The Results are In…Mimi Wins!

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!

mimi-headshot-lowOver the last four months, I’ve been so fortunate to meet and speak with hundreds and hundreds of Alexandrians about improving our schools.

I couldn’t have run this campaign without our legions of volunteers and donors, cheerleaders and supporters.  Thanks to their dedication, we made more than 4,000 telephone calls to District A residents and distributed thousands of flyers and postcards.

I’m humbled by the the support I’ve received.  I think about 10-year-old Addison Guynn, who handed out campaign flyers in the rain on Election Day.  Or Maria Getoff, who called voters up until the polls closed.  And Shayna Englin, who shared her incredible political knowledge and gave us some good old-fashioned “inspiration”. 

Most of all, I appreciate the support of my family.  My daughters Mein and Phoebe have been extremely supportive of my recent absences, but also have begun to appreciate the value of public service and need to get involved.  My husband Joseph LaMountain has been been amazing – I’ll leave it at that.

There are many more volunteers and supporters, too many to mention in this short space.  But their support has been invaluable and for that I am incredibly grateful.

If I’m Elected: What Sets Me Apart

crowdThroughout the campaign for school board, I’ve heard each candidate propose initiatives to address the challenges we face.  What I’ve not heard from them, though, is how these new projects will be funded or what should be eliminated. 

This week the Alexandria City Council was forced to raise taxes AND cut spending in order to close a significant budget shortfall.  Because these financial trends are expected to continue, additional funding for new programs is extremely unlikely.  So while candidates can propose any program they want, without identifying a funding source their ideas will likely come to naught.

That’s what sets me apart.  Not only have I identified programs to improve learning, I have also identified several ways for ACPS to save money in order to pay for them.   

The most significant savings would come from responsibly reducing our non-teaching labor costs, which account for 85% of the ACPS budget (the national average is 62%).  Simply reducing labor costs to 80% of the budget would free up $10 million a year – more than enough for the new programs I’ve proposed: universal preschool, mentoring programs, enhanced curriculum, more bilingual staff and more.

I’ve also proposed evaluating all ACPS programs to learn which are working, and which are not.  I have also proposed closing the residency loophole that allows children from other towns to attend our schools.  Enacting both of these ideas should enable to us to reallocate millions more for programs that directly impact learning.

Ideas are great, and I am thrilled that some of us are discussing ways to address some of our long-standing problems.  But in this climate of declining services and increased taxes, it’s simply not enough for candidates to propose a program to implement.  If elected on May 5th, I will work to find the money to turn my ideas into reality.

Another Mother’s Ringing Endorsement…

girl-thumbs-upThe following letter was submitted for publication to the “Alexandria Gazette Packet” by District A voter Kimberly Moore:

As the parent of an Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) student and a soon-to-be kindergartener, and the spouse of an ACPS teacher, I encourage all voters in District A to choose Mimi Carter for Alexandria School Board.

I have known Mimi through the Mount Vernon Community School PTA. She is an amazing leader. Mimi encourages parental involvement, takes time to learn about new issues and always makes decisions based on what will help our students and teachers.

Mimi has devoted countless hours to organizing programs at MVCS, listening to school staff and working with the school board to maximize resources that will meet our children’s needs.

Mimi is absolutely correct that ACPS needs to devote more attention to making sure that we are educating children who live in Alexandria. Our school system offers fantastic opportunities. It is no wonder that families living outside of the city want their children to attend our schools.  Our students and taxpayers rely on ACPS to protect those resources.

Mimi will be an effective addition to our school board. She is dedicated, intelligent, knows when we need to work in new directions and has the innovative thinking to do what is best for our kids.

I hope that District A voters will join me in voting for Mimi Carter on May 5th.

Earlier this month, 40 mothers sent a similar letter to the Alexandria Gazette Packet and Alexandria Times.

Raising $30K for the PTA

big-flea-logo-2009-copyAlexandria’s biggest charity flea market, the MV Big Flea, raised $10,724 for the Mount Vernon Community School PTA on Saturday, April 25.

The event, which was co-founded by Mimi, has raised $37,179 since 2007 for school field trips, grants to teachers, after school clubs and helping our neighbors in need.

“This year’s Big Flea was truly amazing,” Mimi said.  “Maria Getoff, Heather Martin and Cynthia Webster did a spectacular job securing donations, recruiting volunteers and organizing the event; Dozens more helped in countless other ways. ”

“This is the kind of event that makes our schools, and our city, great,” Mimi continued. “If elected to the School Board on May 5th, I will work to foster the same level of community involvement throughout the city.”

The MV Big Flea is Alexandria’s largest charity fleamarket fundraiser.  Individuals donate items to the PTA, which sells them at the Big Flea and keeps the proceeds.   The event was co-founded by Mimi in 2007 when she was PTA President and was a contributing factor for her selection as the 2008 Northern Virginia PTA volunteer of the Year.

Alexandria Shows Their Support for Mimi!

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(l-r): Jen Walker, Mimi, Marcia Call

On Saturday, April 19 District A residents came together to once again show their support for Mimi Carter and her candidacy for the Alexandria School Board.  This time it was at a gathering hosted by community leaders Marica Call and Lonnie Rich.

The event, which also benefited current school board member Sheryl Gorsuch, provided another opportunity for Mimi to discuss her experience and her  Triple A Education improvement plan and ideas for improving the city schools.

Among those attending the event were House of Delegates member Adam Ebbin, City Council member Del Pepper, current school board member Charles Wilson, Dan Solomon and Laura Dove, Jennifer Walker, Gordon Johnston and Karen Helbrecht, Miguel Huaman, Gayle Reuter, Sean McInearny, Toni Andrews, Maria Getoff and many others.

“I can’t thank Lonnie and Marcia enough for their hospitality and support,” Mimi said.  “They are one of the main reasons I first got involved with the Alexandria schools and I appreciate their continued involvement and leadership.”

Strong support for Mimi’s candidacy was also seen last week with the release of candidate campaign finance reports.  For the period ending April 15, Mimi had raised more funds than any other candidate in Distrct A.  More importantly, 80 individuals donated to Mimi’s campaign, one fewer donor than all other candidates combined.

“Fundraising is a necessary evil when running for elective office,” Mimi said.  “But I am extremely pleased with the level of support I’ve received from my friends and colleagues across the city.  Without their strong financial support,” she said, “I would not be able to run for office.”

Election Day is May 5th so we’re heading into the homestretch of our campaign.  We still need volunteers to help get out the vote and hand out flyers.  If you can volunteer, please contact Mimi at mimicarter01@gmail.com or 202.627.9748.

If I’m Elected: Fixing the Drop Out Problem

4332Last week both the Alexandria Times and Alexandria Gazette Packet reported an alarming statistic: Nearly 1 in 4 Hispanic students in Alexandria drops out and fails to graduate from high school.

On a personal level, I think about all the great kids at Mount Vernon Community School, which is 60% Hispanic and where my children attend school, that won’t wind up graduating high school.

But I also know that we, as a community, have a strong interest in fixing this problem.  And one of the best ways to do it is by providing universal preschool for Alexandria’s children.

Preschool is so important that Arlington now has 19 preschool programs in 22 of its elementary schools.  We’ve had a Commission on Early Childhood Education since 2003, but we have hundreds of children on waiting lists for the Center for Families and Network Preschools run by the city.

From my perspective, money isn’t the issue.  As I’ve stated throughout the campaign, responsibly reducing Alexandria’s non-teaching labor costs would free up millions for programs like early childhood education.  The issue is finding the political will to make it a priority.

Of course, there are other factors contributing to the high drop out rate, many of which we cannot control.  But we can control – and expand – access to preschool.  And if I’m elected on May 5th,  that’s what I will fight for.