Peter’s Take is a weekly opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.
The County Board is scheduled to adopt its budget guidelines on Nov. 19. This column explains in more detail than last week’s why those guidelines should direct an increase in the budget share provided to Arlington Public Schools.
The main reasons are: school enrollment has been rising, while it’s getting more challenging to deliver a 21st century education, and the APS share of the total budget has been slipping.
The combination of these three things happening simultaneously continues to reduce the relative share of educational resources that APS used to have.
School enrollment rising
APS projects that enrollment is expected to continue to grow in FY 2015 by 793 students. This represents an increase of about 30 percent since FY 2007. The financial impact of this enrollment growth for staffing alone could exceed $8 million in FY 2015. Other costs related to this growth (relocatable classrooms, furniture, textbooks, etc.) are likely to add $3 million.
Educational challenges up
APS must honor its commitments to bring instructional time up to the same level and provide the FLES program at all elementary schools. As a percentage, special education enrollment has not changed significantly. But, the severity of the needs of APS’ special education students has been increasing, especially in the autism area. These educational priorities require significant additional resources.
APS share slipping
While there have been occasional one-time, special add-ons in county transfers of funds to APS from FY 2007 through FY 2014, the overall trend of these transfers has been downward in relative terms. Thus, over that period:
- County revenue provided to APS has grown 32.5 percent, but locally-generated revenue retained by the County has grown 38.6%;
- Over the same period, the APS budget share has declined from 46.7 to 45.6 percent.
APS also helps to generate Arlington’s tax dollars. A recent report by Dr. Michael Walden concluded that APS’ high and improving academic performance contributes to the Arlington economy:
- Arlington County residential property values are between $2.7 and $4.7 billion higher than they would have been without academic improvement;
- These increased property values contribute annually between $27 and $47 million more in property tax revenues than would have been received without academic improvement.
APS’ share of the operating budget should be restored to the level that properly reflects Arlington’s historic commitment to public education.
Peter Rousselot is a former member of the Central Committee of the Democratic Party of Virginia and former chair of the Arlington County Democratic Committee.
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9th Street Chamber Music is back in business for its second season! 9SCM is disrupting the stereotypes of classical music as stuffy, dry, and elite through dynamic yet accessible performances and its one-of-a-kind String Quartet Intensive for young musicians in the DC Metro area.[9th Street Quartet](https://www.9thstreetchambermusic.com/9th-street- quartet)’s first concert is on Sunday, October 16 at 4:00 PM. The group will offer, for the first time, a ‘Playlist Shuffle’ themed concert featuring single movements of string quartet favorites. Tickets for this concert can be found here, and are $20 for adults and FREE for all students under 18.
Rehearsals began Monday, September 27 for the String Quartet Intensive, welcoming 32 new and returning members to the program. These talented musicians in grades 7 through 12 represent over fifteen area schools throughout Northern Virginia, DC and Maryland, and are an integral part of the growing 9SCM community. Their first performance will take place on Monday, November 28 at 7:30 PM.
Now you can have fun with your family and friends when deciding where to eat!
Just hop aboard The Lunch Train and set the destination for: breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, or nightlife!
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Join us as we explore Vini Franchetti & their two sister vineyards Passopisciaro (Sicily) and Vini Franchetti (Tuscany) for our Sicily/Tuscany Wine Dinner!
Sunday, Oct 9 @ 6pm
Special Guest: This wine dinner we will be hosting the wine maker