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APS Budget Includes Class Size Increase, Raise for Employees

by ARLnow.com — February 27, 2012 at 12:05 pm 3,798 86 Comments

Arlington Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Patrick Murphy’s proposed FY 2013 budget includes an across-the-board increase in maximum class sizes and a small raise for all APS employees.

At $493.8 million, the proposed budget is a 3.9 percent increase over FY 2012. The increase reflects, among other things, a 2 percent increase in the APS salary scales — Dr. Murphy says the increase is a reflection of the “cost of competing” with other Northern Virginia school systems for quality teachers and staff – and 3.9 percent growth in student enrollment.

Student enrollment is projected to jump by 857 students, from 21,841 to 22,698. APS calculates that growing enrollment will cost $1.8 million for the purchase of 16 new relocatable classrooms and $2.2 million in additional staffing costs. Though the overall budget is flat in terms of per-student spending, the official “per pupil” cost — as calculated under a set formula that differs from just looking at the overall budget — will actually increase from $18,047 to $18,400.

Helping to offset otherwise higher costs of enrollment is Dr. Murphy’s proposal to increase the maximum allowable class size for all K-12 classes by one student. Though he admits that it’s “a tough decision” that is likely to be of concern to many parents, Dr. Murphy is quick to point out that the increase in the maximum class size will not automatically increase the size of every class. Instead, it will primarily affect classes that were already at the maximum.

Murphy also noted that the current proposal to transition middle schools to block scheduling is not “not designed at all” to impact class sizes.

In addition to the salary increase, the new budget factors in investments in professional learning for teachers, the purchase of new science textbooks, and the purchase of new classroom and enterprise technology. APS is also planning on spending more this year as a result of lost federal grants, the need for more reserve funds, and rising costs associated with paying off the debt incurred for recently-built schools.

Dr. Murphy listed a number of “unfunded instructional needs” that the budget does not address. Included in that list of unmet goals is an expansion of foreign language classes in elementary schools, an expansion of Virginia Preschool Initiative and Montessori classes, a salary “step increase” for teachers, and additional textbook purchases.

“This budget is a fiscally responsible proposal,” Dr. Murphy said in a statement. “Even though this budget does not fund all of our needs, I have no doubt that we will do what APS always does. We will be guided by our strategic plan, our high expectations for students and our commitment to providing students with everything they need to succeed in school and in life.”

In additional to several budget work sessions in March, a public hearing on the school budget will be held on April 12. The final budget adoption by the school board is scheduled for April 26.

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  • Fillmore

    If you are concerned about the proposed increase in class sizes, please consider expressing your views to the School Board.

    The School Board has scheduled a public hearing for March 8 at 7:30 pm. Sign-ups to speak at the hearing have not yet opened, but will soon (around March 1), at this link: http://www.apsva.org/page/3069

    School Board members also hold open office hours to receive public comments; their schedule is here: http://www.apsva.us/site/Default.aspx?PageID=3050

    In addition, you can email members of the School Board at school.board@apsva.us

    • George

      If you are concerned about school overcrowding, please attend the School Board meetings and the County Board meetings (including Open Door Mondays). We need to make some noise!

  • LPL

    Because class size wasn’t already big enough. APS School Board needs to make some real decisions, even if some parents aren’t happy about it. Move ALL magnet schools to S. Arlington and make all schools in N. Arlington neighborhood schools. Turn the Madison Center back into a school. Sure, ATS parents won’t be happy, but parents at Nottingham, Tuckahoe, McKinley, Glebe, etc. will be. Why should so many suffer at the expense of one school?

    • Too Easy

      How about moving affordable housing to North Arlington

    • Southeast Jerome
      • sue

        From that article: five policies suggested by over forty years of qualitative research — frequent teacher feedback, the use of data to guide instruction, high-dosage tutoring, increased instructional time, and high expectations — explains approximately 50 percent of the variation in school effectiveness.

        Where is the high-dosage tutoring and increased instructional time in APS? Other studies directly contradict the quoted study. One more kid per teacher is directly related to a decrease in scores. We spend more per student (way more) than every other school system in the US and about 6k more per student than Fairfax county and how are we getting more trailers and less teachers===yet administrators are getting a raise? The total number of teachers in APS has also dropped. I work for the Feds and we haven’t seen a raise in 3 years, btw.

        Maybe we should see which school board member got a new fur coat and Mercedes Benz? Something doesn’t add up.

    • OnePercent

      LOL…so you’re going to move ATS, Science Focus and Key all into South Arlington???

      And exactly which South Arlington neighborhood schools do you propose that we get rid of to make way for these “magnet schools”? I know Hoffman-Boston is everyone’s favorite since they are in a low income neighborhood. I guess people figure they’re an easy target and won’t fight back when North Arlington parents try to dissolve their school.

      And perhaps you haven’t seen the latest numbers…even the South Arlington schools are crowded.

    • Pablo

      LPL–

      You’re not very well informed. ALL Arlington schools are at capacity or just about to be.

      With those numbers, the “Move ATS” bandwagon fell apart a few years ago.

      Nice try but do your research.

      • LPL

        About to be at capacity is not the same as well over capacity.

        I think ATS should not even exist anyway. To my knowledge it doesn’t have any special programs like Key and Cleremont and Drew.

        I would probably also say Science Focus could be eliminated. This is elementary school, not high school.

        • Too Easy

          Good You can rename ATS back to Stonewall Jackson and raise a big Confederate flag to welcome your bigot brethren.

        • sue

          Science Focus could be eliminated? That would do wonders for
          school capacity at other elementary schools.

          The US lags behind every other industrialized nation in science and math. Why? We do not focus on these subjects early in life. It is very easy for a science/math educated to decide to take a liberal arts path later in life. A liberal arts major rarely switches into Engineering at a late stage.

          Let me guess- you are a PolySci major.

    • MomofTeens

      And what do the folks in S. Arlington think about “moving all magnet schools to S. Arlington”?

      • SoArl

        We have plenty of them already. This person seems to have some real hostility issues. My kid is starting kindergarten next year and we did look at ATS. I wasn’t really that impressed but I don’t think it’s something to get so angry over.

    • George

      It is no longer a North/South issue. All the schools in Arlington will be overcrowded in a few years. Take a look at the data.

  • ArlForester

    And somehow the Catholic schools educate their kids at a third of the cost and they score higher on tests.

    • drax

      Because they can reject any student they want. Try getting the Catholics to educate your special-needs student, even if he/she is Catholic. And poor kids, who are less likely to be good students? No need to worry about them as much because they can’t afford the tuition.

      • Quoth the Raven

        Sorry, but you’re not correct.

        My kid’s class has a severely disabled student, and he isn’t the only one at the school. So yes, they do have special needs kids (and a bunch of non-Catholic students too, by the way). Do Catholic schools have the same ability to accomodate as public schools? Perhaps not, but they try. So yes, “the Catholics” do educate special needs kids.

        Tuition assistance is available for poor kids. Bottom line – if you want to go, you can, regardless of your ability to pay.

        • drax

          No, not all Catholic schools accept special needs kids. It’s nice that yours does, but not all do.

          I am aware of tuition assistance, but I still suspect that cost is a barrier for the poorest kids, especially since the alternative costs nothing.

          • CW

            Yep. And cherry-picking one or two special needs or disadvantaged kids here and there as a PR move is a LOT different than being legally tasked with the education of whatever the demographics of your jurisdiction throws at you.

          • Quoth the Raven

            Do you have any actual evidence that it’s a “PR move”, or did you just make that up?

            It might be hard to believe, but maybe such kids go to Catholic schools because their parents sign them up. Arlington public schools are great, so it’s not as if private schools have tons and tons of applicants they get to choose from.

          • CW

            Well, you’re giving them pretty good PR in your above post, while simultaneously saying they probably couldn’t take more special needs students then they currently have. And I’m pretty sure that, if I do the math, they probably couldn’t afford to give tuition assitance to the number of financially disadvantaged students that APS has to support. So I’m fairly confident in my position.

          • Quoth the Raven

            Me giving them PR in a post is the same as them taking disadvantaged kids as a “PR move”?? What’s your point?

          • CW

            My point is that, yes, sometimes schools do things to improve their image. And, in your case, it is working.

          • Not your bro

            Do we have any actual evidence that you have a kid, and that his class has a “severely disabled student?”

          • That’s a pretty unfair assumption

            So having worked in a Catholic school in VA I have to say that’s a pretty bold assumption. My job position for 5 years at a local Catholic elementary school was as a classroom teacher’s aide and substitute teacher Here’s the real deal on special needs and VA Catholic schools (in my opinion, and based solely on my experience):

            Our resources as a private school are very limited compared to public school resources, however our focus has always been on the education of the whole child. There are degrees of special needs that we simply to do not have the resources or personnel to give that child the best possible education and some parents take that into consideration and do not enroll their special needs child and opt for a school with programs catered to their child’s needs (this happens in public school too with transfers, etc. for special programs so I don’t think this should detract from the reputation of Catholic schools). In fact, when we are not able to provide what the student may need, the first thing we’d do is talk to the parent about their options either from their county and school district (often children can be pulled to participate in special needs programs during the school day through the public school system and we’d accommodate their class schedule with us to do so) and see if we have a way to address the child’s needs or if they need to find a school with the resources and programs that are fit for that child. We need the tuition of every child to stay afloat, that’s not a secret, but we’d NEVER sacrifice a child’s education we cannot provide the resources needed to help that child.

            HOWEVER, many parents find that our smaller class size and our teaching of christian values are added benefits for their special needs child (namely, we address issues like teasing and bullying as well as sharing, celebrating people’s differences and talents, etc.). Our curriculum is built slightly differently than public schools, i.e.- English, Spelling, and Reading are all taught and graded as separate subjects to allow for better evaluation of each student’s strengths and weaknesses, truly the 3 subjects are VERY different though they connect and they do not each demand the same amount of class time. Having gone to Catholic school myself for K-8th grade and then to APS for high school I can tell you that the simplicities of the 11th grade English SOL (including their, there, and they’re and the like) were not things that ANYONE I went to grade school with would’ve expected to be a challenge on an 11th grade test and yet at Yorktown (“a blue ribbon school”) we reviewed these types of things for months before the test was given. I was shocked.

            I’ve never heard of a school in the diocese of Arlington (which extends further out into VA not just Arlington county) who has selected anyone with special needs to meet any sort of PR quota or to make a good impression and regardless of your feelings on the Catholic church, that’s a really nasty thing to imply.

            I know there are some “private schools” in the area that are truly rolling in dough, but the majority are trying to survive paying their staff incredibly low wages (but no teacher in either private or public sector is really “in it for the $$”) and cover their overhead and resource needs to accommodate ALL children. However, I know for a fact that there are many families who are on scholarships through the church and do not pay a dime (though most are indebted to our school by their own heart and volunteer tons of time and services to us to show their gratitude) and we wouldn’t have it any other way because however people feel about the Catholic church, the schools missions are to provide the best education possible to anyone who wants to learn.

            I never rant on here, but please don’t make crass statements and assumptions about “PR” based on something you clearly have little to no connection to or knowledge of. It’s just rude.

          • drax

            Thanks for your post.

            You support my point, which is that the Catholic schools don’t carry nearly as large a burden in educating kids with special needs as the public schools do. They aren’t required by law to do so, while public schools are.

          • CW

            Ok, thanks for the firsthand account. My way of phrasing it (PR move) was needlessly attributed negative motives whereas my original statement was just supposed to align with Drax’s, which is that private schools can pick their pupils and public schools cannot. And yes, I defended my original statement, but it was off the mark and off topic.

          • ArlForester

            Drax, you still weren’t able to support your claim that taking special needs or stupid poor kids (your assumption) makes up for three times the cost as well as the test scores. It is because the Catholic schools work within a much tighter budget and the teachers don’t make nearly the same salaries.

          • That’s a pretty unfair assumption

            You’re correct that they don’t carry as large a population of special needs kids, they don’t carry as many kids in general because of their available resources. However, I don’t think it’s fair to say they “reject” them either, more often than not they’ll welcome them and try to accomodate them unless it’s painfully obvious they cannot provide for the student in their best interest. You’re correct that they’re not required to do so either, I have no problem with that statement.

            If my comment replied directly to your comment, I apologize… my real anger was to the rude “PR move” statement by CW and whether he meant for that wording to be so harsh or not I’m not sure but man was that rude and made my blood boil. Sorry.

          • CW

            Previous response hung up in the filter…I didn’t.

          • That’s a pretty unfair assumption

            Thanks, CW, mine obviously hung up in cue also at same time as yours. I usually read and giggle at comments on ArlNow so sorry I blew up a bit. :) In theory and in the big picture, everyone’s out for the same goal of getting kids the education they need.

          • CW

            Yeah, it’s just my background is coming from a family of public-school educators, so I always think of the private schools as having it easy. So an unfair bias on my part.

      • Too Easy

        So the county schools are overcrowded because of Special Needs kids, is that the New Tuckahoe battle cry?

        • ArlForester

          And the poor kids who are bad students. Don’t forget them. They probably need free lunches too. There are no poor kids near Tuckahoe. Its like a Utopia up there.

    • Patrick

      But we need to provide all those useless buearacrats at APS with jobs.

    • Haupt

      A third the cost? What school is that? PJP is $13,500, APS averaged $18K per student last year.

      • CW

        Do you know if that figure includes income from donations, trusts, etc. or just tuition? Private schools have whole lot more to draw from than just tuition dollars.

      • ArlForester

        Grade schools, not high schools.

        • Haupt

          APS doesn’t provide a clean breakdown of cost per Elementary vs Secondary, but based on the per school budget it’s about the same (10.1K vs 10.6K). Your claim still seems way off. CW, to your point, I pulled those numbers for non-catholic tuition, which they say isn’t subsidized.

    • Josh S

      What do they pay teachers?

      • Quoth the Raven

        Not much. Less than public, by a lot.

        • Burger

          So you are saying that public school teachers are overpaid and do not deliver….

          • Quoth the Raven

            Burger, I’mnot sure if you were referring to me or not. If you are, than I’m not saying that. I have no idea whether or not public school teachers are or are not overpaid.

          • Josh S

            Ah, the old razzle dazzle.

            ArlForester indicated above that Catholic schools were able to do what they did at a much cheaper price than APS and seemed to be implying they were better because of that.

            I asked how much they paid their teachers, knowing full well that it is significantly lower than what public schools around here pay. So yes, Catholic schools may be cheaper, but that doesn’t mean that they are better for everyone involved – it might just mean that they are, you know – cheap.

            The leap to criticism of public school teachers is quite a grand one. Not least since the outcomes of students at school A versus school B involve a myriad of factors going well beyond the abilities of teachers.

          • ArlForester

            Even if you took a thousand dollars per student and put that directly towards teacher salaries, that doesn’t explain the rest. Nothing does.

    • Nick

      I wonder how much of this cost differential could be attributed to the salary/pension differences between APS and the Arlington Catholic Diocese schools. The beginning salary for elementary and secondary teachers in Arlington is $30,897 (2012-13). I’m not sure what the average starting salary for APS teachers is, but the 2011 budgeted average is $69,820. If you account for the non-lay teachers/administrators, the Catholic schools likely have a lot less overhead here. I’m also not sure what the retirement benefits are for catholic school teachers.
      http://arlingtondiocese.org/catholicschools/application.php
      http://www.doe.virginia.gov/teaching/workforce_data/salaries/2010-2011_salary_report.pdf (page 6).

    • PattiS

      Catholic Schools have much lower standards for teachers, and therefore pay them much less. They also have very few if any specialists, and the leadership is often nuns. When catholic educators complete state requirements for professional teaching licenses, most leave the Catholic school.

      • ArlForester

        So the higher test scores are coming from inferior educators too? That’s amazing!

        • PattiS

          You’re forgetting that public schools must teach and test every student, and provide accommodations for every student’s needs. That is extremely expensive. If you broke out costs, you’d see that APS probably spends $10K or $11K for a typical student that does not play sports, but a special ed student may cost anywhere from $25K to $75K per student, and up to $150K for those in the most wonderful programs at Stratford.

          I don’t know what test scores you’re describing; are you focusing on something specific? The Catholic schools don’t do so well on the AP/IB scoring that the Washington Post does, but I think there are lots of problems with that anyway. But our real estate values are high because of APS performance on those exams. As for ACT and SAT, I don’t know. My oldest daughter is an underclassman at Bishop O’Connell, and she has not received any information on these exams yet.

      • Outdated info…

        I applaud the person above who defended the Catholic school education system and not in a way that says “we’re better” but “we try equally as hard” the focus is to educate the kids. But, you speak that any experience you have in Catholic schools is pretty out-dated considering there are VERY few Catholic school who still employ ANY nuns, primarily because there are so few in the US compared to what it was 50 years ago.

        The requirements for teachers are different, however all VA state licensing for educators is accepting in Catholic schools, though they do offer their own certification which is modified. I admit you can say it has “less” required, but I believe VA has so much required it’s getting ridiculous and it’s not putting better teachers into our school system only keeping them in THEIR college system longer to make money off of them (look at the mess that is the US education system). So, yes, many students with undergrad degrees and teaching certificates will begin in the Catholic schools until they finish going through the rigorous process that is VA state full licensure, but many more than I believe you think actually stay in the system.

        I knew many at my child’s schools that said they planned to start there and move to APS and then never left. They were not offered that much more in their big picture and they liked that the Catholic school focused on each child more than the tests, the grading of the teachers, and the politics of the county school board.

        • Josh S

          “THEIR college system”

          *rolls eyes* *stops reading* *moves on*

          • moves on…

            Just long enough to hit reply and comment. Haha. Yup, your opinion is SO much better than others’.

  • Murphy’s Law

    The first public hearing is scheduled for Thursday, March 8, at 7:30 pm. If you want to speak, you can sign up online at the APS web site starting March 1.

  • Southeast Jerome

    I have no horse in this race b/c I have no children. BUT. For all the overly obsessive Moms out there that want individualized learning and other Super duper my kid is the best type strategies, please read this article before going overboard about class sizes increasing.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/post/study-class-size-doesnt-matter/2012/01/28/gIQAaiZAYQ_blog.html

  • Chouse

    Schools receive the majority of their funding through their revenue share agreement with the County, which might make them less efficient when it comes to the choices they make. As ArlForester pointed out ACS has one of the highest spend rates per pupil in the area (~$10,000 student), but has little reason to curtail spending since Arlington real estate taxes (where the County gets the majority of its funding) has been steadily increasing for years.

    Regardless of whether you have a child in the County or not, asking if we are getting the most bang for our buck should be a priority. The school board is not accountable the same way the County Board is when it comes to finances, which is a big problem.

  • Too Easy

    They need to make birth control mandatory in North Arlington.

    • Southeast Jerome

      That will happen naturally as the generation of renters in their 20′s now ages. They are going to be saddled with such high rents and massive student loan payments, they will be forced to have fewer or no children.

      • Too Easy

        20 year old renters are not the breeders in North Arlington is usaualy haggly 30-40 somethings.

        • drax

          Hence the term “as the generation of renters in their 20′s now ages.”

      • CW

        Southeast Jerome is absolutely right. Unless my generation wants to raise their kids in 1BR apartments, we’re either not having any, or there’s going to be an exodus from this area.

  • dallynd

    One more child per class isn’t going to matter, even in the most crowded schools. Overall school crowding is an issue, though. We spend plenty of money on schools. Perhaps a little less time trying to put kids in block scheduling, lengthen the school year and such in the interest of them choosing IB track in seventh grade and more emphasis paying good teachers well.

  • DSS10

    FYI. Patrick Murphy hold a Ed.D.Educational Administration, he is not a PhD and should not referred to as Dr. but rather D.ed. I don’t mean to split hairs but it really irritates me when non MDs insist on being addressed ad Dr let alone non-academic advanced degree holders.

    And yes I can be irritated by this because I hold PhD and refuse to be addressed this way or address other PhD’s this way….

    • drax

      “Dear D.ed. Murphy”? I don’t think so.

    • CW

      You definitely don’t go by “Dr. Grammar”.

    • SomeGuy

      “I don’t mean to split hairs…” but you go on for a few sentences splitting hairs.

      And you “can be irritated by this” because you hold a PhD? I’ll actually stick up for you and say that you can be irritated either way. While I appreciate your effort to inform us that you hold a PhD, I’m not sure it contributes to qualifying or disqualifying you for being irritated.

    • PattiS

      Ed.D. is the professional doctoral degree for practitioners, rather than those who pursue a theoretical research program (like an MD versus a Ph.D. in medicine). Read more at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doctorate#Professional_degrees You’ll see the distinctions. In many cases, there is a preference for an Ed.D. over a Ph.D., but they’re largely based nowadays on whether you were able to do an on-campus research residency of two successive semesters (i.e., full-time status). In most others fields, it’s more relevant. I’d rather have a D.V.M.treat my dog than someone with a Ph.D. in Comparative Anatomy and Physiology.

  • Lee-n-Glebe

    I just hope they sort out whatever the hell is going on over there at Williamsburg before my kids get there.

  • LPL

    APS does a terrible job when it comes to class size and school size. Nottingham was over capacity upon completion of the reno a few years ago. W-L already has trailers. Yorktown will be at capacity upon completion.

    And Hoffman-Boston is not at capacity. Last year they had 20 kindergartners, as opposed to the 100+ my school has.

    But all hail ATS. Prime real estate right in the middle of the overcrowding, with lots of field space, no trailers, and no chance of trailers. What does that school offer that is so special, other than mandated non-overcrowding?

    • OnePercent

      So you’re going to dissolve a neighborhood school in an African-American community to move one of the “magnet schools” in North Arlington? Interesting…

      Also, you should check your facts first…the only field space at ATS are two softball fields …same as Nottingham. That’s it. How does that qualify as “lots of field space”??? And oh yeah…there are two trailers at ATS!!! LOL!!!

      • MomofTeens

        “What is so special about it” – hmmm, must be something, they get like 250 kindergarten applications a year. (My kids went there, and it IS really special, but what makes it that way is a secret.)

    • Too Easy

      I love how the Bigots want to displace county wide schools and short change the Minority side of Arlington.
      Hey Might Whitey how many minority students were in that kindergarten class of 100?
      Arlington’s car free talk does not translate into less parking spaces for schools get ride of those giant parking lots for the North Arlington schools and put some modular class rooms like ATS and the rest of the schools have.

      • Mighty Whitey

        Don’t get uppity.

        • Too Easy

          A couple of Taco’s for supper and I’ll be fine.

      • Josh S

        Yikes.

  • chris

    ATS won’t remain that way at the rate this overcrowding is headed…

  • MC

    While I want to watch growth of expenses, I believe teachers deserve the raise. It’s also a good thing that Arlington is attracting families with small kids, unlike the District. And I appreciate that parents take an active interest in how their kids are served. We need to balance these things against flat county budgets, and the fact that growth in tax revenue will be far smaller in the coming decade than it was in the past. Bigger classroom sizes and less of the iPad frills will be necessary.

    • George

      Neither the County nor the APS budgets have been flat the last 11 years. Read the data.

  • SarcasticJane

    It’s a 2% salary raise and no step increase. After going several years with absolutely no cost of living, and no step increase IMHO this is a slap in the face of educators. Particularly when one of the strategic goals set by Dr. Murphy for the 2012-2013 school year is to recruit and maintain quality educated staff. Many Arlington teachers can’t afford to own homes in Arlington and are getting head hunted by Alexandria, Fairfax, and other counties who value their teachers and pay them enough so that they can live in the communities in which they teach.

    • yup

      It’s sad that America will never understand if you want the best people in the positions to do the best job you need to pay at a competitive rate. The end. This is a business whether they like it or not… Sure teachers LOVE to teach, but they can teach anywhere and they end up having to uproot their lives and move away from the school districts that can’t pay cost of living (we’re not talking millions here, we’re just saying not peanuts) in their own county. My brother and sister-in-law grew up in Arlington and are both elementary and middle school educators in Arlington. They love the quality level of the county and the convenience of the area, and it’s their home town. They barely scraped enough together to buy a townhouse to stay in the county they’ve truly invested their entire lives in, and now as their family grows they will need more space and they’re very torn. Sure they can move out of the county and commute, but they can also switch counties, get a pay increase, and have a bigger home. It’s just not a good feeling to say you can’t afford your own home town in a job where you serve the county and WANT to return all your money and time back to. Backwards thinking in our society…

      • CW

        I agree with 99% of your statement.

        The 1% I don’t agree with is the use of the phrase “as their family grows” in a manner as if it’s out of their control. This is not the 1800′s; we live in an expensive urban area and legitimate thought and planning needs to be put into having kids if there is concern that one cannot properly care for them. I just don’t understand the “let’s have a bunch of kids; Oh crap we need a bigger house and can’t afford it” mentality.

        • yup

          Oh they don’t want a huge family, but in a 2 bedroom town house that costs as much as a 4 bedroom detached home in parts of fairfax if they use their 1 extra bedroom for a nursery or bedroom, they’ve lost their only guest space. They’re very modest and do not try to live outside their means, nor go on being the Duggars (haha). Not by any means. But it’d still be nice to have a room for out of town relatives or friends and have room for a kid or two. I don’t think that’s asking too much… the amount of space they get for the amount the pay is outrageous. I know they’re not alone in this, but if they were being paid at least cost of living in the county they work for and return their taxes to they might be able to expand comfortably without moving outside of the county is all I meant.

          • CW

            No, I understand. It’s pretty frustrating. I’d own a nice home pretty much anywhere else in the country except NYC, SF, or LA, but here I can’t even dream of a 1BR.

            The problem is that there are enough people who can afford these prices as it is. I don’t know who they are, or how there are so many of them, but there are lots of them. So the whole “pay a living wage” thing doesn’t really work because there are LOTS of highly-educated, high-performing people in white-collar jobs who can’t dream of owning a home either. That’s why I’m predicting an exodus from this area within 10 years.

          • SarcasticJane

            Dr. Smith predicted that very same thing around 2004-2005 when the market was shooting up and it turned out to be a huge mistake because Arlington did not make any plans for rapid growth or for salary increases to keep quality staff local. Now we have huge number of students and teachers that would rather teach in areas where they can have a home rather than a 600sq ft condo!

    • George

      Where does all the money go? 18K per student!

    • George

      Most teachers will not jump to another school system for a few thousand $$. APS should transform its compensation system. Pensions are soooo last century. Pay them more cash. Let them invest in 401ks.

  • George

    If you are concerned about school overcrowding, please attend the School Board meetings and the County Board meetings (including Open Door Mondays). We need to make some noise!

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