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Providence District school board rep Karl Frisch launches reelection bid

Providence District School Board Representative Karl Frisch (courtesy Friends of Karl Frisch)

Karl Frisch will run for a second term representing the Providence District on the Fairfax County School Board.

Frisch announced today that his qualifying paperwork has been approved, and he will seek an endorsement from the Fairfax County Democratic Committee, which can endorse candidates but not officially campaign them in the nonpartisan school board races.

Areas in the Providence District include Tysons, Dunn Loring, Idylwood, Merrifield, Mantua, and Oakton, along with parts of Fairfax, Falls Church, and Vienna.

A formal campaign launch will come later this year, ahead of the Nov. 7 general election.

“I am seeking reelection to help protect public education and local control,” Frisch said. “I will never stop fighting to give every student safe and inclusive public schools with exceptional educators and equitable access to the rigorous academics and other opportunities they need to be successful after graduation.”

When first elected in 2019, a year that ushered in a historically diverse, all-Democratic board, Frisch became the first openly gay person to ever serve on the county’s school board. He is the only out gay man currently on any school board in Virginia, according to his press release.

While the school board has often been occupied with responding to the pandemic over the past couple of years, Frisch’s work so far has included the Mosaic Elementary School naming, planning for a future Dunn Loring Elementary School, and a rerouting of school buses away from Blake Lane after two Oakton High School students were killed in June.

Last fall, he sought to join the General Assembly as the new 35th District delegate, but the Democratic nomination went to nonprofit leader Holly Seibold, who was elected to fill the vacated seat yesterday.

In his announcement, Frisch says he decided to seek reelection in response to state actions that would “compromise curriculum quality and jeopardize student safety.”

Fairfax County Public Schools has clashed on occasion with state leaders, most recently over a delay in merit award notifications. The school board sued Gov. Glenn Youngkin over his elimination of universal masking, and the governor has sided with opponents of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology’s admissions process.

Last year, Frisch criticized the widely protested draft state policies that would prevent schools from supporting transgender students as “putting the lives of young Virginians in jeopardy to score political points.”

Education is expected to be a key focus of this year’s General Assembly session, which convened today. Filed bills include a prohibition on students from joining athletic teams based on their gender identity, the creation of a statewide policy on library materials, and a voucher program that allow public funds to be used for private schools and services.

“This is a pivotal election year for Fairfax County,” Frisch said. “Will we abandon our world-class public schools in favor of risky Richmond political experiments, or will we continue our critical work to address every student by name and by need?”

All 12 school board seats will be up for election this November.

Frisch joins Hunter Mill District Representative Melanie Meren as the only incumbents so far to confirm they will seek another term. Dranesville District Representative Elaine Tholen said she won’t seek reelection, while other members have yet to announce their intentions.

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