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Opinion

Sheetz zoning reversal: ‘Slimy politics’ & the monetization of Warren County

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The following members of the Board of Supervisors don’t care what their constituents think:

  • Tony Carter, Happy Creek District
  • Cheryl Cullers, South River District
  • Delores Oates, North River District

Tonight they voted to allow for a rezoning so that Sheetz can build a “convenience store” at Exit 13 right at the entrance to Apple Mountain Lake. They voted it down in February and Mr. Carter (who is actually supposed to represent us) actually brought it up for a re-vote even though he voted it down in February under the pretense of a “bus stop”. This was not about a bus stop. This was about money pure and simple.

Shame on them for voting for the destruction of the character of Linden. The community overwhelming showed them that we didn’t want it but they didn’t listen. Money trumps caring about people it seems.

So, your first sight into coming in Warren County from 66 – a Sheetz. I hope you didn’t build out here to get away from commercialism or to live in the country! The Board of Supervisors has stripped both those hopes away tonight.

Just more slimy politics folks. Nothing to see here, move along.

Bob Hicks
Apple Mtn., Linden

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Opinion

Response to ‘Open Letter to Warren County voters…’

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The writers assert the reason for the relatively high percentage of private and home-schooled children in the community are generally failing standards in state and this county’s public school systems. This assertion ignores the impact of a half century of location of private, Catholic educational institutions into this community, prominent among those Christendom College, Chelsea Academy and Seton Home School. Those institutions, among others like Human Life International, have been followed into this community by an expanding Catholic population of a generally conservative outlook, an outlook that might blur the Constitutionally mandated separation of church and state for some.

Many families within that community have their own preference for a religiously based education for their children, regardless of the quality of the public school system here. Add the even longer-standing private school option of Air Force Junior ROTC and Methodist-sponsored Randolph-Macon Academy, now at the middle and high school levels, and you have an even greater private school alternative to public education in this community that predates current debates over educational and social policies and standards.

Whether one receives a better quality education publicly, privately, or in the home is matter of opinion and debate that will reflect the perspectives – religious, social and political – of the involved parties, as Mr. Waller’s and Lundberg’s letter illustrates. But leaving relevant facts out of the debate to promote one’s opinion as factual analysis is too often a symptom of advocacy, as opposed to objective exploration of the topic under scrutiny.

Roger Bianchini
Royal Examiner Editorial Board member

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Opinion

Setting the Record Straight Re: School Budgets

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On October 19, the Royal Examiner published an open letter from two concerned citizens regarding their opinion that the entire Warren County School Board needs to be replaced. Many things were said in that letter to which a person might choose to respond, but one thing, in particular, stood out to me: “…it costs $64 million annually to educate 4,958 students in the Warren County Public School (WCPS).  That means Warren County taxpayers are paying almost $13,000 to educate one public school student a year.  That seems excessive!”

Is $13,000 per student excessive? I decided to compare some numbers to find out.

Firstly, as reported by the Royal Examiner on May 6 of this year, the budget approved for 2021-22 was $63,944,829. Divided across 4,958 students, that would be $12,897 per student.

The national average for public school spending is $12,612 per student. This is a difference of $285. Put another way, Warren County spends 2.25% more per student than the national average.

Excessive, indeed.

Ah, but excess is not determined solely by the grand total. We could spend a fraction of this budget, and if it was allocated poorly (spent frivolously to paint fences, perhaps) then it could still be considered excessive. The website for Warren County Public Schools helpfully has a link to the full budget; on page three, we can see that 76.31% of the budget ($48.8 million) is explicitly allocated for instruction.

Is that excessive?

Also interesting to note, near the end of the Warren County Public Schools budget (on page 38), the School Board has helpfully compared Warren County’s per-student spending to the state average. Since 2017, Warren County Public Schools has consistently spent almost $2,000 less per student than Virginia’s average.

Is it excessive to have a budget in line with the national average, a budget BELOW the state average, with almost all of the budgeted funds being explicitly directed to educating our children?

I suppose we will learn what the people think on November 2.

Joe Plemmons
Front Royal, Virginia

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Grateful classroom grandparents endorse Melanie Salins, Stephanie Short and Al Gunn for Warren County School Board

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As grandparents and residents of Warren County, we are grateful to have Melanie Salins (North River District), Stephanie Short (Happy Creek), and Al Gunn (write-in candidate Fork District) running for the Warren County School Board.

They are all parents, and teachers with varied teaching experience who genuinely care about students’ welfare, what is being taught to school age children, and all that pertains to what is in their best interest.

These individuals are strong supporters and advocates for parental involvement in their children’s education. A primary heart-felt desire of theirs is to listen to, empower, and engage parents in discussions addressing curriculum concerns.

These candidates understand that parents know their children the best, and are the first and primary educators of their children.

We strongly encourage you to cast your votes on November 2nd for Melanie Salins, Stephanie Short and Al Gunn.

Sincerely,

Tim and Jean Hart
Warren County, Virginia

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An open-letter to Warren County voters: Elect an entirely new school board as soon as possible

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Dear Warren County voters:

We, the two undersigned members of Front Royal, want a clean sweep of the Warren County School Board members as soon as possible.  We desperately need new ideas on the board — from individuals willing to stand up and fight against:

  • “Critical race theory” is being taught in our public schools.
  • Current transgendered-bathroom and locker room policies.
  • Attempts to eliminate gifted programs by stressing “equity” in public education.
  • Inappropriate sexual material in library books.
  • An inflated school budget
  • The failure to recognize parents as the “primary educators of children” — not the State Board of Education or teachers unions.

The current school board seems unable to deal effectively with these problems.

Warren County parents are shocked when they learn that it costs $64 million annually to educate 4,958 students in the Warren County Public School (WCPS).  That means Warren County taxpayers are paying almost $13,000 to educate one public school student a year.  That seems excessive!

Warren County parents are also shocked when they learn the high percentage of school-age children in Warren County that are attending — not public schools — but home schools, private schools, or religious schools.  The figure is about 23 percent.   That means that almost a quarter of the school-age children in Warren County have been pulled from public schools by their parents.  Parents say the primary reasons they have taken this action are:

  • Falling academic standards — especially the ability to read, write, and think logically.
  • State mandates
  • Classroom discipline problems.
  • Failure of local schools to recognize that parents are the primary educators of children — not the State Board of Education or teachers unions.

Parents tell us they simply are not satisfied with the product local public schools are producing.  Reading and math scores are simply unacceptable.

Warren County voters will go to the polls on November 2nd to elect three new school board members.  To learn more about the candidates running for the three seats, we strongly recommend you watch the Royal-Examiner-filmed forum, held at St. John’s Catholic Church on October 1st, which is available online.

Click here to get to the filmed forum.

The candidates who attended the forum said it was a very fair, bipartisan, and well-organized event.

Two candidates — both of them endorsed by the education establishment — dropped out of the forum at the last minute after initially telling the Catholic organizers of the event they would be pleased to participate.  Their empty seats were noted by many of the 250 people who attended the forum.

In summary, we strongly encourage all Warren County citizens to vote on November 2nd — but not for a candidate endorsed by the education establishment.  We don’t need any more “education insiders” — like Terry McAuliffe — representing Warren County parents and taxpayers on our school board.

Remember what McAuliffe said on September 28th in a debate with his GOP opponent for governor, Glenn Youngkin: “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.” 

McAuliffe could not have been more wrong.

He obviously doesn’t realize that the state is not the primary educator of children — parents are!

Sincerely,

Ralph Waller, local business owner
Colonel John Lundberg, U.S. Army (retired), Front Royal resident

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Political ideology or educational background and common sense for North River School Board seat?

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Despite other candidates, and their preferred party falsehoods and tactics being pilfered, in apparent desperate attempts for votes to their failing campaigns, I continue to be thankful for the conservative, independent, classy and coherent approach which Angela Robinson continues to apply towards her campaign for School Board for the North River District of Warren County, VA.

Angela is a true educator, with a college degree (in education at that), a mother, wife, former local public school educator, current public school administrator, all while maintaining her strong conservative fiscal, social and common sense approach to education.

Angela, truly, understands the frustrations of Richmond and Washington.  She has the understanding and means (that are, actually, legal and practical) in how to address Supreme Court decisions on public education, as opposed to wasting taxpayer time and money on certain lawsuit failures, further disrupting the free and appropriate public education that all children are entitled to.

Angela trusts our teachers and administrators to do their jobs, while not shying away from asking, NOR ANSWERING, tough questions, and demanding accountability.  She won’t “block” you for asking her a tough question, or for disagreeing with her.  She will graciously seek to understand you, your thoughts and concerns.

Despite her conservative and Christian values, Angela understands the constitution, how it applies to education, and will maintain a common sense approach, to ensure that “all” children in Warren County (to include our most impoverished) will be treated with the same dignity and respect that she would desire for herself.

You will never hear Angela refer to children she has never met as “confused and misguided”.  Angela will, actually, get to know the young people of her district, and our county, as opposed to tossing out ignorant, confused and misguided statements, just to make a political establishment and their cultist juice drinkers happy.

In the end, if being conservative matters to you, Angela Robinson is your best bet.  If having someone with the proper education and credentials to insist on success, and actually possess the credentials to make it happen, Angela Robinson is your best bet.  Finally, if you want someone who will truly look out for the educational, emotional and social needs of your child, as opposed to seemingly trying to gain some form of political power, only to put our county on the road to lawsuits and failure, Angela Robinson is the clear choice for the North River District of Warren County, Virginia School Board.

Brought to you by an Independent Conservative resident, who thinks for himself, applies common sense to the realities of life, and refuses to drink the juice of a local political Cult.

Michael S. Williams
North River District Resident
Lifelong Advocate for Youth
Town of Front Royal, VA

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A grateful classroom parent endorses Angie Robinson’s bid for the Warren County School Board

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When my daughter went into fourth grade, I was recovering from cancer. After five treasured years spent homeschooling, our family needed to change plans. I was extremely nervous about putting my sweet girl into public school with all of the social challenges and my perception of how things would look for her as a dyslexic learner – already disadvantaged in the classroom.

We are forever grateful that her 4th-grade teacher was Angie Robinson. Angie is an extremely gifted teacher. She was able to set my child at ease, understand her learning style, and most importantly, Angie was able to communicate with me, the parent, with understanding, kindness, and respect.

Educating our children right now is a big job. One that is mired in social and health issues, while the actual business of educating seems to take a back seat. As a parent I can say truthfully that I do not care about the noise — I want my children well-loved and well-educated.

Angie Robinson is the kind of educator who can restore trust between families and teachers in our public education system; the kind of communicator who can speak with knowledge about the kind of resources needed in the classroom while leaving the partisan politicking in the parking lot, and the kind of advocate who can see Warren County schools and students thrive.

Angie has the experience to know that what matters to families is that children learn to read, and aspire to great heights in their lives, wherever their educational journey takes them. As a grateful classroom parent and now as a friend, I am proud to endorse Angie Robinson’s bid for the Warren County School Board.

Natalie Erdossy
Warren County

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