School Board Told that Teacher Salaries & Computers Need Funding Boost

As the school budgeting season commences Clarke County Public School teachers are lobbying county officials for what teachers see as a long overdue salary increase. However, school officials are already grappling with state funding decreases due to lower-than-expected school enrollment as well as painfully old technology infrastructure. And with the Clarke County Board of Supervisors already in its most fiscally conservative posture in recent memory, chances for the pay raise appear dim.

At Monday night’s school board meeting Clarke County Education Association president Andrew Kiser presented a thoughtful plea for the School Board to include a funding increase in the upcoming budget deliberations.  Kiser said that while the CCPS faculty is grateful that the school system had been provided with constant level funding last year, lack of funding increases mean that new textbook purchases postponed and technology upgrades are delayed.

Andrew Kiser is president of the Clarke County Education Association

“If we cut anymore our ability to deliver a world-class education will be compromised” Kiser told the school board. Kiser said that although times are tough teachers cannot continue to function on a 2008 budget level.

“We need a 2012 budget” Kiser said.

“Any further cuts will compromise our core program” school board chairperson Robina Bouffault told the audience earlier in the evening. However, Bouffault added that Clarke County was experiencing its fourth year in pupil population decline. Bouffault said that school staff is already looking for ways to make up a $250K state funding reduction resulting from this year’s 88 pupil decline.

Kiser said that the Clarke County Education Association would also like to see a salary enhancement next year because salaries have been kept constant over the last two years. Kiser questioned whether lower wage positions like classroom aides and cafeteria workers are even earning a living wage given the current pay rates.

Kiser said that many of the teachers that were hired at the same time he was eleven years ago have since been drawn away to other localities offering higher salaries like Loudoun and Frederick counties and feared that Clarke County will continue to loose resources if the salary situation is not addressed.

While a pay raise could stem the drain of Clarke County teachers to neighboring jurisdictions, so far there has not been any serious discussion indicating that the Board of Supervisors is willing to take on a permanent budget increase for any purpose.

One possible salary upgrade source is $360K in one-time educational job funding allocated received by Clarke County from the US Department of Education in August. Virginia is one of eight states picked to divide close to $250 million in federal funding intended to help save education jobs. The funds can be used to rehire or maintain employees but cannot be used in a school system’s operating budget according to the Department of Education. While the money could be used for salary purposes, the Clarke County Board of Supervisors has been vigilant in not funding ongoing budget commitments, like salary increases, from one-time funding sources.

In keeping with the Supervisors’s budget guidance, Superintendent Dr. Michael Murphy told the Clarke County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday that the school district intends to hold onto the money until it has a better idea of what the state legislatures education funding plans are.

“We may opt to use the money for offering early retirements” Murphy told the supervisors. “When you replace a $65K salary with a $35K salary person there is a savings.”

There was no discussion of the impact on education quality associated with the loss of senior teaching staff.

One alternative funding source for compensation assistance may be parent teacher organizations according to Carolyn Kruza. Kruza is president of the Clarke County Band Association and treasurer of the Johnson Williams Middle School Parent Teacher Organization. She believes parent groups are willing to help supplement funding for teachers.

“Teachers are our most important investment because they are responsible for shaping our students” Kruza told the school board. “Parent will do whatever we can to help supplement the budget but we look to you to for help with the budget.”

Unfortunately, teaching salaries are not the only educational deficit that the school board needs to fund. At Monday night’s meeting CCPS Technology director David Baggett painted a bleak picture of CCPS’s current technology infrastructure as well as the costs for correcting the issues.

Baggett told the school board that in working to update the division’s technology plan to meet state guidelines the resulting budget requirements could be enormous.

“Placing interactive white boards in 200 classrooms could cost $560K” Baggett said.

Baggett went on to tell the school board that there are 1000 – 1200 computers used across the division, some more than ten years old.

“We fight every day to keep some of those systems working” Baggett said. “Moving to a five year replacement rotation where we replace 200 machines a year will require $200K annually.”

“We are playing major catch-up with our infrastructure and technology” Dr. Murphy added.

Over the coming months school staff and the school board will work to develop a budget that addresses their budgetary priorities for the coming year. The school budget is scheduled to be completed for presentation to the Clarke County Board of Supervisors on February 7, 2011. The Supervisors are expected to finalize the budget in March, 2011.

Comments

  1. No, no, no, no, NO!!!! Parents should NOT be paying the teachers salaries, TAXPAYERS should!! The BOS needs to raise the taxes to do this, PERIOD! They need to raise the taxes to pay for the infrastructure that has been SORELY NEGLECTED!!! You can’t pay people the same wage every year and expect them to stick around “for the good of the team”. At some point, their livelihood becomes more important!

    • Don Specht says:

      In all my years of association with CCPS, the BOS, and the citizens and taxpayers of the county I would have to say that pounding on the table for a tax increase just to fund teacher salaries is about like trying to push a rope. Explain your vested interests and your solutions logically and in a rational tone and more people will listen.

      • Let more businesses into the county/town that people want, like a CVS pharmacy, a larger Food Lion, a McDonald’s. That will relieve our tax burden. Quit coddling the monopolies that the Town props up with their good ol boy back room dealings even though the residents scream for another choice.

        The Cattle Barons in this county are the only farmers that make any real money anyway.

        And for goodness sake, dump that ridiculous cap on SS payments (I know, Federal issue, but it’s near and dear to my heart!)

  2. I agree with the teachers. They deserve a raise. I want my children to have a good education at CCPS. It just doesn’t make since. I too work for the county/government and I too have not had a raise in 4 years or so. How can they do that to us? The cost of living goes up every year. Therefore goods we purchase go up. How are we to live on what we make with no raises? With that being said, I would love to help support/supplement the teacher, but I can not. I don’t make enough either. Give the teachers a raise and the support they deserve before you run them out of Clarke County to another county and then who will teach the children?

  3. We need more new business to generate the tax money for these purposes, the residents have been burdened enough, including sewer rate increases and property assessments that have not kept pace with rapidly declining property values. There are spots along Rts 340, 522 & 50 that can be developed with retail that would not disturb the rural asthetics goals of the county. Same with the land next to Food Lion. We could certainly use some better options for groceries, clothing, pharmaceuticals, etc.

    • David Mikolajczak says:

      Clarke County needs a drug store that stays open past 6 pm in the evening. Most residents now commute towards the district to work (and send property tax to the county) yet we can’t get decent grocery food or pharmacy hours.

      • When commuting to the city, I stop for my groceries and my CVS needs while I am there. I enjoy driving home and leaving that all over there. That said it would be nice to have something better than Food Lion but we are not big enough to attract them. If we want that we have to move to a bigger place. Just how it is.

      • Mr Mister says:

        Berryville is dead after 6 pm. I get home after that. My only choice is Food Lion for everything. Groceries is not the issue. It’s every other item that we are having to get there, or go to Winchester. God forbid you child starts to cough at 9 pm and it takes you an hour to get there and back with cough syrup, because Food Lion does have syrup for children.

  4. Don Specht says:

    Which has more impact on the students: Continuing to level-fund the teachers, or allowing the IT infrastructure to further deteriorate?

    I commend Mr. Murphy for considering the notion of using a one-time funding windfall for retirement buyouts. Combine that with Ms. Kruza’s sentiment toward parent groups’ participation in supplementing teacher compensation – hopefully on a merit basis – you have a way of showing the senior staff some serious respect and a way to attract and retain young go-getters.

    Is this a good plan? Dunno, but I don’t see any alternatives posed within the article above and I do know that if the IT issue is not addressed, students of all stripes – IB degree candidates to future MS Office users – will be impacted.

  5. Fly on the wall says:

    Teachers and other school employees should be paid by the school division. The PTOs should not get into any sort of “merit” bonuses or teacher pay for several reasons.
    1.) Such fundraising might very well dry up fundraising for other, traditionally-
    covered things like new equipment, resources, etc.
    2.) Merit pay? Really? Who determines the criteria? When it is an established fact
    that no two kids learn the same way, and thus no two classes – how is such a
    plan fair, much less feasible?
    3.) How would those bonues or “enhancements” be added in to the salaries? How
    does one not “game the system” by campaigning to be “favorite teacher” or
    whatever by reaching out to select parents? Or, “Oh, I can’t discipline Johnny
    because his momma is on the committee who doles out bonuses.” Is that the
    climate you wanna foster?

    Kids ain’t like cars coming off an assembly line. Don, you should know that. It’s time to invest in our schools – its people, its technology, its resources. It’s not like they bill for their services individually, or get more money for overtime work.

    • Don Specht says:

      Some person with no name posted: “Kids aint like cars coming off an assembly line. Don, you should know that. It’s time to invest in our schools … ”

      1. You can address me personally by using my real name, but I can’t do the same in return. With that in mind which BOS member is going to give even a small listen to pleas for a tax hike to enhance teacher salaries from posters who are too shy to step up and put their good name to a demand for said hike.

      2. “It’s time to invest in our schools…” When has it NOT been time? The real problem is no one wants to think outside the box or make choices. The only solution I’ve seen from the posters here is “Raise Taxes.” Good luck with that one.

      3. Neither Kiser nor CDN provides any data in this article pertaining to retention of veterans, but I’m willing to bet many if not most leave for other reasons than salary. If teachers can’t be given a raise, show them some love. Besides what has been suggested by Ms. Kruza, there are many ways to attract quality newbies and convince wily veterans to stay, and many of these tactics do not have to involve money. I have a couple in mind, but I’ll defer to the readership in hopes of some creativity.

      4. If I were a teacher in the county I would expect Andy Kiser to do more than the same old “give us more” song he sang to the School Board. When I was there reps like Tim Lee and Bernie Groves would organize letter writing campaigns, for example, to energize the base and get the word out. And don’t tell me he’s too busy; librarians don’t have to deal with the same work day constraints, and I’d like to see the contents of the briefcase he’s toting home. Marshal your forces, Andy. If you want to make something happen it will take a lot more than one board presentation to make it happen.

      • FYI, Andy’s not just the librarian, he also teaches classes at the Middle School and runs the drama program for the High School and Middle School.

        • Don Specht says:

          Mr. Kizer was elected to the position of CCEA president. In my day we expected a lot from our local rep. Now, not so much it seems.

          [redacted]

        • Just sayin says:

          Well…he oversees the drama club at the middle school, and the musicals every year. The CCHS Theatre teacher does a great job with the theatre classes, and she is hard at work on “Our Town.” My kid is lookin forward to its performances next month, as many students in it are good friends of hers.

          • A teacher says... says:

            I was actually thinking of canceling my VEA membership. I wasn’t sure it was representing me on a personal level. Then, I noticed some positive changes this year. There are more members,there are people willing to serve in office, and communication has improved. We had a great lunch recently and Mr. Kiser and Mr. Jay Deck did an excellent job addressing current issues and relayed plans to help VEA become a more effective organization in CCPS. I for one appreciated this effort. Thanks, to Andy, Jay, and those willing to hold office this year!

  6. Dmaxnjackson says:

    Raise taxces, u crazy? Dont know about everyone else, but I am heavily taxed already. And for what? Trash pick up, and a park? Until we get people running this county,who look down the road instead of next week, this county will stay idle and stagnet. The only ones who prosper in this county are the good ole boy network and farmers. We need business to help offset this lopsided tax issue we have here. Citizens cannot keep footing the bill for everything. We are the butt of all jokes from people in surrounding counties. Look at all the great teachers we have lost in the last 10 years, it is redicilous.When will you people running this county,and school system, going to wake up.

  7. Are there ever any audits done over the county or school board? If so, what has come out of these audits regarding spending?

  8. David Mikolajczak says:

    I am the last guy that wants his taxes raised, but for crying out loud the teachers of Clarke County need a raise, as the raises seem to be few and far between. The kids don’t teach themselves and parents can only do so much in the evening to help the kids, if they do at all. We have good teachers that do an excellent job and I for one do not want to lose them.

  9. clarkehaven says:

    Let us look at the reality of our times: two years with 0% Federal COLA (cost of living adjustment)…..high unemployment, people in the real world taking pay cuts.

    Who else is getting raises in this economic environment???

  10. Kathleen Shifflet says:

    These are fiscally tough times for everyone. County and state employees are in the same boat. State workers have not had a cost of living raise in several years, experienced a furlough day, and could experience more of the same. State workers commute long distance to get a Northern Virginia diferential just as teachers leave to get higher salaries. I agree that Clarke teachers and government workers need raises. It gets a bit wearisome when folks carry on like Clarke County is the only place with these issues.

    I personally had my home in Berryville appraised recently for a refinance. I was pleasantly surprised that the new value was still quite strong. I wonder if the reputation for the quality of life here had anything to do with it!!

  11. George Roger says:

    In at least one place, Education is spelled incorrectly in the article.

    The picture labelled ‘Old-computers-300×225.jpg’ shows computers that are:

    A) Very cleverly staged (by whom?)
    and/or

    B) Interesting choice of clip art (from where?)
    and/or

    C) well over 10 years old (maybe over 20?)
    and/or

    D) Poorly stored, used, and maintained. (No excuse for these to be lying around like that, even in a junk room.)

    —-

    Taxes are too high; Teachers and public servants are not paid enough; The government is spending more than taking in.

    Those are the cards, now how do we play them?

    Computer Technology doesn’t have to cost that much.

    Teachers can be compensated in several different ways.

    Andy Kiser is a hard-working professional educator who puts a heckuva lot more into JWMS and the system then those just collecting a paycheck. Having kids taught by an archivist as well is just icing on the cake.

    Pete Dunning is Pete Dunning.

    Do we have a shortage of qualified teachers? Do we drop teachers when the student count goes down?

    Businesses will come in where there is a market. We don’t have enough of a population to justify all the businesses desired. Be careful of what you wish, we may get enough people to get bigger box stores and then we’ll be just like our neighboring counties.

    What do we cut in order to pay educational staff more? Computers? Shop Classes? Extra-Curriculars? Band? Sports?

  12. Darren "Fly" Lambert says:

    We only talked about 3…CVS (or some type of drug store), McDonald’s, and a bigger SuperMarket. I would say we have more than enough population to support any one of those three mentioned…just sayin!

    • Especially if they are located either off 340 near Rts 7 or 50. There is plenty of traffic that comes through those areas.

    • George Roger says:

      OK, assuming the backoffice whiz kids who have actually mastered the demographic estimates and income projections and would sanction either a corporate store or license a franchise here, which businesses would you want to close up shop as a result?

      A) Local Pharmacy and Convenience store? (they can’t all be viable with a CVS big brother down the road.)

      B) Local Restaurant (I have some votes, but don’t want to lose the good ones.)

      C) Food Lion? (This will close once Giant puts in their Berryville local store)

      D) Put a dent into the Farmers Market? (especially when your new Wegmans is discounting their organic and locally grown stuff)

      I don’t think there is enough business to justify the additional businesses you suggest. So if we manage to somehow get one of those firms (somehow means BOS gives ridiculous breaks to ‘incentivize’ and subsidize as many other dopey BOS seem to do), we’ll lose one or more of our existing ones.

      This would be an example of the law of unintended consequences.

      Here’s the secret formula to getting additional businesses into our town and county:

      1) Shop here
      2) Shop a lot here.
      3) Quit shopping elsewhere unless you absolutely, positively have to got to do so outside of Clarke.

      You want to attract more business to Berryville and Clarke…

      I) Do all your grocery shopping at the Farmers Market first, then Food Lion for everything else.

      Use your MVP card for valuable discounts, gifts, premiums, etc. Let ’em efficiently project what and when you buy. If they don’t carry your particular brand of Marshmallows or whatever, tell the manager. If you want to buy, they want to sell.

      II) Eat out more in Clarke, and eat out less often outside of Clarke.

      Patronize and brag about the good restaurants here, bad mouth the bad ones. (We all do that anyway, we just need to do it more.)

      III) Move your prescriptions to the local Pharmacy. Ask them to set up relationships with other more local pharmacies for services they don’t provide. (they’ll get the hint.)

      ‘But bla, bla, bla is cheaper, Walmart is cheaper, Sams and Costco are cheaper. Yes, yes they are. So go there when it makes sense to bulk up and buy the cheaper stuff in quantity… At least until we get the critical mass necessary to park one of these stores here.

      I would say that for 80% at least of most of our needs, we can get it locally for a better deal.

      Think about it. Time, Gas, effort, and don’t forget the ‘While I’m out here, I might as well buy…” factor. Do that first, here. Make a list for the out-of-town stuff, and save that for Costco Saturdays.

      I’d bet dollars to doughnuts that anyone thinking about heading out to Lowe’s or Home Depot would skip the trip if they went to the TrueValue first. (It’s cheaper)

      Your mass market stores prey upon the mass markets. Your local outfits *must* be responsive, a better value, and more accommodating. They are playing for higher stakes.

      I would like to think that as folks make the effort and invest the time to shop locally first, you will find reasons to do so. You save money, gas, time, and little chunks of your life that are better off spent in your community, with friends and family.

      When it is not necessary to change, it is necessary not to change.

      • Darren "Fly" Lambert says:

        Shop here?…Shop a lot here? Hmmmm…….am I missing something here?

        In closing I would say that if Senseny Road can handle the above 3 that were mentioned….I’d say Berryville can support them. I mean were talking about a single road in Frederick County having more options than all of Berryville!

        C’mon Man!

        • I agree, shop here, shop where? that’s the whole point/problem. THERE IS NOTHING HERE IN BERRYVILLE!!!! If there were I WOULD SHOP HERE.

        • George Roger says:

          Not sure that the “If you build it, they will come” approach works all that well in the real world.

          I like the notion of a zoning-free world, but then you get no thinking beyond “Let’s put one here, and one there, and pretty soon we’ve brought more gridlock to Clarke County.

          Take a drive through Purcellville and think how much easier it’s going to be when they are done building out their new big box complexes.

          If we do indeed maximize our shopping dollars within Clarke County, we’ll have just the right amount of expansion when we need expansion. And in the meantime, improved responses from local business.

          I like to think we are an oasis of development sanity, (boy I could actually hear people spraying their drink on the monitor with that one), but at least no one could ever accuse us of acting in haste right?

          • Hmmm….again how/where do I maximize my shopping in Berryville/Clarke County? After 5pm you have 2 options….Dollar General Store/Family Dollar.

            C’mon Man!

          • Jim Harper says:

            Start adding up the Tax revenue that leaves Berryville/Clarke to go to Loudoun/Fredrick…it is staggering. Not to mention the # of jobs that are lost to those same neighbors. I find it hard to believe that a town that needed more retail options 20 years ago can’t support more retail options now that all the apple orchards have been turned into single family dwellings. The County/Town needs to hire someone who understands these challenges, to help them write supporting policy. Tax breaks and smart growth initiatives all need to be addressed. Otherwise, people will continue to take their tax dollars to other jurisdictions for their needs.

          • Travis Goodwin says:

            Well…the “sliding scale” zoning in place has been much ballyhooed, but it’s left this county really in a bind revenue-wise. When certain supervisors, like the one from White Post, decry “big box stores” of even 5,000 sq. ft., it makes it hard for businesses to think about locating in Clarke County. The commuter traffic on Rt. 7 and Rt. 50 would seem to indicate that some smartly-placed retail at those junctions would be a boon to the county and town. I’m not sure how the revenue split would be, if it would split at all.

            For an example of some smart growth, look at Warrenton. Its downtown is largely residences, professional offices, some specialty or niche stores, and restaurants; it does well, yet there’s also a thriving commercial sector that rings the downtown out by the medical center and such. Granted, Warrenton is considerably larger than Berryville, but my point is that there has to be a way to be more proactive while maintaining the “bucolic small-town” ambiance. The powers that be need to be willing to try, because – clearly – the current way things are done does not provide the requisite level of funding needed to maintain a quality level of service in the schools or the municipal side.

      • Well said George.

      • Mr Mister says:

        It’s about convenience. Food Lion has limited selection. Where a store like Giant has more variety. And what about the store hours in town. The only time I can get to the pharmacy is Saturday. And they close at 1:00. During the week it seems all stores close at 6:00 or earlier. I would love to shop local. But it seems they make it hard for people in the same boat as me. I’m not asking for them to cater to my needs. But how can I support them when they are closed?

        • That’s why folks want those businesses, because they have hours that are more accomodating.

          Look, I’ll go to True Value any day over Lowes, but sometimes there are things at Lowes that I can’t get at True Value no matter what time of day. I refuse to go to the Pharmacy in Berryville because their hours are not accomodating to me at all. And as for flowers, Costco has Sponsellers’ beat hands down as far as quality.

          Berryville Grill is the best restaurant in town, hands down, for affordability and quality of food.

          • Right on RightWinger…I knew we would finally agree on a topic!

          • There’s always hope!

          • Darren "Fly" Lambert says:

            RightWinger we have hope! I just noticed the Oakcrest Sign out in front of the Food Lion….Maybe something/someone will buy that land and put it to good use!… I’m still waiting for the Family Style Tastee Freeze that was suppose to come there when things were being build there long ago! Hmmmm…..I think something was fishy about that situation??…What do you think?

          • Hate to burst your bubble, Darren, but whoever buys that land will still only be able to do with it what the Town Council and BOS says. It would be great if the Food Lion could expand it’s footprint and be able to have a florist and a pharmacy. A Mcdonalds (or 5-Guys) would go perfectly there as well, due to it’s proximity to 7 and 340.

          • George Roger says:

            OK, then let’s try it.

            Let’s start the BerryvilleFirst movement that asks people to at least try to shop locally before they are seduced by high fluorescent glimmer inside a concrete block building.

            Anyone know anyone on the business associations that care to chime in here? Somebody want to drive to our local Chamber of Commerce in Winchester and tell them that “Little Frederick” is hurting in this area? (OK, that may not be playing nice, but it is a funny cheapshot)

            In the meantime, let’s tell True Value what we’re in the market for, maybe they will special order it for us. Let’s go to the Pharmacy and ask Emil Gower to stay open later. And let’s tell Sponsellers that they’d better step it up a notch.

            If we do the opposite, if we all just say “The heck with buying local, I’m getting all my stuff AND a pizza slice and soda for $1.99, we sort of deserve the business community we’ve got no?

            Berryville Grill may be the best, but have we really compared it to ALL the other restaurants in town? In the county?

          • I did qualify my statement by saying The BG is affordable and serves a good quality meal.

            L’Auberge is good when you’re feeling rich, and Battletown Inn is a wonderful place to eat as well. You can’t beat the Gyros at the Greek place, hot and filling (and you can eat outside, although the parking lot doesn’t provide the greatest atmosphere).

            Bottom line though, our local taxes pay the teachers’ salaries, and our BOS with their current Master Plan has restricted our ability to attract businesses to relieve the tax burden of the residents. So the only way to give the teachers the raises they deserve would be to raise our taxes. Relying on the charity of private citizens is not a permanent funding source, which is what the Superintendent desires (and rightly so).

          • George Roger says:

            Raising taxes should not be the default answer.

            What would be the best way to interpret or to amend the Master Plan to bring in additional retail?

            I’m twisted, I like Makenzies (sp?) for breakfasts, when I’m real hungry.

            And, I really like the atmosphere of the Berryville News Stand.

        • Convenience yes, and also choices for the residents which in turn creates healthy competion for all stores to keep their prices in check and more incentive for the residents to spend their dollars within the county/city. I find our lone grocery store and hardware store here to be more expensive, maybe not by much but it adds up over time and is more than burning the gallon of fuel to go into Frederick county to shop when you are going for more than one or two items.

        • George Roger says:

          You are absolutely right. It’s a Catch-22. People can’t shop because the stores aren’t open when they get home. The stores aren’t open because people can’t shop. (or so the story goes.)

          I think you almost got it. They darned better cater to your needs or they are out of business. What do businesses respond to? Profit. Catering to us, means more profit to them. Leave a copy of your CVS or Giant receipt with ‘Would have been you, but you were closed.’

          By increasing the shopping, we give them the means and the idear that ‘Hey, if I stayed open, I could get even more business.

          Maybe a petition, ask the management, “Hey, if we get 10, 20, or 50 people to switch their prescriptions here, would you then expand your hours? How about some type of affinity card that we flash them when we buy that says “I coulda gone to Costco… next time”

          • Don Specht says:

            Food for thought:

            Could the Town Council and/or the BOS offer any incentives for businesses flexing their hours? Tax credits come to mind, and if spending increases so does sales tax collection, a portion of which goes back to the locality.

          • George Roger says:

            This is great. This kind of food for thought makes me hungry for more.

            While we’re at it, how about we bring Downtown Berryville into modern times and light it up with free to users highspeed wireless internet? I’ve raised the issue with some local providers and there is interest on their part — maybe the business community and/or city/county steps up to seed it?

            Anybody friendly with Deep Pockets inside the beltway that can throw us some of that magical free grant stimulus money for something to stimulate our downtown business?

            Would love to see CDN have enough bandwidth for Video and all manner of internet fantastic they have in their skunkworks.

          • Debacle Watcher says:

            You kidding?? Do you really want the BOS or Town Council picking and choosing which of their buddies will get tax credits for staying open another hour.
            The leverage should be, “Our citizens want longer hours. If you won’t do that, there are competitors that will, and we can’t protect you from them any longer.”

          • If I were kidding I wouldn’t use my real name.

          • Debacle Watcher says:

            So you’re one of those people who places more importance on who says it, than what is said.

          • Both.

          • George Roger says:

            You know, one of the bad things with obvious pseudonyms is that you can game the system and create multiple personas to agree or disagree and create the illusion of popularity. (and something else about voting thumbs up or down, but I haven’t figured that out yet.)

            It might be a good idea for CDN to figure out some solution of making sure that a name or nick doesn’t become disposable.

      • SO WRONG- OPEN YOUR EYES

      • Darren "Fly" Lambert says:

        Okay George…I took your advice and was going to do some good ole downtown shopping. I received a flyer in the mail for True Value today, went to purchase an Infrared Heater which was on sale for $249…and guess what happened George? Guess how many True Value in Berryville had for sale? That’s right…NONE! So guess where I had to go to get my heater? That’s right….Winchester! What a JOKE!

    • the last thing this community needs is another disgusting McDonalds

      • McDonalds is still better than Tastee Freeze…but I’d compromise with something like a Chic-Fila!

      • McDonald’s is disgusting???? Have you been in the Tastee-Freeze???? THAT’S DISGUSTING!!!!!!!

      • AGREE, McDonalds is bad, but look what we have in Berryville now. Bring something. [redacted] bring a Sheetz down this way. At least they have good food and all the drinks people like. It would be better than driving to waterloo.

        • George Roger says:

          Hey, maybe the quality of all of our fast food restaurants would improve with more competition. Choices are good right?

          We got two 7-11’s now, so maybe Sheetz would pick up and notice if a lot of traffic was happening amongst our existing fast food options?

          Even McDonalds has its Waterloo. (ducking and running)

      • George Roger says:

        Maybe not another disgusting McDonalds, I would prefer a nice clean locally owned franchise.

        People like McDonalds, I like people. Let’s let the market decide — there should be enough options for everyone.

  13. Don Specht says:

    Heh. Looks like the thread got hijacked by those who want the BOS to interpret the county’s master plan a bit differently. Here’s some light reading for the uneducated …

    http://www.clarkecounty.gov/government/planning/comprehensive_plan.html

    Berryville Area Plan (1992, amended through 2009)

    http://www.clarkecounty.gov/documents_manager/download_document/755_berryville_area_plan_2009.html [url points to a .pdf document]

    Section II. Planning Goals and Objectives

    Part 7. ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
    A. Support the existing economic base in the Berryville Area while exploring other compatible economic opportunities for expanded employment and tax-revenues.
    1) Encourage moderate levels of in-fill retail and service development in the downtown areas as the principal means of expanding the local economic base. Downtown
    revitalization activities should be expanded and energetically pursued.
    2) Identify sites suitable for light industrial employment uses and reserve them for wellcontrolled and staged economic expansion in the Berryville Area.
    3) Planning should continue for a moderately paced, planned economic development program which should include a major “industrial park site” for future office and light industrial/technology related land uses which are compatible with the surrounding residential and agricultural areas.
    4. Establish performance standards for all economic development related land uses,
    including extensive site buffers, landscaping and open space requirements.

    • It’s not a question of interpreting the Master Plan…it’s a question of taking it in another direction. The current Master Plan shields the downtown businesses from any real competition from coming in and forcing them into conductin business in the 21st Century where people have less time during the working day to accomplish things and have to rely on businesses that accomodate their schedule. The downtown Berryville area businesses (aside from the restaurants) do not do this.

      • Oh, and the thread was not hijacked, it drifted when people offered solutions to the problem of our underpaid teachers without raising taxes on the residents. I’d say it was beginning to energize the base and using CDN to get the word out.

        Editor’s Note: Part of CDN’s value to the community is fostering the dialog that takes place on topics of interest to our readers. In this instance, revenue from business expansion was proposed as a solution to expanding Clarke County’s tax base. Some believe that an expanded tax base may reduce tax pressure on families. (Others may not agree with this proposition.) In either case, the conversation is relevant to the topic of how to pay for better schools.

      • Don Specht says:

        And here I thought this thread was all about teachers’ salaries and a crumbling IT infrastructure … The BOS isn’t going to change their take on the Master Plan based on a bunch of warbling from the no-name crowd, Darren Lambert and George Roper excepted.

        • Coach Specht…You know I have to jump in when they start talking about food in Berryville. It is time for change in Berryville…I’ve lived on Big Tee’s for 40 years and I’m tired of it! Ha,ha….Sorry for the hijacking!

          • Don Specht says:

            Forty years … Wow. 🙂

            Don’t be sorry, Darren. Be creative.

            For instance:

            One of the toughest problems that a new teacher has to face is housing, especially in Clarke. So here’s a thought …

            Landowners could be given a county tax break if they rent or sell to teachers. Taxpayers could be given a similar break if they were to contribute to a county-administered fund whose purpose was to provide housing assistance to teachers.

            Just sayin’ … 🙂

          • Just sayin’…… what about pay help with every day, normal people, trying to make ends meet. I support the raise for teachers. They deserve it and need it. But ,@*@*@* so do I.
            I agree with you all the way Darrin.

          • Don Specht says:

            Excuse me, Teresa C., but I was trying not to drift the thread. The whole idea of my post was to encourage people to be creative with respect to teachers’ salaries. There are other ways to ‘show the love’ besides raising taxes, and if you read my post you’ll see that the notion is totally voluntary to boot.

            So if you support a raise for teachers, will you also add your name, your full name, to the list of those posters who will support a tax increase to make that happen? If not, no problem, times are tough and I understand.

            Simple aside: Seems that there is little concern over the IT woes that CCPS faces. George Roper is right, there are inexpensive solutions for some of the problem. The private school I just retired from solved the problem of aging computers by entering into a leasing arrangement with Dell.

          • George Roger says:

            I can think of several ways of getting more bang for the buck in our public school sector, without leasing. We could build our own and teach the kids a trade instead of teaching them how to use Word for Word Processing or PowerPoint for presentations. There are many, many ways of stretching equipment and doing stuff for fraction of what expensive computer consultants are pushing today.

            Ask one of our students who have gone through ‘keyboarding, or computer, or playing munchman with falling letters/numbers” class how to do anything beyond MS Office or Facebook and they’ll melt down on the spot.

            We need to quit teaching our kids to be ‘Users’ and start being ‘Makers.’

          • Doug Landry says:

            I don’t know, George, that your assessment of the reality in CCPS, tech-wise, is entirely accurate. In truth, many kids are way more tech savvy than what the infrastructure can support. My nephew, who is 12, can log on to Facebook, or create stop-motion videos, or work his electronic gadgets far more efficiently and expertly than his parents or me…yet his school’s labs have desktops running Windows XP and Office 2003. Also, what exactly would you suggest that we build with your “buld our own and teach our kids a trade.”

            That math program you cite is also woefully outdated, too, although there are online versions that are effective for basic math skill review; most everything I hear my nephew talk about includes online resources like Study Island and other online resources for content and SOL review, Mavis Beacon for typing, and stuff like that. I’m not as versed on the elementary software used, as I don’t have kids at that level.

            The IT issue is one of the hardware that’s in place – it’s old, it should be upgraded and/or replaced, and it’s the county’s responsibility to take care of that. The equipment and software has already been stretched, and maximized, and utilized beyond what is typically acceptable in the IT world. For me, David Baggett is the expert in that field, so I’d trust his assessment since he works with the machines and network every day.

          • George Roger says:

            So does that mean that Windows XP and Office 2003 really don’t help the kids?

            My thought is that they take a tip from this publication — a hyper-inter-active letters to the editor within a wp template that is modeled after a newssheet.

            The kids could look into creating all manner of media. Have the kids spec and build their own IT infrastructure. Maybe get some business sponsors. Have them figure out where/how to get new computers n’ stuff. Maybe they’ll surprise us.

            I thought the munchman reference was to an old TV commercial about skillsets of a job applicant, no idear it was a real program.

          • Travis Goodwin says:

            It doesn’t seem, to me, that folks are forgetting that. You overlook, Don, that your former private school is a relatively small entity compared to the 1,200+ computers in the school division. So, a lease option thing here would be decidedly different to work out. There’s also the matter of following appropriate School Board policies for bringing in new equipment, etc. Not saying it’s out of the question, just that the mechanics of such a thing are a little more cumbersome than you saw in the private world.

            The simple fact is that IT investment, as with funding adequate salaries for the folks who work in our schools, drive the buses, and teach our kids, are the responsibility of the School Board and the Board of Supervisors. If there’s insufficient money coming in, then it would seem to be on the BoS to seek enhancements to the revenue stream to provide their proper share of that funding. If that means adjusting their stance on retail, or whatever, so be it. Quality – you get what you pay for.

            I’m not sure why you have this fixation on having folks put their names with their posts. Contrary to your belief up there in Bunker Hill, there are those in CC who do pay attention to the rational posts on here, name or no name. Those that smack of taunting, or of “throwing down the gauntlet,” get dismissed just as easily – name or no name.

          • You are correct Travis with respect to the scalability of lease arrangements, but I also spent thirty years working in VA public schools. I understand the struggle for school funding; twenty-two of those years were in Clarke. I can’t help but think that stuff like this are worth considering, especially if funding resources are limited and you want to chip away at the problem.

            As far as anonymity is concerned, I have my beliefs about what is right and you are certainly entitled to yours. It would seem that we agree to disagree.

            Btw, I don’t live in Bunker Hill. We’re right on the Virginia line sorta, just a couple of miles east of Ridgeway. 🙂

          • George Roger says:

            See, we can be creative and help our elected officials see our wisdom or feel our wrath at election time.

            How about part of the compensation for teachers being a type of ‘mortgage-assistance’ to reduce housing costs.

            Apparently we need to attract qualified teachers. I’m not sure about that as it seems like a lot of good local talent gets passed over, but that’s the story I’ve heard.

          • Travis Goodwin says:

            George, I think your idea, which seems to echo one Don put forth, has a lot of merit and is worth exploring. It’s an issue, not only for school employees who perhaps can’t afford to live in CC/Berryville, but also town and county employees, too. I don’t know what form or how much such an incentive would take, but it’s a good idea.

          • Wait a second, Don don’t you live in West Virginia? Why are you so worried about what happens in Clarke? [redacted]

          • Worried? No. Interested, yes.

            I worked for 22 years in CC public schools as a teacher and coach.

            My sister Jane did her first year of teaching in Clarke and was one of the 30,000 people who saw the famous extra point. 🙂

            My wife Nancy was born and raised in Berryville.

            Her father was a lifelong dairyman on their farm outside of White Post.

            Nancy is still technically a landowner since the family still owns some of the farmland.

            I have many close friends who live and work in Clarke.

            Your turn Frank.

    • George Roger says:

      oops, sorry, not sure what hijacking thread is or how to prevent it. Perhaps full-body scanning before we enter the conversation?? 😉

      Thank you so much for the links to the plan. I’ll read through them (probably not understand them) but then mouth off with an opinion anyway — maybe I should be in politics.

      Is Downtown bigger than I am understanding? Not sure how accommodating it would be to some of the expansions we’ve been yakking about.

  14. And we have to wonder if our public schools would improve (aside from quick fix tax increases imposed on residents) by simply electing BOS members who actually have school age children that attend our PUBLIC schools(?)

    • George Roger says:

      Actually, we should ask them, repeatedly, in public forums. “Why are your kids not going to CC schools again???” And then ask them again and again, and again. Maybe the shame gene would eventually kick in.

      Kinda like the President’s daughters going to Sidwell Friends. Wasn’t it the Romans that made their builders and engineers first over the new bridge?

  15. Just Curious.... says:

    Who is George Roger? And how long how you lived here in Berryville sir? Sounds like you are really trying to garner some attention to the business’s of Downtown. Well let me tell ya something. There are only 2 worth going down there for:
    Mario’s
    Berryville Grille

    The rest you can keep. I don’t know how else to think of a way for you to sell it to me…. Its not happening. A VAST AMOUNT OF MONEY will continue to flow into Frederick County and Winchester because the good ole boy network won’t let anything prosper in CC unless they already have a stake in it!!!!!!!!! Everyone knows this!!!!!!!

    • George Roger says:

      “Who is George Roger?” asks those Just Curious. I am a leaf on the wind. Watch me soar.

      Does it matter how long I’ve lived here? Do I become a Good Ole Boy after x amount of years?

      We are all in a connected environment. Money for public services comes from the public. The more money for those public services that come from commerce, (ideally) means less money from the taxpayer for those services.

      Putting money outside the county, gives the public service money to other areas outside the county. Kinda like buying stuff from China that is often sold at your concrete block buildings with sparkly fluorescent lights. (AKA Trade deficit)

      There are additional good restaurants in Berryville and in Clarke, well worth investigating or asking about.

      Nature abhors a vacuum, as the money flows out of the county, our businesses will be replaced with the kind of stores that stock K2 spice on the shelves.

      I’ve often wondered how our amazingly powerful city and county elders have amassed all the wealth and influence that allow them to so control and dictate so many things in our community. Feh, have you met these folks? Talk to them, there is no way on God’s green earth that they can be in it for the awesome power, the untold riches, the glory, public accolades, and anthems of joy.

      The elders of this city/county git’r done. Not always the best, not always the fastest, but they work with the community they’ve got, and we elect the government we deserve.

      Got better ideas? talk to folks, persuade them, run for office and put your self out there, make a difference…. Otherwise, you’ll always be, simply just curious.

      • Curious one..... says:

        Yup…. I have spoken to the powers to be on numerous occasions. Hey George, I was thinking about buying a new pair of work boots… Where do you pose I buy them?????? Family Dollar, or maybe one of the Goodwill stores… I think you see my drift…. The residents of Berryville are tired of driving to Winchester for everything, however, we have to…….

        • Well Curious, did you buy your work boots at Coiner’s Department Store before they went out of business or did you go to the sprawlmart? Coiners had your work boots, jeans, toys, etc. only on a smaller, and yes, more expensive scale. The simple fact is that we cannot support box stores, some of us don’t want that here, and local small town department stores cannot compete with them. Most people are going to drive to Winchester if it saves them a few cents. That is just the way it is, sad to say.

          Look at Middleburg, and The Plains, there are other small towns that work hard to keep their small town charm and are willing to do without the box stores that destroy that. Ultimately, we have to choose where we settle based on if the community suits our wants and needs or not. Winchester has all that stuff and is just down the road.

          • But then the problem is that our tax money that could go to our schools by supporting local businesses, goes to Frederick County and/or Winchester. So the only way to raise the revenue to pay our teachers a competitive salary is to tax the residents more.

          • That’s right RW.

            I, for one, find the lifestyle here *worth* paying for. Before you jump to the conclusion that this is because money is no problem for me, I am considered lower to mid income and I do not own lots of land or livestock. I do pay property tax though.

            Schools now or jail later – you decide. Why is it no one complains when we are building jails?

          • I think I understand your point of view, Ann. I too am not rich, but I would be agreeable to paying higher taxes to keep teachers salaries competitive. Other folks don’t want their taxes raised, so the only option is to have more businesses in our county to help relieve the tax burden on us. The problem is, the BOS and Town Council won’t do either.

        • Not all residents of B-ville are tired of driving to Winchester occasionally. It’s nice not to have all the fluff around. And “NO” higher taxes are not a solution.
          There is something you can do if you are tired of driving to Winchester.

          Also, you could have a pair of boots made at the leather shop.
          :O

          • Curious one..... says:

            I think your post speaks for itself! Have a pair made…. WOW….
            And Jim, how long you been here? The only people that want to keep this place an antique town is the people who recently moved here…. To me, your opinion don’t count…..

          • Like I stated before…the one’s that are against the box stores,McDonalds,and CVS…would be the first one’s knocking down the doors to get in…(so they could save a dollar)

          • Sorry, not me Fly. And Curious has shown her(his) true colors with the come here vs been here thang. It is the opposite though in my experience. It is usually the new folks that want to bring that stuff with them.

          • George Roger says:

            Maybe not as fancy as if they were made, but I bet you could special order a pair.

            I guess the question boils down to immediate gratification vs. local support.

            I can buy the pharmacist need as medicines are an immediate gratification thing.

    • “Well let me tell ya something. There are only 2 worth going down there for:
      Mario’s Berryville Grille”

      You’re opinion, fwiw. I really have to wonder what attracted you to
      Berryville, Just Curious.

      • Curious one..... says:

        Born and raised here Ann. And yes I do remember Coiners. I actually remembering renting video games there as a kid. Who says we cannot support box stores?????? The people who have lived here there whole life know that it can work. Not just the people relocating from Loudoun County, looking for somewhere to setup a horse farm…..

        • Curious one asked: “Who says we cannot support box stores??????”

          The box stores.

          If Clarke were in the demo coveted by Lowes, et al., the store(s) would already be here imho. Change the county Master Plan and you could conceivably change the profile of Clarke enough to attract the big box you want and change life as you know it.

          • Curious one..... says:

            I beg to differ. The reason these stores aren’t here are because of the good ole boy network. Come on Don, you been around long enough to see….

          • I can agree with you on the fact that we can’t support any large Box type stores….but I’ll disagree with anyone all day long….that says we can’t support a new/better fast food chain or a nice CVS/Walgreens. Just what is your reasoning for thinking that Clarke/Berryville can’t support these stores?

          • Just look at where they set up shop. How many other communities of 3500 +/- can you find them in? Even bigger $$ places like M’burg.

            I realize we are not M’burg or The Plains but what is wrong with aiming for a certain level of class and uniqueness. Everyone in those places is not rich either, but they appreciate a high quality of life that does not involve lights and chain stores.

            Look at Berkeley Springs, WV. A sweet, quaint little town with a lot to offer, destroyed by the tasteless development on the southern edge. It is called PLANNING. I would hate to see Berryville become one more statistic.

            Ask yourself not “how long have I been here”, but “how long will I be staying here” before you decide it is worth changing what here is.

          • Darren "Fly" Lambert says:

            I don’t think we’re talking about a whole face-lift for Clarke Co….Just a few simple things that are long overdue!

          • Exactly Fly, I consider myself on the side of slow growth, I came here 10 years ago from Leesburg and had lived there over 10 years. I moved here because of what happened to Leesburg. BUT, I do know that some growth is necessary in order to help offset the tax burden on the residents and at the same time, provide needed goods or services. There would be no harm in bringing in another grocery store, a more convenient pharmacy, a place or two for shoes, clothing, maybe even a place with better hours where you can get a hair cut. I think we have enough convenience stores, gas stations, auto parts and don’t need fast food or another Wal-Mart. And there is plenty of land right around Rt 7 to support this. And we all know the traffic volume on Rt 7 could and would attract the stores. The problem I saw with Leebsurg is they opened the flood gates but didn’t put enough restrictions in place beforehand to stop or slow the growth when needed. So, it became a legal nightmare as developers started suing the town under the grounds of letting in one developer but not the other. There really is going to be no other way to generate enough revenue here. Our population growth will be stagnant for a while if not negative due to the economy. I think housing development has run it’s course.

        • Well I am not born and raised here but I have been here long enough to know I like it this way. If a Target or Walmart is what I want (or CVS or whatever) it is all right down the road. It is 10 minutes to CVS and not much further to Martins.

          • Darren "Fly" Lambert says:

            I think you are losing the focus here…in which a lot of us probably have. It’s about tax revenue and how to help relieve the low-mid income families from always feeling the brunt of anything that needs to be built here.

      • Maybe I shop for different items than most people that live in Berryville…but for most part I’d say I’m just your average Joe…so with that being determined…just what types of stores are there in Berryville that might fit the shopping needs for your “average Joe”?

        I can think of about 3 or 4 that might be useful to me….Radio Shack,Dollar General Store, Family Dollar, and possibly Fishers Auto.

  16. I, like many others I know, often stop in Purcellville on my way home from work to shop at Giant and CVS, because I simply don’t want to travel into Winchester, and I think the local Food Lion is a joke when it comes to serious shopping. If Berryville had one of these such stores, you would find that many would stop on their way home, down Rt. 7, to shop in our small town instead of dealing with the congestion in Winchester. But then again, how can we ever get something like this when the local officials are more concerned about protecting the current merchants than they are listening to their constituents.

    • George Roger says:

      You know, I’ve been here well over 10 years and I can’t figure out how the local merchant-industrial complex manages to out vote the constituents. Perhaps it’s all the high dollar campaigns that have bought elections. Or maybe Clarke County voters are more easily fooled by the fast-talking merchants and slick politicians?

      We seem to have a good crop of Supervisors (and I like mine, but not some of the others), they all seem to have the support of their constituencies, do you really think that they are blocking affordable convenient shopping of goods and service? To what end?

  17. Just a thought says:

    I can’t believe that Foccacio’s has not been mentioned as one of the best places in Berryville to eat, even more than the Berryville Grille. And with regards to growth and development, I don’t understand why the county can’t solicit certain retailers that would reflect the economic climate of the town and county to come in and build stores that would look and feel appropriate. As someone who grew up in the suburb conglomerate of D.C. and Baltimore I really appreciate the rural feel of the county, but I believe that you can look towards appropriate and appreciated growth. Why does Disney’s town Celebration come to mind? I am not saying that we should bring in Disney, but there is a perspective and there could be guidelines that could be developed so that the county and Berryville maintain its character.

  18. Tony Parrott says:

    I would like to think that if the answer to funding the needs of the county were easy it would have been solved but it’s not an easy answer.
    Now I’m no expert on the matter of how to diversify the tax base of a small county but her is my take for anyone who cares. The county needs to fund the services that we the residents depend on but may not all use. That’s education, fire/rescue, police and a host of other services that we are required or mandated to do. This is all done through TAX revenue; that’s a tall order for a county of 15,000+.
    So what do we have to work with:
    Local Revenue of $21M (76% from – $12M real estate taxes, $3M personal property and $762K sales and use)
    State Revenue of $12.9M ($7.3M for schools)
    Federal Revenue of $1.6M ($1M for schools)
    So what’s my point? If we need help it’s not coming from Richmond or Washington. We have to help ourselves. Right now local, state and federal budgets are shrinking, well not federal they seem to always find a way to spend money, but you get my drift.
    I see only two ways to increase tax revenue in Clarke County; real estate taxes or business taxes. Real estate taxes are a sore subject so let’s look at businesses. To me adding a business that essentially eats another business isn’t going to significantly increase revenues. We need something different. I think we need to generate revenue from what I will call “visitor tax”; commuters and tourist. Let’s concentrate on things that bring people to Clarke so they can spend their money then go home. This won’t be easy or quick but imagine what another few million $$$ could do for the county and our schools right now.
    I hope someone is listening.

  19. Let me boil this down for folks from the perspective of a person that was born and raised in Clarke but who also left for 25 years to serve our country.

    When I was growing up, Clarke County was booooring. Couldn’t wait to leave. In fact, when I went to the recruiter I told him “If you can get me out of here in a month, I’m yours”. The recruiter asked if I was running from the law and I said, “No, I’m running form a small town”. I’m sure it’s no different for kids in Clarke County today. There’s a whole big world out there that isn’t boring.

    It took a few years for me to realize that almost every kid in every town in America thinks their hometown is lame. I’ve met people from Alaska to Arkansas to New York and it was all the same story. All the action was happening somewhere else. I guess it’s all part of growing up.

    But something strange happened over the years. The longer I was away, the less lame Clarke County seemed. Especially in light of what I had seen in my travels. True poverty. True lameness. People without even a pot to piss in. Literally. Crime in the bigger cities.

    And as I became a parent and started watching my kids grow, I started thinking that the place I ran from really wasn’t that bad at all. I remember growing up being able to walk the streets and ride our bikes , even at night, and not having to worry about pervs or dope dealers or being shot. Didn’t even cross my mind. I remember starting kindergarten and graduating with the same people, most of whom I remain friends with to this day. We didn’t have the nicest school, but we didn’t know any better either. And it worked out just fine for most of us, even without the college programs and all the extras that are available now. We played sports and hung out with friends and goofed off like all kids do, and most of us turned out OK. All of that was a large part of my formative years and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

    And sure the county has problems, to include the good ol’ boys and a host of other issues. But let me clue you in on something.

    Every place has problems.

    Even when I was stationed in Hawaii, a virtual paradise, they had their problems. Get outside the tourist façade that everyone thinks of when they think of Hawaii, and you’ll find that among other things they have a huge meth problem, schools there are underfunded and almost Third World in nature. The list goes on and on. And kids there think it’s lame too. In other words, the palm trees are not always greener.

    But all in all, I’ll say that a lot of folks don’t realize how good they have it in Clarke. It was nice to come home on leave and have people remember your name. Have people stop and talk to you. Intangibles like that are the exception, not the rule in this world.

    And yes, it’d be nice to have a big, shining primo school and world class teachers, but the county just isn’t geared that way for the reasons that have been hashed over in this thread.

    But in every situation in life, there’s a choice. You either do what you can to make the situation better, or you turn around and walk away.

    For those of you that want WalMarts and KMarts and all that other stuff I ask you, “Really?” Have you not seen the goatrope that is Winchester on a Saturday morning? Can you imagine that traffic in Berryville? I mean all that stuff is just 20 minutes up the road. Isn’t nice after getting mixed up in that zoo to come back to someplace that’s peaceful?

    Once you start down that slippery slope, all that you know will be gone forever.

    I’ve seen first hand towns like Berryville in similar situations. Mt Home Idaho didn’t even have a Mickey D’s when I got there in the early 90’s. Now it has all the stuff people wish for and the place is a zoo. Biloxi Ms was a backwater burg that brought in casinos. Sure the schools are well funded now, but along with the casinos came crime and corruption. Sleepy Goldsboro NC brought in Lowes and Home Depot and every restaurant known to mankind.Aand now it’s chaos on the roads.

    Be careful what you wish for. Especially when you have it 20 minutes up the road

    Now, with that said, there certainly is some room for compromise IMO. Heck, I was saying 25 years ago that they needed a company like Micky D’s, someplace where kids could work and the county could levy taxes, but would not draw people from across the region to move here. There has been movement in that area, but it’s been in Waterloo instead of town.

    A large number of people (myself included) drive right by town on the way home at night. As someone mentioned, it’d be nice to have a store to stop in on the way to Winchester to pick up certain items. A larger Food Lion or like store with a pharmacy would be nice. And I suspect that if that pharmacy had longer hours, the downtown merchants would likely expand their hours to compete. Or not. But it would be up to them.

    As for funding the teachers, one option that I’ve seen at several locations is have the parents of kids that use the schools pay slightly more in taxes as long as their kids go there. Just an idea. People have no problem shipping their kids off the private schools and shelling out those bucks. But they don’t want ot pay more for public schools

    Most importantly, get up and do something. I know everyone is busy nowadays, but voting doesn’t take that much effort. If you don’t like the people that are running things, vote them out or better yet, run yourself. Do something besides whine on a message board.

    But please, whatever you do, THINK before you vote and before you lose something that a lot of you don’t realize you have.

    • Word.

      Especially …

      “As for funding the teachers, one option that I’ve seen at several locations is have the parents of kids that use the schools pay slightly more in taxes as long as their kids go there. Just an idea.”

      And it’s a good one.

    • Sarge – I take back everything I have ever said about you. The Winchester Star can bring out the worst in a person. SO well said. This ought to be a stand alone editorial.

      • Oh, don’t go all mushy on me Jennifer, just because I have a soft spot for my hometown. I’m still about as right wing extremist as you can get;)

        But thanks for the compliment anyway:)

  20. Does anybody still have one of those bumper stickers from the 80’s that said “Don’t Loudoun Clarke”? There was also some before that, that said “Don’t Fairfax Loudoun”.
    Well, we all know how things turned out in Loudoun, but Clarke is still holding on.

  21. Lynette Brondstater-Carlisle says:

    How about a …….Cupcake Shoppe!!