Reasons to Oppose the Fairfax 2023 $435M School Bond Referendum

Arthur Purves | Purves for Chairman

1) Fairfax County will spend $100M on bond interest this year. That adds $230 to the average real estate tax bill. 

2) Bonds encourage excessive spending. For example, since 1994 the county and schools have spent $360M (plus interest) on four projects that were so controversial that the supervisors were afraid to put them up to referenda:  

a. The 1994 purchase of the Herrity and Pennino buildings ($117M) 

b. the 2003 construction of the South County High School ($55M) 

c. the 2005 purchase of the schools’ Gatehouse Administration Building ($61M) 

d. the 2014 acquisition of the new public safety building ($127M). 

The supervisors bypassed referenda by having the Economic Development Authority sell the bonds as  “revenue bonds.” Revenue bonds are normally used to finance projects that earn money through fees,  such as toll roads. However, these EDA revenue bonds are paid off from our taxes, just like bonds that are  approved by referenda. This should be illegal

Also, the county did not do a study to compare the cost of a new public safety building with the cost of  renovating one of the many abandoned office buildings. 

3) Most years the revenue from bond sales was about the same as the debt service. See green and blue bars  in the chart below. Interest is only justified when you need more money than you have.

4) The Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) Capital Improvement Plan shows no evidence of frugality in designing renovations and new buildings. The word “frugal” does not appear in the 288-page FCPS Capital  Improvement Plan. 

5) The FCPS ending balance has increased from $140M in FY2018 to $331M in FY2023, even though it had  8,000 fewer students. That’s a $190M increase that should have been returned to the taxpayer but failing  that, could have been spent on renovations and construction instead of selling bonds. 

6) The schools have $519M in authorized but unissued bonds and sell about $200M a year. Even if this referendum is not approved, FCPS has enough unissued bonds for the next two years. 

In short, 1) the county has bypassed bond referenda for controversial projects, 2) the schools have $190  million extra dollars, and 3) interest on bonds adds over $200 to the average real estate tax bill.

Arthur Purves, a retired computer programmer, is the Fairfax GOP nominee for chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. This article was first published by on September 1, 2023.

Share This Article:

Newsletter Signup

Sign up to be the first to receive news and events from Fairfax GOP!
Electing Republicans At Every Level


Powered by VOTEGTR

2024 U.S. Senate & Congressional Primary

GOP Primary Election Day is Tuesday, June 18

Election Calendar

  • Early voting opens 5/3
  • 5/28 – Deadline to register to vote (otherwise, same-day registration with provisional ballot)
  • 6/7 – Deadline to apply for an absentee ballot​
  • 6/8 - One of two Saturdays open for early voting, and additional early voting locations open.
  • Early Voting ends 6/15
  • 6/18 – Election Day

We need you on our team in '24.

Get active in the effort to take back Fairfax County from the progressives hellbent on raising taxes, coddling criminals, and socializing public schools.
First things first. Are you receiving info about local GOP events and elections?

No problem. We can fix that right now.

Thanks. We won’t overload your inbox, but we will keep you in the loop on important Fairfax GOP info and events.

Do you want to recieve news of events via text msg?
By providing your phone number, you are consenting to receive recurring calls and SMS/MMS campaign and donation messages, including autodialed and automated calls and texts to that number from the Fairfax County Republican Committee. Msg & data rates may apply. You agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Text HELP for help and STOP to stop. Msg & data rates may apply.

The Fairfax GOP is recruiting new members who agree we need to draw a line in the sand and take our county back from the progressives.

Would you consider joining the Fairfax GOP as a voting member so you can have your say on committee business, candidates, and policy resolutions?*
No thanks. Take me back to the Fairfax GOP home page.