Falls Church Wins $3 Million Bond for TJ Expansion


March 3, 2011

The Virginia Department of Education has awarded Falls Church a $3 million Qualified School Construction Bond (QSCB) to expand Thomas Jefferson Elementary School.  QSCBs provide near zero interest construction loans to local school districts across the United States.  Falls Church was one of only 33 school divisions in Virginia to secure awards in the $229 million round.

“We are thrilled by and grateful for the state’s decision,” said School Board Chair Joan Wodiska.  “A year from now, Thomas Jefferson Elementary School will hit capacity.  Our City needed the tremendous financial opportunity and assistance afforded through a QSCB to meet growing student populations, create a 21st century learning community, and eliminate trailers.”

The award will help ensure that the City will have adequate school facilities capable of providing a world-class education to every student.  The QSCB will save taxpayers approximately $1.3 million in interest charges, compared to a similar project funded through traditional municipal bond efforts.

FCCPS’ winning application focuses on:

>  Right-sizing the Thomas Jefferson cafeteria so it meets the needs of the City’s growing student population;
>  Adding 12 new classrooms to the current facility;
>  Removing trailers from the current TJ site;
>  Providing wireless Internet at TJ, while also providing free Wi-Fi to low-income students to support learning outside of the school building.

“By working together – the School Board, the City Council, the Planning Commission, and the Long Range Financial Advisory Group – produced a decisive victory for City residents,” Ms. Wodiska said.  “The School Board’s strong leadership to secure this QSCB award demonstrates our firm commitment to be effective stewards of both our children’s education and our City’s dollars.  I am proud of our work and deeply grateful for everyone’s contribution to produce this community victory.”

Since the full amount requested ($5.95 million) was not awarded, the Board, Council and Planning Commission will need to discuss how to supplement the QSCB award to achieve a project that addresses the capacity needs at TJ Elementary.  Detailed planning for the TJ expansion project will begin immediately.  School officials expect construction to be completed for the start of the 2013-2014 school year.

March 3, 2011 


11 Responses to “Falls Church Wins $3 Million Bond for TJ Expansion”

  1. TFC on March 3rd, 2011 2:50 pm

    Great news.

  2. Karen Hoofnagle Falls Church City on March 3rd, 2011 3:53 pm

    This is wonderful, but without full grant-based financing, will we still be able to proceed on a time frame that completes with readiness for the 2013-2014 school year?

  3. Karen Hoofnagle Falls Church City on March 3rd, 2011 4:00 pm

    Also, apropos of nothing, given the quantity and kind of comments you guys get on controversial topics, you should look into implementing comment threading.

    It might make some discussions a bit more coherent. (And please note, I’m always glad to read those discussions.)

    I don’t know if this wordpress plugin is your answer or not, but it’s worth thinking about.


  4. Mike Smith, Falls Church on March 3rd, 2011 4:53 pm

    It’s good to see the Schools will be getting some cheap money to work on Thomas Jefferson. That may be the first good news we have gotten in a long while.

    While I have the floor: what the heck is “comment threading?”

  5. Ed Strait on March 4th, 2011 1:24 am

    This is a real coup for the City of Falls Church.

    Our gratitude goes to the CBC-nominated and citizen-elected School Board, led by Chair Joan Wodiska and Vice Chair Patricik Riccards. Their diligence pays off. Falls Church taxpayers are the real winners.

  6. Karen Hoofnagle Falls Church City on March 4th, 2011 1:02 pm

    Mike, comment threading is a comments-management design where a person can reply to a particular comment instead of just commenting at the bottom of the list of comments.

    If the FCTimes used it, I could reply to your question in such a way that my reply would fall just below your question and someone could expand or shrink the “thread” of discussion to see as much or as little as is desired. It would make comments behave more like a discussion board. What they have now works ok, but with some articles getting dozens of comments and those comments often constituting conversations, making it possible to group them topically would be a bonus.

  7. Mike Smith, Falls Church on March 4th, 2011 2:15 pm


    Thanks for the definition. There is another news source in Falls Church that does that and it makes keeping the comments straight much easier. Great suggestion.

  8. Lou Mauro on March 4th, 2011 4:26 pm

    So Ed, should the CBC also get credit for the budget deficits and layoffs, fiscal “surprises,” teacher discipline brouhaha, overcrowded classrooms, zoning disputes, water litigation disaster, and affordable housing mess, just to name a few? Just asking. Yo.

  9. Karen Hoofnagle Falls Church City on March 4th, 2011 4:31 pm

    Now that you mention it, Mike, that other news source *does* use threaded comments.

  10. Richard Sommerfeld on March 4th, 2011 6:16 pm

    Congratulations to the School Board! Well done…and thanks for the teamwork which contributed to this victory for our students.

  11. Dave Witzel, Falls Church City on March 5th, 2011 5:48 pm

    Thanks for the suggestion Karen. Let me check it out and see how hard to migrate over.

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