Loudoun County Schools See ‘Mass Exodus’ as Gov.-Elect Youngkin Promises School Choice

AMHERST, VIRGINIA - OCTOBER 28: Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin delivers remarks at a campaign event in the parking lot of Vito's Pizza Bar & Grill on October 28, 2021 in Amherst, Virginia. Youngkin is on a campaign bus tour across the state of Virginia as he contests Democratic …
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Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS), the school district that has become a political hotbed amid an alleged rape coverup and the implementation of Critical Race Theory, is seeing a “mass exodus” of students that is set to cost millions of dollars in state funding, according to Loudoun Now.

The outlet reported that enrollment “is down 7% from projections that align with the rate of population growth in the county,” which could translate to a loss of $7 million in state funding.

Despite the decline in students, LCPS is still asking Richmond to maintain current levels of state funding, according to the Loudoun Times-Mirror.

“The Loudoun County School Board passed a measure,” the outlet reported, “allowing the school district’s legislative consultants in Richmond to advocate for the preservation of current levels of state funding on behalf of LCPS for the 2022 fiscal year, despite a decline in Loudoun’s student enrollment.”

Sharon Willoughby, LCPS’s chief financial officer, reported that the school district “had a net loss in our revenue” compared to the budget for fiscal year 2022. According to the Times-Mirror, “The total revenue deficit amounted to $17 million, she said, which is currently offset by about $10 million” in state funding.

While Loudoun County provided a case study in public education issues that exist across the country, it is also regarded by many as the lynchpin securing Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin’s victory. On the campaign trail, Youngkin himself referred to the school district as “ground zero” for education issues, as Breitbart News reported.

While it did not turn blue completely, the county certainly swung more red — with the rest of the Commonwealth — as Youngkin gained nine points after 2017 Republican gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie lost the county by 20 points.

But there is a shift, according to Geary Higgins, the chairman of the 10th Congressional District Republican Party, who says LCPS has “lost 10,000 students,” adding that “the constituency is going to support school choice.”

“In 40 years, the school enrollments have never dropped,” Higgins, who is a former LCPS board member and county supervisor, said, according to Loudoun Now. Higgins believes that local elections are becoming increasingly important to voters, saying, “It’s a lot of people that sat on the sidelines and didn’t pay attention to local elections. … This has pushed a lot of people towards school choice.”

Loudoun Now reports that school board members and parents alike are citing an increase in homeschooling and private schooling as primary factors in LCPS’s hemorrhaging student population. Parents choosing to leave the public education system behind are citing both draconian policies put in place as a response to the coronavirus — such as remote learning and masking — as well as the “politicization of public academia” through the teaching of Critical Race Theory. Higgins believes politics is having an outsized impact.

While current homeschooling numbers have yet to be released by the Virginia Department of Education, Loudoun Now reports that “during the 2019-2020 school year, 1,821 students were homeschooled in Loudoun. Last year, that number increased to 3,326 students.”

With the 2022 midterms coming up, many Republicans see education as a winning issue across America — viewing Youngkin’s win as a blueprint for winning back purple-to-blue parts of the country.

Indeed, with Virginia’s rather dramatic shift after having voted for President Joe Biden by ten points only a year before Republicans swept control of all three statewide offices and the General Assembly, there are three Democrat-held Congressional Districts that the House GOP campaign arm is targeting: Rep. Jennifer Wexton’s Tenth, Rep. Elaine Luria’s Second, and Rep. Abigail Spanberger’s Seventh.

As Breitbart News Reported, Youngkin won Luria’s and Spanberger’s districts handily, taking 8.3 and 15.4 points, respectively.

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