On a per student basis, Arlington is spending more on administrative functions and less on instruction than almost every other school district in Northern Virginia, reports Michael Lee Pope of the Arlington Connection.
Here’s an excerpt:
Alexandria and Arlington spend less for instruction per capita than every other school division in Northern Virginia. And the two jurisdictions spend more on administration per capita than most other localities in the region.
These are the findings of a recent report issued by the Auditor of Public Accounts in Virginia, numbers collected from various jurisdictions during their annual budget process. School officials and elected leaders in Alexandria and Arlington admit they might not have the economy of scale of Fairfax County, a division with about 170,000 students. But with 20,000 students in Arlington and 12,000 students in Alexandria, they say the trade-off is a more personalized environment.
“Am I satisfied? No. I always think we can do better,” said Arlington School Board Chairwoman Libby Garvey. “But I will say that I think we deliver a very good value for the dollar.”
“There’s a general perception that more money in the classroom is more critical than money for administration,” said John Vigstadt, a member of the Arlington Council of PTAs. “I think we need to take periodic look at what these administrators do to make sure all these positions are justified.”
In Lyon Park last week, police say a man purposely backed into a parking space, hitting a person who was assumedly trying to save the space for someone else.
ASSAULT AND BATTERY-ARREST 07/21/10, 900 block of N. Wayne Street. On July 21 at 10 pm, a man purposely reversed his vehicle into someone standing in a parking space. William Reintzel Jr., 39, of Arlington, was charged with Assault and Battery and held on a $2,000 bond.
Also last week, a purse-snatching happened in the middle of Courthouse while people were heading home from work.
ROBBERY 07/22/10, 2100 block of Wilson Boulevard. On July 22 at 6 pm, an unknown man approached a woman walking and forcibly pulled her purse from her shoulder. The suspect then fled on foot. He is described as a black male, 20 to 30 years old, 5’10” and 185 lbs. The suspect was wearing a navy blue t-shirt and jeans.
The rest of the latest Arlington County crime report, after the jump.
(Updated at 11:15 a.m.) To help mark the start of construction on the new Crystal City Chick-fil-A, a groundbreaking ceremony (or, in the chain’s parlance, a ground ‘mooving’ ceremony) was held at 10:30 this morning outside 2200 Crystal Drive. Local leaders and the famous Chick-fil-A cow were on hand for the event.
Since the restaurant will be located on the ground floor of an existing office building, the gathered leaders donned hard hats and shoveled some plush cow toys in a park across the street.
From a company press release:
Projected to open in November, the restaurant will bring upward of 65 new jobs to the area and will feature a full breakfast, lunch and dinner menu.
“There’s lots of excitement about Chick-fil-A opening in Crystal City, and we’re delighted to welcome them to our great line up of restaurants,” said Patrick Tyrrell, Chief Operating Officer of Vornado/Charles E. Smith (the store’s landlord).
With the company having researched locations in the area since 2004, the Crystal City restaurant provides an opportunity for the chain to be a part of the Crystal City streetscape pedestrian traffic. The Chick-fil-A restaurant also is conveniently located to mass transit and the Pentagon.
The 3,683 square-foot restaurant will seat up to 81 people. It’s owned by a franchisee and mother of four, Natalie Yang, who is moving from Georgia to run the restaurant.
Like all Chick-Fil-A restaurants, the Crystal City location will be closed on Sunday. Before the store opens in November, there will be a dedication dinner to “dedicate the store to the Lord,” said Steve Mason, the company’s vice president of operations.
Mason and Yang participated in the ceremonial stuffed animal shoveling, along with Vornado’s Tyrrell, Crystal City Business Improvement District President Angela Fox, and the cow.
Police say the man approached the girl while her mother was inside the laundromat at 3600 Columbia Pike.
“The suspect pulled the child inside a small play house and sexually assaulted her,” police said in a statement. “The child was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.”
The man is described as Hispanic, 5’1″, 130 lbs, with brown eyes, bushy black hair and a mustache. Police will be canvasing the area around the laundromat today, handing out flyers with the suspect’s sketch and information about the crime.
Anyone with information about the suspect should call Arlington County Crime Solvers at 866-411-TIPS (8477). A reward of up to $1,000 is being offered in the case.
On April 27, Cheryl Simmons walked out of the Arlington County Detention Facility, having served 23 days in jail for a probation violation. About a month later, while still on parole, she became one of the top signature collectors for the Committee for a Better Arlington, the group formed by the police and fire unions to get a proposed change to Arlington’s form of government on the November ballot.
Simmons, who was hired by a contractor that specializes in collecting petition signatures, should have been well-known to local law enforcement, had they seen her collecting signatures on their behalf.
In 2006, Simmons was arrested for shoplifting and giving her family unauthorized discounts at the Arlington Hecht’s department store, where she worked, according to Arlington Police spokesperson Crystal Nosal. Court records show she plead guilty to felony embezzlement — a more serious charge since it was her third offense — and was sentenced to three years probation.
Late last year she was in trouble again, for passing a bad check at a check cashing store on Columbia Pike, police said. She served jail time between January and February for the charge, and in April for the probation violation, according to the Arlington County Sheriff’s Office.
Despite the rap sheet, Simmons was able to get hired by the contractor a month after her release, and apparently found the motivation to collect the third-highest number of signatures for the petition effort, with 2,916.
“That would be a shock to me,” said police union president Ken Dennis, upon learning of Simmons’ criminal background last night. “We just hired a company that had good references… I’m disappointed that they had this person on their staff.”
Dennis said he had never met Simmons nor heard her name mentioned.
Late Wednesday, after a “concerned citizen” brought the felony charge to the attention of election officials, Arlington County Registrar Linda Lindberg disqualified the 2,214 otherwise valid signatures submitted by Simmons, according to a person familiar with the situation. Only
registered Arlington voters (correction: only individuals eligible to register to vote) are permitted to collect signatures for initiatives in the county, and as a felon Simmons would have been ineligible to vote.
Earlier this week, the anti-petition Coalition for Arlington Good Government alleged that Simmons may not have collected the now-disqualified signatures herself. Instead, CAGG said, the Arlington resident and another top signature collector, Natasha Robinson, may have signed off on petition sheets collected by out-of-town signature collectors brought in by the contractor. So far, there has only been circumstantial evidence to support the claim.