Opinion: Council candidate Scott Gordon: ACPS budget needs work


To the editor:

The following open letter was addressed to members of the school board, superintendent, ACPS central office staff, teachers and residents of Alexandria.

My name is Scott Gordon, and I write this today not as a candidate for Alexandria City Council but as a husband, father and concerned resident.

I’d like to make just a few comments regarding the proposed fiscal year 2013 budget cuts as they’re related to a number of expenditure increases directed to the superintendent’s office.

I fear with these cuts, ACPS may be slowly moving our already financially and physically strained school system backward. The proposed cuts to special education staff limit the potential learning opportunities of children with more complicated learning needs. The elimination of a visiting science teacher position weakens an already, statistically, weak area of study in Alexandria and limits the exciting and energizing engagement between students and the subject. The 10-percent decrease in funding for extended learning opportunities does just that — decreases additional learning opportunities for students and adults of all ages. The budget stagnancy for ELL teachers is going to hurt the learning potential of the many Alexandrians who enter our school system having English as a second language.

Cuts and budget stagnancy can sometimes be explained by fiscal trouble on a citywide level. However, these cuts have been suggested alongside a number of increases I believe are without merit, and these include nearly $222,000 in budget expenditure increases specifically designed for the ACPS Office of the Superintendent.

Now is not the time for raises; now is not the time to employ assistants for assistants while we cut teaching and staff positions at 54 percent of our middle schools.

Responsible spending should be the idea of the day.

Every available cent should be allocated toward the future of the children sitting in our school’s classrooms and those that shortly will. With all due respect, this budget is representative of a future of mediocrity for our schools and, I for one, refuse to accept mediocrity when it comes to our children’s education.

I hope you’ll consider my words and look carefully at the budget as you work toward its approval.

– Scott Gordon
Candidate for Alexandria City Council



  1. Mr. Gordon: What is your opinion of Superintendent Mort Sherman and his actions as head of ACPS? What do you think of his salary of $250,000 per annum? (By way of comparison, the Governor of VIrginia makes $175,000 per year salary.)

  2. Hi Gail,

    I have to admit I am not the most qualified person to speak about Dr. Sherman and his history with ACPS but, I can speak to what I’ve seen and what I have spoken out against.

    It is my opinion that Dr. Sherman sees ACPS as a business model where the “Brass” get paid first and the resource or product (the children) are tended to second.

    Any Superintendent that is willing to make cuts to a school system that will negatively affect the children inside the schools – but then chooses to allocate a great deal of funds to his own office – has his priorities way out of whack.

    Additionally, I believe that FULL creation and oversight of the ACPS budget should be taken away from the Superintendent and School Board and should be a joint effort with the City Manager and City Council as well so as to prevent mis-use of funds and poor resource allocation.