#IamFCPS Born Out of Community Budget Cuts Concerns
The idea for #IamFCPS grew out of a PTA meeting at Lake Anne Elementary School on November 11, 2015, the day after the Budget Task Force issued its list of recommended cuts to the FCPS budget. Suzanne Zurn agreed to lead the educational effort to engage Lake Anne families on the impact of a less than fully funded FCPS budget. That evening a Facebook page was launched and within a few hours, the page was liked by more than 100 people. Two days later Lake Anne parents setup an #IamFCPS table at the school’s annual Bingo Night to start spreading awareness of the budget issue. They distributed flyers in English and Spanish, took pictures of supporters in a photo frame, had a poster petition for kids to sign, and provided signs for selfie posts to social media.
Within three days of launching, the Facebook group grew to 500 with likes and messages of support from throughout Fairfax County.
In week two, a group of concerned parents united under the #IamFCPS banner and formed the leadership team for the grassroots campaign. The Change.org Fully Fund FCPS petition created by Rachel Stott in 2014 was a key part of the consolidation of community support effort.
Since the campaign launched, the #IamFCPS movement has helped educate the community about the budget situation and raise their voices in support of investing in kids by fully funding FCPS. We led two large community rallies that generated significant media attention, facilitating more than 50,000 emails, phone calls, and tweets sent to county and state elected officials, dozens of meetings with elected officials and testimony delivered, and countless presentations to local groups. We helped generate crowds to fill public meeting rooms, garnered media coverage on all four local news networks and other press, and raised awareness everywhere.
In 2016, FCPS was not gutted as expected. The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors raised the personal property tax rate to generate more revenue for our schools. However, continuing to raise taxes is not a long-term solution. #IAmFCPS keeps working to create collaborations that fix the broken school budget process.