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Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com June 16, 2011 at 8:38 am 2,013 22 Comments

Ducklings Rescued from Storm Drain — Hanging upside down in a storm drain, an Arlington animal control officer managed to save nine ducklings that had become trapped in a tunnel. The ducklings and their mother were reunited and brought to the nearby Roaches Run Waterfowl Sanctuary. [Animal Watch]

ART 45 Bus Route Expanding — The ART 45 bus route is expanding. It will now run farther down Columbia Pike while at the same time adding a stop at the Courthouse Metro station en route to Rosslyn. [Arlington Transit]

Arlington Schools Spend More Per Pupil — Arlington Public Schools spend 86 percent more per pupil than the national average, according to new Census figures. Arlington spends $19,538 per pupil, while the national average sits at $10,499. [Sun Gazette]

  • Nice job Animal Control! Thank you.

    • Loocy

      Aw! Cute story! Ducklings must have fallen down the drain and then mom couldn’t get them out. Very sweet happy ending!

  • ArlForester

    Easy on the signage, Alcova Heights. A little bigger and someone might actually see it. 😀

    • Lacey Forest

      That Alcova Heights signs seems to be the standard neighborhood marker. One of the same size recently went up in my neighborhood (Yorktown, although I never knew it was called that) and I’ve seen others with the same template.

  • BerryBerryCold

    “86 percent more per pupil”

    Where is the money going?

    • ArlForester

      ESL.

      • James

        I suppose that’s intended to be funny? ESOL budget looks like approx $1.3M out of $470M. Arlington County schools budget far more (almost $12M) on special education, for example, for fewer students. I suppose you didn’t find it funny enough to highlight that group?

        • ArlForester

          I am sure they spend a ton on plumbing too. Your point?

        • SpedMom

          The school system is very top-heavy — flooded with administrators and specialists (reading, gifted, math, etc). I was in an excellent school district elsewhere in the country and they did a lot more with fewer people by keeping the class sizes low so the teachers could handle more situations in class.

          Special ed is going to be expensive anywhere that the population is highly educated and aware of their children’s IDEA rights. APS Special Ed has made a lot of errors to save pennies that have been expensive in the long run. For example, hiring lower-skill special ed aides without appropriate training for the disabilities they have to deal with, leading to catastrophic situations, and then ending up in court and having to pay for outrageously expensive private therapeutic schools because for kids who could have been handled in the public system had the county stepped up from the start with appropriate supports.

  • BerryBerryCold

    To add, we keep hearing that our teachers are paid so little and need “special” housing to be able to live in Arlington.

    Yet labor is the highest cost for the school system. Something doesn’t add up.

    • Bluemont Joe

      Really? Where did you hear that?

  • 4Arl

    BBC, it doesn’t add up because the labor cost is not just teacher pay- add administrators, overhead like retiree benefits and healthcare, etc. The challenge is to boost pay for early career teachers, so they can afford to live a reasonable distance from school, without others grumbling. Maybe the live where you work home purchase grants, which only benefit a few, could be restructured to housing grants for teachers in their first five years.

  • Zach G.

    Typos in the duck story

    “storm drain” not “storm train”

    and “brought” to the nearby not “broad”

  • Hikin the pike

    Staffing is the highest cost in almost any service industry. Unfortunately, the article about being 86%, taken out of context, looks like incredible waste. However Digging a little deeper one can see what average teacher salary is across the country compared the living-wage in Northern Virginia explains the difference.

  • NoVapologist

    Not sure what starting teachers make, but a minute or two on Google gives $70-$75k as the average Arlington County teacher salary and ~$26k as the County’s living wage.

  • GrandArch

    Actually, given that we’re in the top 10% of counties in terms of median household income, it’s not entirely surprising that we spend substantially more than average on schools. This may break down into higher costs (e.g. cost of labor, land, etc.) and greater services we purchase (e.g. libraries, technology, number of staff and their qualifications). A number of us parents would not live in Arlington if we had bad schools. And if you look at the average spending per pupil in Arlington, it’s substantially less than other places on the East Coast that have good schools (e.g. Princeton, NJ, Cambridge, MA).

  • ODCASteve

    Need to factor in the high cost of Northern VA, not only for salaries, but capital (it costs more to build here than in the sprawling suburbs), maintenance (again, higher density + higher usage of facilities, fields etc), etc. Look at the results, we have many more top schools than anywhere.

  • 4Arl

    There is a size factor at play also. I believe Fairfax and Loudoun are around $13K per student.

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