This week’s announcement by Arlington Public Schools about their compliance with the new Virginia law on recess reminded me that voters do have a choice in the School Board race in November. Audrey Clement and Barbara Kanninen will debate in September, so here are eight things Civic Federation members should consider asking about.
College is becoming prohibitively expensive for many. The economy still needs people in skilled trades which can provide good careers. What more should Arlington be doing to prepare students who do not want to go on to a traditional four-year college?
Our school enrollment is increasing and new buildings are being built, under what circumstances would you support increasing the student to teacher ratio to meet enrollment within budget constraints?
If county revenues suddenly became flat, where would you look first for budget savings? Have you considered ways that administrative staff and expenses could be scaled back to ensure cuts were not made in the classroom?
This year as part of the budget process, Superintendent Patrick Murphy reported per pupil spending would be $19,235 for the 2019 school year for the anticipated enrollment of 28,027 students. But when you divide $636.7 million by 28,027 students, you arrive at $22,717 per projected student. Why does Arlington report per-pupil spending this way and shouldn’t we be honest with county residents about the total actual cost rather than relying on a manufactured formula that pegs the number nearly $3,500 lower?
Assuming the School Board had not decided to engage in a name change process for Washington-Lee, what could staff have spent their time on to improve educational outcomes and what could the money that will be needed to change the name have been spent on? As the name change process moves forward, do you support naming it after a person or do you think we should stop naming schools after people altogether?
Some in the county have suggested that increasing diversity should be a higher priority when it comes to school boundary changes. What do you think the top three considerations should be?
Many studies show that homework at younger ages has no academic benefit to students, so would you support a proposal to ban homework county-wide for all elementary school students? What about through the seventh grade?
Currently the county builds in snow days and multiple teacher in-service and conference days into the calendar. Would you support ending the school year for all students not later than June 10 unless too many snow days were accumulated?