Local schools ready to post national motto

Local school districts are now making plans to comply with new state legislation mandating the posting of the national motto prominently in each school.

Before signing the bill on May 17, Gov. Mark R. Warner had reservations about how the schools would fund such signs because the state would not be paying for them.

With a little creativity and planning, area school systems won’t break the bank.

The new bill requires the words “In God We Trust, the national motto, enacted by Congress in 1956” to be posted at least once in every Virginia school, paid for by private donations.

Manassas Park Superintendent Thomas DeBolt will be meeting with principals today to unveil a poster designed and donated by the Family Policy Network in Virginia.

The nonprofit organization will be donating 3,000 signs to Virginia schools to help them be in accordance with the new law, set to go into effect July 1.

DeBolt said the school system plans to purchase frames for each of the four Manassas Park schools at a cost of $12 to $14 each.

Also today in Prince William, Superintendent Edward L. Kelly will be looking at what Prince William Schools media department has designed for the school postings.

Jerilyn Christensen, director of information services and legislative liaison for Prince William Schools, will show the signs to the School Board at its meeting Wednesday night. The School Board will be voting to change school policy to comply with the new law that same evening.

Christensen said the school system will save money with the media department designing the signs. She estimated that framing 80 signs for county schools will cost $224.

Associate Superintendent Robert Ferrebee said he was not sure where the money would come from.

While Manassas Park and Prince William school systems plan to display patriotic signs featuring stars and stripes, framed and neatly posted, Manassas schools will be keeping its signs fairly simple with black lettering on white poster board.

Manassas Superintendent Chip Zullinger said the signs were made with about $40 worth of materials readily available in schools. “It’s just to be compliant,” he said.

Zullinger is not sure whether the school system will change the postings in the future.

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