing boardwalk from the apps go boardwalk all the way down to the entrance of Liza Ania state park. So hopefully within the next two years all of the segments will be complete and you’ll be able to track all the way from Belmont Bay, North Woodbridge all the way down to Liza Albania state park. We’ve got a fantastic slate of bond projects with the citizens voted in favor of uh, by 65%. Uh, and we look forward to implementing those at some point when the money is available. A lot of exciting projects in Woodbridge, including a trail connection of another boardwalk trail connection down to down to Potomac shores. So again, I’m honored to serve as your parks, recreation and tourism director. Uh, I’m here to provide the best quality experience for you. Our, our mission is to provide recreational and cultural resources for a more vibrant community. So if there are resources that, uh, that you would like to see that you don’t see currently, please just let me know. I’ll share my information at the end of the meeting and let the supervisor’s office know I’m here to serve you and I want to hear what’s on your mind. So thank you so much for having me here tonight. [inaudible]
Torres: hello, my name is Raul Torres. I’m also a at Prince William County morning area, uh, ointment section risk. Uh, I commend all of you for being here. Uh, I am not accustomed to see so many people at town hall meetings. Uh, there’s sort of crises going on or something like that. So I appreciate the commitment that you have for your communities. It’s laudable that you actually, uh, in a cold. And I come here and share with your supervisor your concerns to meet her on the dos. Uh, I am the secretary, director of the human rights commission and work out of, uh, uh, right there with Cardinal drive. They had J fertilizer building. That’s where my office is located. Um, and from there, um, you, you have been given a little brochure about what we are and what we do. You may not need it and I hope you would never need it, uh, but did you know someone that may need it or, or just go through it and share it with somebody else?
Torres: But the main reason why I’m here is to talk a little bit about the sensors. If we fail and not be counted on the census in 2020, we cannot take stuff from the state. We have to wait 10 years to fix it. It’s like a comment, you know, cops every 10 years or so. So we have to do everything we can to count every single person that lives in Prince William County in the nation too. But we really care about Prince William in Prince William County, uh, in the period that starts between March 12th and probably April 15. It’s not one day like elections that you just vote on one day, and that’s it. Uh, the, uh, the sensors, that account will start somewhere around Marsh dwell. You’ll receive a postcard and that postcard that you will receive will give you a link to a website where you will go and fill out your form.
Torres: So starting in March, have more or less, you will be actually being able to, to file your, your sense of sport. If you don’t respond and do that, get you know, [inaudible] gonna do that now. I’ll do it tomorrow and those won’t happen. The sensor is going to send you another card probably two weeks later to remind you to go back and actually do it. If you don’t do that, then the sensors probably will be pulled you in that in the list of we’ll visit you, we’ll call you on the phone, or we’ll give you a bed set. Like it was the only in the old days that actually they visit everybody, but now they’re pushing it because of resources. They’re pushing more of the sensors to respond on the internet. So we’ll see how that works. But that’s the way that it’s fucked up. But why is it important?
Torres: Everybody should be counted in that period of time because it means for up for yourselves, our community and our families, it means a registry [inaudible] of federal and it means redistricting of congressional districts. Census information is used for everything in, in, in the nowadays for every program that you have is used in terms of who has more people or less people, the agents that they have, the incomes that they have to distribute funds to the different States and to the different localities, but even more than that, businesses use census information to locate their businesses to see the marketing part of it. Who leaves there now? Would I have clients are not there. They use the census information to establish businesses, to establish industries for location, for redress routine for making the district thing off of a boundary lines. All those reasons. There’s about almost a billion dollars of federal funds that come to the state of Virginia and we lose $2,000 for every single person that is not counted.
Torres: So it may represent 2% of the population of, of, of, of the Prince William County is not counted. Okay. That represents over 10 years, about 168 million less than we could have been using for schools, for roles, for so many things that we actually need four parts, you know. So it is incumbent upon us to make sure that we are counted. Everybody has gun and on that particular day, remember that first it is important because all the political structure, not only the congressional delegation, census information is also used for state rep, district them and other States. It’s not only for your progression on delegation but also federal dollars come to every single program and not programs of welfare. These are programs that includes programs that you may be using Medicaid that you may be using dollars for, transportation for parks, for streets of New York police, port, police for fire. So every single basic service that government provides has a touch on the census information based on the dollars that come with it.
Torres: So my message to you from here on as co chair of the complete census count committee of Prince William County is be counted and tell your friends to become your neighbors to be counted. Because the more people we count, the better you will be. Your family will be and your community works, so please do that. All the information you provide, the sense of there’s some, you know w we live in 2020 and many people are hesitant in terms of what they do with my personal information that I’m people are leaving my house. What a, how much I make. Well the information that the sensors collect is don’t share with anybody. It’s not Joe with the IRS, it’s not share with any other agency. Simply simply state in this census Bureau and it’s only reported in the aggregate, meaning that a number of not your personal, not your address and your information is reported out by census track is the smallest way that they report the information which would be like by neighborhood. So please do. That’s my message, right? Doing it. It’s everywhere in accounting and I hope that you will follow this message and help us make the Prince Williams a better place. Okay.
Speaker 2: [inaudible]
Speaker 5: I’ll turn it over now to our school board member, Ms. Lori Williams.
Williams: Hi, good evening everyone. I’m your school board representative for the Weber’s district. Uh, for those who don’t know, that runs all the way at the top of route one where a Belmont Bay is to the very bottom, which is where we are right now. Leads Lavanya along route one on the left hand side. On the right hand side I go to freedom high school and as far West as Woodbridge middle school was my last middle school. I’m just here tonight to give you a little synopsis. Uh, right now the important thing, if you are a parent of a Prince William County student, you should have received an email about a parent survey. Um, that’s really important for services that we provide for your students. We look for your feedback. Uh, we’re collecting information now about that. Also, it’s budget season as Margaret reforce supervisor Franklin referred to earlier.
Williams: Um, we will be having our work sessions on the school budget and then we meet in March with the board of County supervisors to present our budget to them. We receive 56.8% of the budget from the County. So it’s vital at this point in time, if you like to see something put in the budget that you give me an email or give me a call and let me know what you think the needs are for your school or your school community. Um, the budget add ons are done by vote. So, uh, one individual board member does not hold all the power we hold the power by a collective group. Um, but I am your representative and I do take all those concerns back to the rest of my board members, uh, to be heard as well as staff. In addition to that, if you are a parent of a Prince William County student, a rising middle schooler, that means if you have a fifth grader now all the way through, uh, I guess about 10th grade or 11th grade, it is time for your specialty program applications.
Williams: That is usually about a paragraph. Mom, your student completes the parent completes, you have selection of three different programs. You can pick for a second or third choices. What makes that special is that in Prince William County, we offer a plethora of CTE programs, which are career technical education programs. There are also academic based programs like AP scholar. Um, I can tell you for a fact as a mother who has uh, one son who just graduated last year, he was able to graduate from Potomac high school, which is not a high school in my district. He transferred in with his food handling books, food safe service license, uh, to college and his Cambridge seal for the academic. He was dual enrolled in a specialty program and it cost me zero as a parent. So, um, I encourage everyone to look at those applications and see if you’re thinking that something your child may be interested in, you don’t have to stay in them if you don’t like them.
Williams: And they are not specifically Greg based. So if you have a child who has 1.9 right now or a child who has a 3.5 they could still be eligible for a program. And I say that because it’s really important. A lot of people don’t encourage their children to apply because they think, well this, they don’t meet a grade criteria. Some kids don’t figure it out till later. Some get it right away. So take a look. It’s online. The application, they’re due on February 1st which is a Saturday. So there’s only a few short days left. But if you do decide to apply and your child gets in, I can tell you it’s worth it. I have one still left to go so I have a vested interest in continuing to see the school system grow. Um, I want to just add to the lunch debt issue as of June, June of last year, if your child has a debt in school, whether it is a library debt or is a lunch debt and no way, shape or form, should they be restricted from participating in any activity, be it field day, be it prom, be it an afterschool dance.
Williams: If that occurs, please let me know. We are working very diligently to make sure that children are not restricted from participating and things because they don’t pay the bills and they should not receive the punishment for it. Prince William County, I’m also is one of the few counties in the state of Virginia where if your child does need an alternate educational setting, we have independence non traditional school. A lot of people think that the school is just for students who have disciplinary issues. It is not, it is a fully credited alternative school. It is also recognized in a congressional records, uh, because it also houses one of our special education programs. Um, it is pro service we provide for our students because everyone does not fit a traditional academic day. So we have students who go there because they need to work. So they do ships, um, students who just don’t feel comfortable in traditional schools.
Williams: They have clubs, activities, just like all the rest of our high schools. And at the end of the year, if you have a child who’s gone there, they’re also eligible for scholarships. One of our students graduated last two years ago now from independence. They are now on a full ride scholarship to VCU. So, um, all of our high schools, all of our, excuse me, all of our schools as of last year are accredited. The state did a blanket accreditation for every single school in the state. The change is because now attendance counts towards accreditation. So if you have a student in the school system, you probably heard it back to school night from your truancy officer or the administration, um, is something that we pay very strict attention to. If you have child has an attendance issue due to illness or other circumstances, you should be able to work with your administration.
Williams: But all of our schools are very sensitive to that this year because it’s a state mandate. Um, there are quite a few things that we’re waiting just as the County is to pass and Richmond, um, for additional funding. Um, some new mandates
that may or may not be coming through. So we’ll let you know as those get passed or don’t get passed that will affect your child’s education again. Um, I’m your school representative. If you have any questions, I’ll be here afterwards. It’s very easy to get in contact with me by email. If I do not respond right away, please don’t hesitate to send me another email. Unlike our counterparts at the County, we don’t have a staff. It is staff of one. Um, so I may miss things. I’m human just like everyone else. Please don’t hesitate to send me another email. I do my best to try to respond within 24 hours, but there is no concern or question that is too small or too silly.
Williams: No problem, no issue. If you don’t know, that is what I’m here to help you with. So I just want to thank supervisor Franklin for allowing me to come and speak. I’ve been a school board representative in the Weber’s district now. This is my third full term, third full term. Um, and this is my first town hall, so with my counterpart. So I feel very fortunate that we have representation representation that we have here and I promise you that I will work very diligently and cooperatively with her office to try to get the best done for the Woodbury’s district. And I have to put in my plug, please email your supervisor because we’d like to put another elementary school in our district. Um, I say this because our district is different than a lot of the other districts in Prince William County. We don’t have a classroom overcrowding issue.
Williams: We have a building overcrowding issue. Every single one of the Weber’s district schools are title one schools, which means we have a high population of students who receive free and reduced lunch. I want to let you know that that means we will be getting additional funding because Prince William County school board approved last year in the budget to up the economically disadvantaged funding for all of our schools. So we will see an increase in the budget this year. We will also, uh, be looking forward to increases every year for the next few years. Uh, we made a pass a resolution last year at the end of the school year for that. Um, but we need more building space. It doesn’t help, um, to put an addition on if our children don’t have an increased cafeteria. If our children don’t have an increased gym space or increase room to play. So the best way to get that accomplished is to adding another building to our district.
Williams: I have a first grader, he left, he eats lunch at 10 50. So I’m directly impacted by this. I feel your pain if you’re a student eats lunch early too. We’re in the same boat. Um, but I really care about all of our kids, Weber’s district especially, but all of our kids, because unlike other communities, our kids cross districts because of our specialty programs. So it’s really important to me that you send an email her way so that she can advocate for us with her counterparts as well. Um, and if you have any questions, like I said, I want to take up too much time. I will be here at the end. Feel free to ask away. Thank you.