The Right Note is a biweekly opinion column. The views expressed are solely the author’s.
As the pace of vaccinations accelerate and we anticipate a return to a more normal way of life, the County Board and School Board are making budget decisions for the upcoming fiscal year.
Here are seven recommendations for our elected officials as they move forward:
1. Arlington Public Schools should stay on track for five days per week, in-person learning this fall. The academic and mental health needs of the kids are abundantly clear and vaccinations are on track to alleviate the virus concerns.
2. The School Board should consider creating a blue ribbon panel to bring forward recommendations to improve academic achievement. The panel should not consider buildings or school boundaries, but how to put instruction plans in place to raise the level of achievement for all students within the current, robust, budget. And this should not be a report that simply goes up on a website. The School Board should require themselves to take an up or down vote on those recommendations.
3. The County Board should meet in person again as soon as possible. As soon as the board and a handful of key county staff receives vaccinations, they should be able to end their emergency meeting procedures and resume in person meetings. This would show leadership as we all look toward getting back to normalcy.
4. At the same time, the County Board should adjust its rules to allow for virtual public comment on an ongoing basis. This hybrid approach would allow maximum public participation in a process using technology that is already available to us.
5. The County Board should scrap any notion of a pay raise this year. Last year, the Board originally planned to boost their salaries by $10,000. Then they almost, inadvertently according to county staff, put a smaller one in the budget last Spring. If they want to resume discussions of an appropriate pay scale moving forward, 2022 is the year to have that discussion.
6. The County Board should scrub the budget for unnecessary spending items, like the implementation of rank choice voting, and look for a way to cut the property tax rate. (The Board will not cut the tax rate, but if they want to help the community get fully back to work as quickly as possible, they should.)
7. The County Board should add a family pass back into its residential parking program. Any family with a live-in grandparent or adult child living at home should be allowed to purchase at least one extra street parking pass. This plan would alleviate concerns about a rental house full of unrelated people putting four cars on the street while accommodating families who are essentially being told to suck it up by county staff.
And finally, our elected officials should challenge themselves to get through an entire meeting without using buzz words. “Equity” and “missing middle” come to mind. Instead, please focus on explaining in concrete terms what you mean, what you plan to do it about it, and how it will impact the average household.
Mark Kelly is a long-time Arlington resident, former Arlington GOP Chairman and two-time Republican candidate for Arlington County Board.
Good Tuesday evening, Arlington. Let’s take a look back at today’s stories and a look forward to tomorrow’s event calendar. 🕗 News recap The following articles were published earlier today…
James Yoo, 56, is presumed dead as a result of the explosion of the duplex at 844 N. Burlington Street, in the Bluemont neighborhood, Arlington County police confirmed during a news conference this afternoon.
A land-use study teeing up an affordable housing redevelopment project in Aurora Highlands has generated significant interest as it nears completion.
Booeymonger in Ballston will be replaced by a new full-service Nepalese restaurant this spring, according to the incoming tenant.
About Latinas Leading Tomorrow (LLT): Latinas Leading Tomorrow is a dynamic 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering young Latina women through education, mentorship, and leadership development. We are committed to fostering a community of future leaders who will make a significant impact to the community.
Job Description: We are seeking a passionate and dedicated Part-time Executive Director to lead our organization into its next phase of growth and impact. The ideal candidate will be a visionary leader who can oversee day-to-day operations, drive fundraising efforts, and cultivate relationships with stakeholders. This is a 1099 position; Remote position with ability to attend DMV events; 8-10 hours a week; $35-40/per hour.
Oversee program operations, including educational and community initiatives.
Ensure compliance with legal and regulatory requirements, maintaining trust and accountability.
Develop and execute a strategic vision aligned with our mission and values.
Lead fundraising efforts in partnership with the Board Members.
Cultivate relationships with community partners, schools, educators, and donors.
Demonstrate strong leadership skills, fostering a positive organizational culture.
Communicate effectively with diverse stakeholders and make compelling public presentations.
Promote inclusivity and collaboration throughout the organization.
Children’s Weekday Program (CWP) is a non-profit preschool rooted in a play-based philosophy. We focus on developing a love of learning and exploration, cooperation, empathy, and independence.
Our caring and experienced educators create opportunities for children 16 months to 5 years old to play, learn, and grow in a nurturing environment of child-centered and developmentally appropriate experiences.
Initially established more than 50 years ago in South Arlington, CWP continues to be a lauded program in the Northern Virginia area. We are extremely proud to have been recognized as a Best Preschool in Northern Virginia Magazine for the last 4 years.
Located now in North Arlington at 2666 Military Road, CWP offers a part-time parents day out and preschool program with options to extend care both before and after school. We offer a supportive and inclusive school community for children and parents alike and welcome all families to join our school!
Holiday Art Show featuring artists: Peter Fitzgerald, Claire Plante, Alanna Rivera, and Suzy Scollon. At the Barcroft Community House, 800 South Buchanan St., Arlington, VA. Dec. 8 from, 2 PM to 8 PM and Dec. 9 from 10 AM to