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Top Stories and 
News Briefs

Update: GFCA Board Reiterates its Request for a Pause in
School Redistricting Policy Revision Process

On June 24, the GFCA submitted a second letter to the Fairfax County School Board requesting a pause in their action to allow for community engagement and information sharing concerning School Boundary Adjustment Policy 8130 under review.  The Board has not paused the action thus far and a draft policy was approved by the School Board’s Governance Committee and discussed during the full Board’s Work session on Tuesday, June 25.

At that meeting, several Fairfax County School Board members emphasized the need for more robust community engagement throughout the review of the boundary adjustment process.  School Board members also discussed the need to revise school boundaries and governance policies to address overcrowding, balancing enrollment, optimizing budget allocation, and ensuring equitable access to educational programs and resources.  Additionally, they considered proposed revisions to school board policies on student assignment, middle school education, school construction, and the need for a comprehensive review of school boundaries every five years to reflect demographic changes.  Finally, members highlighted the importance of equitable access to education programs, efficient resource allocation, and modernization of schools in Fairfax County.

School Board members were tasked to submit any proposed substantive changes to the boundary policy via the Board's "Next Steps" process.  Only one member, Dr. Ricardy Anderson (Mason District), submitted changes but those changes were subsequently removed by her.  The suggestions she previously submitted were:

  • enrollment/capacity should be added as a driver and considered first; to revise criteria for family involvement to include “caregivers”;
  • phasing should be “attrition” for Middle schools and High schools and phasing for elementary schools should be limited to K through 3; and, finally,
  •  that including language that delegation of implementation by the Superintendent is redundant.   

Because the foregoing suggestions were removed by Representative Anderson, and due to the fact that there were no other “Next Steps” submitted, the July 1 Governance Committee Meeting was cancelled.

The latest version of the draft policy will be noticed as New Business and attached to the July 11, 2024 Regular Meeting agenda of the School Board.  Formal School Board Action on this policy amendment is scheduled for July 18, 2024. 

During the June GFCA Executive Board Meeting its Special Committee on Schools (SCS) was re-activated.  The committee will be co-chaired by Ed Phillips and Jennifer Falcone.  They may be reached at    

In related action, following the June 11 GFCA Membership meeting, local residents formed a Facebook group FairFacts Matters to coordinate community efforts regarding school policy changes.  FairFACTS Matters is seeking community support and currently has a coordinated effort underway.  To learn what they are doing to protect our children and communities consider visiting stay connected with news as this matter progresses!  Like the GFCA’s efforts on several initiatives, they recognize this is a county-wide concern and have initiated a petition.  Read their information flyer here.

GFCA is continuing its efforts to share information and maintain liaison with this group of concerned residents through its Special Committee on Schools (SCS).  Committee meetings will be announced on the GFCA Event Calendar on the GFCA Homepage

Read the GFCA letter here.

Policy documents under review by the School Board along with GFCA correspondence on the subject and information are posted here and on the Great Falls Resources Page on the Green bar at the top of this page.

GFCA Board Requests Pause in
School Redistricting Policy Revision Process

(June 17, 2024)  Over the Weekend, the GFCA Executive Board adopted a position paper that calls on the County's Board of Education to pause the current policy review process that is addressing changes to the county-wide school boundary adjustment policy.  This paper was forwarded to the entire School Board on June 17, 2024.  Read the GFCA paper here.

GFCA Town Hall Webinar With
Dranesville District
School Board Representative Ms. Robyn Lady

Representative Lady discussed the current draft revisions to Fairfax County Public Schools Policy Document 8130.7 that governs school boundary adjustments.

This Webinar held on Monday June 17, 2024 at 7:00 p.m. was open to the community.  More than 400 residents registered for the event.  This event followed from a GFCA membership meeting conducted on June 11, 2024 at which time significant community concern was expressed over the policy that is currently under review.  GFCA committed to the membership and attendees at that time that a Webinar would be scheduled as soon as possible to afford Representative Lady with the opportunity to clarify questions and hear public comment prior to the June 18, 2024 School Board Governance Committee Meeting during which time the committee members will review the policy drafts to date.

To view the GFCA's YouTube video of the Town Hall, click this link:

GFCA Board Welcomes New Members

Executive Board Members Candice “Candy” Burt and Gerald “Jerry” Peters

At the Annual Election in June, GFCA members elected two new members to its Board, Candy Burt and Jerry Peters.  Both Burt and Peters are long time members of the GFCA who have devoted countless hours of service to the community.

Candy and her husband have resided in Great Falls for 48 years.  They moved to Great Falls because of its incredible beauty and quietness.  Candy remarked that, luckily, we are still surrounded with all the greatness that nature has to offer.  She is a retired Fairfax County educator – wearing many different hats during her eleven year tenure with the county.  After working for the school system, she continued to work through volunteering her time and talents to many organizations.  Over the years she has been involved with projects through the Junior League, raising funds for private schools and universities, fulfilling requirements as a 20-year Master Gardener Emeritus, a member of the Great Falls Garden Club, serving on St. Francis Episcopal Church’s Altar Guild, a member of the Great Falls Citizens Association, and picking up trash in Great Falls as a 34-year volunteer member of VDOT’s Adopt-A-Highway program. 

Candy has always felt it is important to give back to the community and to strive to make the world a better place for all.  When she is not involved with volunteer activities, she spends her “free” time working in the garden, playing Mah Jongg, walking, cooking and photographing nature.  She is a long-serving member of the GFCA Transportation Committee who made a positive impact for the community by her efforts to retain the one-lane bridge design over Nichols Branch on Beach Mill Road not only as a safety measure, but as a reminder of our rural past and how important it is to try and preserve a little bit of Great Falls’ history.  Her goal is to say she helped to make Great Falls The Very Best Place On Earth To Live.

Jerry brings a wealth of experience as an environmental scientist to the GFCA Executive Board along with his long history of supporting environmental projects and volunteer efforts in the county.  Jerry grew up in Manassas and graduated from Osbourn High school in 1963.  He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from the University of Virginia and a Master of Science in Environmental Science and Engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, also known as Virginia Tech.

A U.S. Army Veteran, Jerry was served as a preventative medicine specialist at Fort Gordon and was deployed to various stations in Vietnam.  His civilian employment included work as an Environmental Health Specialist for the Prince William County Health Department and as the first, full-time, employee of the Occoquan Watershed Monitoring Laboratory. 

Also, Jerry spent 30 years as an environmental consultant with five private consulting firms doing environmental impact statements, hazardous waste management studies, policy documents for military hazardous waste site remediation, multidisciplinary environmental projects and policy for military service headquarters, on contracts primarily for Federal agencies.  His 20 years, plus, in volunteer service was spent in the field of environment, as well. 

More recently, he has supported a variety of environment-related projects and organizations including Fairfax Master Naturalists, Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District, Tree Commission, and the Great Falls Grange Naturalization Project.

Please join us in welcoming Candy and Jerry to the GFCA Executive Board!

VDOT Launches Walker Road Safety Study: Contractor Holds Virtual Meeting

On June 20 2024, during a virtual meeting, VDOT introduced a representative from Kimley-Horn, an engineering firm retained to prepare a safety report on the portion of Walker Road from Colvin Run Road to Georgetown Pike.

The ZOOM meeting involved a brief PowerPoint presentation followed by Q&A with members of the GFCA and Great Falls residents.  Many questions centered around safety and the anticipated impact of the proposed bridge replacement in relation to the roadway approaches to the bridge.  The intersection of Walker Road and Walker Mill Road was cited as an area having many accidents due to the severe horizontal curve north of the bridge.

VDOT representatives also revealed that the bridge replacement construction bids have already been advertised and a contract is expected to be awarded during August 2024.  This is an acceleration of the construction timeline as the VDOT website still lists Fall 2024 for advertising construction bids with work to begin in early 2025.  VDOT and the consultant have provided a map-based
website for public comments until July 12, 2024.

Initial responses from GFCA members attempting to use the link have expressed the format is limiting in the amount of information the map notations allow.  VDOT representatives have indicated to use the email addresses found at the bottom of the Welcome page for longer comments or file attachments since their policies do not allow direct submissions to the Kimley- Horn representative.

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Our goal is to preserve the semi-rural character of our community while addressing practical concerns like traffic, zoning, retail, schools, parks and the environment where problems arise and solutions must be found. 

Since Great Falls is not an incorporated municipality like the Town of Vienna, or City of Falls Church, we lack a town/city government to represent our local interests.  The GFCA acts in an unofficial capacity to represent the voices of the citizens of Great Falls on these matters, and works with county, state, and national government to get things done.  On Great Falls issues, no other organization has GFCA’s influence with elected leaders at the County and State level, or is as respected by them.

Our charter calls for GFCA to "serve as a community organization to promote all aspects of community interest accruing to a common good and, in general, to preserve the historic, low density, semi-rural character of Great Falls and its natural resources."

"Bluebells at Riverbend Park"
Image courtesy of Walt Lawrence,
Great Falls Studios

GFCA is a Proud Sponsor of
Celebrate Great Falls

The Great Falls Citizens Association (GFCA) is a non-profit, 501(c)4, organization based in Great Falls, Virginia, whose mission is to promote and protect the quality of life and the unique characteristics of the Great Falls community.  The GFCA is a volunteer-based organization that is open to all residents of Great Falls and the surrounding area.

The GFCA is known for its advocacy and community engagement activities, which include working with local government officials and other community organizations on issues related to land use, zoning, transportation, and environmental protection.  The organization also organizes events and programs to promote community engagement and connect residents with local resources and services. 

Some of the activities the GFCA is involved in include:

  • Zoning and land-use issues, like protecting the rural character of Great Falls from over development
  • Advocacy for traffic and transportation improvements
  • Promoting the protection of natural and historic resources in Great Falls
  • Organizing community events and programs, like educational seminars, social events, and volunteer opportunities
  • Providing information and resources to the community on issues of importance to Great Falls.
The GFCA is an active organization in Great Falls and plays a critical role in preserving the community's unique character and quality of life, through its advocacy and community engagement activities.  Join us today!

Great Falls Citizens Association            
PO Box 27  •  Great Falls, VA   •  2206

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