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by Katie Pyzyk — December 5, 2016 at 2:55 pm 0

Startup Monday header

Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.

Leaf College SavingsThe skyrocketing cost of higher education can make saving and paying for college overwhelming. So you might want to “leaf” the burden to the experts.

Leaf College Savings co-founders Juan Aguilar, Chris Duffus and Josh Bixler set out with the goal of making it easier to save for college. More specifically, they wanted to find an easier way to give the gift of college savings because, as Aguilar says, “it’s a complicated web out there of college savings.”

The collaborators previously had been colleagues at another Arlington business and regrouped a few years after that company sold. Leaf has been around for about three years now and the Rosslyn-based business has nearly 20 employees.

Leaf enables people to purchase an FDIC-insured gift card which transfers money directly into any 529 college savings plan. If the recipient doesn’t have a college savings account, the business will help set one up.

“It’s a gift that says something very special and very specific,” Aguilar says.

Another option Leaf offers is for an employer to allow payroll contributions to go toward a college savings gift, in a similar way to how a 401(k) works.

“That’s the headache we’re solving right now,” says Aguilar. “The gift card is one idea, a payroll deduction… is idea number two.”

Aguilar points out that children are more likely to pursue higher education if they have some savings set aside for it. He says Leaf offers ways to start saving early — for example, by giving one of the gift cards at a baby shower — and all of the contributions will add up over the child’s lifetime.

“We’re not trying to say a gift card will pay for every dime. But we say that every little bit helps and you need to get started somewhere,” he says. “Over time it will grow into something, which is certainly better than not having made a plan or waiting until it’s too late.”

The business continues to evolve and improve based on feedback from customers and research on changes and trends for savings plans. Employees currently are devising a payroll benefits program to help workers pay off their student loans. Leaf is working on the idea with companies interested in using such a benefit as a recruitment and retention incentive.

“The amount of college debt is staggering,” Aguilar says. “Companies love the idea of college savings and helping employees with student loans.”

As a testament to the benefits Leaf provides, Aguilar says he uses the services for his own kids.

“On a personal level, being able to use Leaf myself… it’s good to see the product work and that it really helps people,” he says. “I’m happy that we’re helping people save for college.”

by ARLnow.com — October 27, 2016 at 3:35 pm 0

Williamsburg Middle School (photo via APS)(Updated at 8:50 a.m.) In 2012 Arlington Public Schools considered, and then scrapped, a proposal to move middle schools to block scheduling. Four years later, the issue is coming up again at Williamsburg Middle School.

Block scheduling introduces longer periods for core classes — math, English, science, etc. — reducing the number of classes per day attended by students and increasing instruction time. Critics, however, say that longer classes can detrimental to students, especially those with shorter attention spans. They also say that longer core classes cut into electives like music.

In response to an inquiry from ARLnow.com, prompted by emails to us from parents, Williamsburg principal Gordon Laurie confirmed that block scheduling is under consideration. School staff will be presenting a proposal to parents at a meeting in two weeks, he said.

Here’s a statement from Laurie:

We have been considering the block schedule as a staff since January 2016 to provide for an Arlington Tiered System of Supports (ATSS) period in the day as a way to meet the needs of all students’ academic, behavioral, and emotional needs.  Our goal with considering block scheduling is to make sure that we can provide individualized supports and to provided individualized learning to our students.

We convened a faculty committee to examine the block schedule and how it might benefit all students and Williamsburg. We also invited APS teachers from schools that use the block schedule system to visit with their teacher peers and talk to them in their content areas about their experience. We shared the process with the Williamsburg community last February to gather their feedback.

As the process evolved, it became clear that we were too far along in our school year to undertake and implement a new bell schedule for this school year (2016-17). Williamsburg staff began discussing block scheduling again this year as a way to provide additional supports to students. Staff has put together a proposal to share with Williamsburg families at a meeting on Wednesday, November 9 at 7 p.m. During that meeting, we will seek input, provide clarity and answer questions. No final decisions have been made at this point.

Parents who contacted ARLnow.com about the block scheduling said they had been kept in the dark about it and only found out when word leaked out following a school staff meeting yesterday.

Block scheduling has been in place at Arlington’s high schools for at least a few years. It is in place at Kenmore Middle School but not at other local middle schools, an Arlington Public Schools spokesman said.

by Adrian Cruz — August 10, 2016 at 5:30 pm 0

global assemblyArlington is set to get an outpost of a global company that focuses on tech education.

General Assembly is opening a campus in a yet-to-be-determined location in the county, company spokeswoman Lauren Roberts said today. The outpost is slated to arrive by the end of the year, along with nine other new campuses around the world.

At General Assembly, students can hone their computer skills — including coding, design and digital marketing — through short courses and 12-week “boot camp” classes online and in 15 campuses, including outposts in D.C., New York, London and Hong Kong.

“General Assembly is choosing to open new campuses in less traditional tech hotspots to increase accessibility for those looking to obtain in-demand digital skills,” Roberts said in an email. “Companies outside the Silicon Alleys and Valleys of the world can now leverage GA to hire a more diverse talent as well.”

Before the Arlington campus opens, General Assembly is scheduled to hold classes and workshops throughout Northern Virginia, including in Crystal City and Rosslyn.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

by Jennifer Currier — December 1, 2015 at 6:00 pm 0

Test Taking (file photo)Yorktown High School will offer the Preliminary SAT in the spring for students with disabilities as part of an agreement resolving a complaint made by a Yorktown parent to the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.

Typically taken by high school sophomores and juniors, the PSAT is a practice test for the SAT. Those with do exceptionally well could qualify for the National Merit Scholarship Program and win college tuition money.

Michelle Buehlmann filed the federal complaint in early October after her daughter was unable to take the PSAT earlier this fall.

Her daughter is a sophomore with a 504 Plan, an education plan for students who have disabilities but do not require special education services. In order for her to take the test, special accommodations that followed her 504 would need to be approved by the College Board, which coordinates the PSAT.

Applying for those accommodations is typically a responsibility taken on by the schools.

Buehlmann said once she realized Yorktown hadn’t applied and hadn’t informed her or her husband they would have to apply themselves, she filed the complaint.

“When I became aware that the school made the decision just to not apply and not tell us, I told them it wasn’t right and decided to file,” she explained. “It really was an honest misunderstanding and I’m sure a lot of it was miscommunication, but now we’re making sure something is done.”

Yesterday morning, Buehlmann and APS came to an early complaint resolution agreement in a meeting facilitated by the DOE. The agreement includes provisions for both Yorktown and the County to address this issue.

Not only will Yorktown administer the PSAT again in the spring for students with disabilities, but it also agreed to notify students and their parents about the test this week. In addition, the school will help them apply to the College Board for accommodations, a process that must be completed by Dec. 15.

In the long term, APS agreed to notify parents of 8th, 9th and 10th grade students with disabilities about the process to request accommodations by May 1 every year. They also agreed to train county school counseling staff on this application process.

Buehlmann said she was pleased with the complaint process overall and the final agreement they reached.

“Everyone handled the situation very well, and both agencies got their job done efficiently and effectively,” she said. “I think it’s a great example of how a large bureaucracy like the DOE and a big institution like APS can work well with parents to get a job done.”

An Arlington Public Schools spokesman declined to comment.

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by Heather Mongilio — August 21, 2015 at 4:45 pm 1,248 0

An AHC volunteer tutor with her student(Updated at 4:55 p.m.) AHC, an affordable housing developer, is seeking volunteers for its education program.

The housing developer needs more than 160 volunteers for its program, which includes tutoring, college prep and after school help, said Celia Slater, communication manager for Arlington-based nonprofit.

“We are broadening our program, which is why we still need so many hands,” she said.

AHC’s education program aims to help students from low-income families graduate high school and attend college. All of the students in its education programs have graduated high school since 2008, according to its website.

This year, AHC will focus on its college prep part of the program, Slater said. Volunteers will help students practice for standardized tests, like the SAT or ACT, apply for financial aid and fill out college applications.

“We’ve realized it takes a lot of extra one-on-one time to work with students to fill out applications for college, financial aid and scholarships,” she said.

Last year, all nine of the high school students in the program applied and were accepted to colleges, Slater said.

“We are also proud that they earned nearly $50,000 in scholarships and grants, which made a huge difference in them being able to actually afford college,” she said.

AHC is also looking for volunteers for its teen tutoring and after school programs.

With teen tutoring, volunteers will work one-on-one with one of the program’s middle or high school students from 6:30-7:30 p.m. every week. Volunteers work with one student for the school year to help him or her work toward graduating high school.

“The combination of enriching field trips, one-on-one mentoring and community service projects broadens students’ world view and inspires them to reach for the stars,” according to AHC’s website.

The after school program runs Monday through Thursday from 3-6 p.m. and works with elementary school children on vocabulary, reading and writing skills. Volunteers also help children with their homework.

“Our 20+ year-old program, really works. One hundred [percent] of our seniors graduate from high school, most go to college, and elementary students significantly increase reading and math skills,” Slater said in an email. “Volunteers are key to students’ success!”

Those interested in volunteering can fill out a contact form on AHC’s volunteer page or contact Cindy Rozón by calling 703-486-0626, ext. 154 or emailing her at [email protected].

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by Heather Mongilio — August 19, 2015 at 11:00 am 1,385 0

TEDx-Arlington-white-e1425054398860TedX event in Arlington this fall will feature nine speakers, including a transgender teen, an 11-year-old YouTube vlogger and the founder of a local nonprofit.

TedXArlington is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Oct. 3 at the Rosslyn Spectrum Theatre (1611 N. Kent Street), and tickets are $75. The theme of this year’s conference is “Connectedness.”

“Connectedness means building community through connections and networks. At TEDxArlington, we will explore connectedness from different layered perspectives including family, neighbors, community — even strangers — and from the lens of science, nature, art, technology, culture, history, athletics, work and more,” according to the TedXArlington website.

Each speaker will give a talk or presentation about different topics that all have to do with connectedness.

Speakers include:

  • Norton Beckerman — The author of “A User’s Guide to a Healthy Brain,” Beckerman will give a talk about cognition and tell the story of how he bounced back from a loss of cognitive function.
  • Kristina Dorville — Dorville, the chief of the Department of Homeland Security’s Cyber Education and Awareness branch, will discuss cybersecurity and cyber safety.
  • Patricia Funegra — Funegra, the founder of non-profit La Cocina, will talk about creating jobs for minority communities through food.
  • Adryann Glenn — Glenn will discuss how he turned his life around after serving three years in jail.
  • Lisa Nisenson — Nisenson will look at how transportation connects people.
  • Evie Priestman — Priestman will talk about his journey from female to male and the support he received.
  • Carolyn Rickard-Brideau — Rickard-Brideau will share how buildings are connected and impact daily physical and mental health.
  • Elizabeth Tippens — Tippens will show how she uses her YouTube channel to connect kids and local Arlington businesses.
  • John Wanda — Wanda will speak about the Arlington Academy of Hope, which helps children in rural Uganda.

by Mariah Joyce — July 15, 2015 at 3:45 pm 1,119 0

Lynda[dot]comArlington Public Library’s Lynda.com educational video service is now available to any resident with a library card and an internet connection.

The library has subscribed to Lynda.com, a website that offers almost 130,000 educational videos on topics ranging from marketing to graphic design to economics, for the past several years. However, until four months ago, the service was only accessible from a physical library location.

Library spokesman Peter Golkin says that has now changed.

“The Lynda videos can now be accessed anywhere there’s an internet connection — that’s made these much more useful and much more popular,” said Golkin. All library patrons need to do to access the service remotely is sign in with their library card and PIN number, according to the library website.

Golkin said the library had been trying to convince Lynda.com to allow remote access to the service for some time, and expressed excitement that the requests had finally come to fruition.

“It’s like grad school in a box,” said Golkin. “That’s what libraries are for — they’re shared public resources.”

by Andrea Swalec — September 11, 2014 at 12:00 pm 0

Sen. Tim Kaine promoted career and technical education Sept. 10, 2014 at a panel discussion held at the Capitol.Eliminating the stigma against technical education will help young Virginians get better jobs, Sen. Tim Kaine said at a panel discussion Wednesday afternoon at the Capitol, where two Arlington teachers spoke about their successes in the field.

Young people can get better-paying jobs if the perception of high school job-skills courses is changed from an option for failing students to a smart choice, Kaine said. The discussion was held by the national education coalition Advocates for Literacy and the Senate Career and Technical Education Caucus, of which Kaine is co-chair.

“This big-picture goal which our caucus is related to is de-stigmatizing [career and technical education] and making it really hot, sexy and cool,” he said. “Technical education is coming back strong and it’s something we can celebrate.”

Jeffrey Elkner and Sean Kinnard, both teachers at the Arlington Public Schools-run Arlington Career Center, described how giving youth practical skills motivates them.

“Students who would be turned off otherwise make real-world connections,” said Elkner, who teaches math and information technology at the career center. Located at 816 S. Walter Reed Drive, the school trains more than 1,100 students a day in programs including animal science, cosmetology and automotive technology.Arlington Career Center teachers Sean Kinnard, left, and Jeffrey Elkner spoke at the Capitol on Sept. 10, 2014 about their successes in career and technical education.

Kinnard spoke about a teen from Afghanistan who was disengaged in ordinary high school classes but had a passion for cars. After participating in the school’s two-year auto tech program, the teen now works for a Mercedes dealer.

“The program got him the industry credentials he needed to get his job,” said Kinnard, who teaches English as a Second Language.

Kaine described a disconnect between job seekers’ skills and the positions available.

“There’s a mismatch right now between the unemployment rate and positions going unfilled, and what that means is we’re not training people in the right skills,” he said. “[Career and technical education] is probably the best thing you can do to realign that so the skills match up with the needs.”

The junior senator introduced on Wednesday the Middle School Technical Education Program Act, which would encourage middle school students to explore technical career options and provide access to apprenticeships.

by Katie Pyzyk — November 26, 2013 at 8:45 am 1,782 0

Tightrope walker in Quincy Park

Strayer to Cut Tuition — Arlington based Strayer Education Inc. will cut undergraduate tuition for new students by up to 40 percent next year. The move is intended to curb declining enrollment. Total enrollment for the fall term was down 17 percent, while new enrollments fell by 23 percent. [Washington Business Journal]

Yorktown Loses in Quarterfinal — The Yorktown Patriots lost to the undefeated Lake Braddock Bruins in the Region 6A North quarterfinal regional game. The 40-7 loss left the Patriots finishing the season with a 9-3 record. This was the eighth straight year the Patriots advanced to the playoffs. [Sun Gazette]

Homophobic Message on Cake? — A couple in the District claims to have bought a cake at an Arlington bakery that sported a homophobic message. One woman ordered the cake for her partner, reportedly asking for a cluster of balloons to be replaced with the words “Happy Anniversary Lindsey! Love, Sarah.” Upon receiving the cake, it instead featured the sloppily written phrase “Lesbian Anniv. No Ballons.” The woman says she believes the mistake was intentional. The bakery was not identified by name. [The Gaily Grind, The Advocate]

by ARLnow.com — November 18, 2013 at 3:30 pm 1,388 0

FLES participation (courtesy FLES For All)A vocal group of parents who have been advocating for foreign language education in all Arlington elementary schools once again took their case to the County Board over the weekend.

The Sun Gazette reports that “several dozen” supporters of the Foreign Language in Elementary School (FLES) program showed up for the public comment period of Saturday’s Board meeting. They asked the Board to find a way to work with Arlington Public Schools and the School Board to expand FLES to the 9 schools that currently don’t have the program.

Meanwhile, a group called FLES For All released an open letter to county and school leaders over the weekend. The group, which claims 25-30 active members “who work weekly to educate and advocate on this issue,” blasted “educational inequity” in Arlington and called on the County Board to provide a greater share of tax revenue.

The full letter, after the jump.

Image via FLES For All

(more…)

by Katie Pyzyk — August 20, 2013 at 3:45 pm 1,582 0

aps_logoArlington Public Schools released its 2013 Standards of Learning (SOL) test results in conjunction with the Virginia Department of Education’s (VDOE) release of the statewide results. Although Arlington students performed better than their peers in most categories, they joined students across the state in a significant drop in English reading scores.

Arlington’s Grade 8 English reading pass rate this year is 77 percent, compared with 71 percent for all of Virginia. However, Arlington’s 8th graders scored a 90 percent pass rate last year.

A likely explanation for the local and statewide drop in English scores is the introduction of a more rigorous exam. The VDOE’s website says:

“The English and science SOL tests students took during 2012-2013 were the first to reflect the increased rigor of revised standards adopted in these subject areas by the Board of Education in 2010. Last year also marked the debut of online SOL writing tests, although all schools participated in a statewide field test of the assessments during 2011-2012. As expected, pass rates on the new tests were lower than in 2011-2012 on the now-retired assessments based on the 2002 English SOL and 2003 Science SOL.”

After reviewing the results, Arlington Superintendent Dr. Patrick Murphy said, “As we continue to focus on the goals outlined in our Strategic Plan, these results serve as a barometer for our work and progress at this point. It is clear that our instructional team is working to meet these higher standards to ensure that our students master the new, more challenging expectations. While work remains to ensure that all students are succeeding at all levels, these results are encouraging.”

Last year, similar drops were seen on math scores with the implementation of a more difficult math test. Math scores held relatively steady this year, with 8th graders scoring 67 percent, compared with 68 last year. This year’s 8th graders around the state scored 61 percent.

The full results for all subjects and grade levels in Arlington and in Virginia are available online.

by ARLnow.com — May 30, 2013 at 10:05 am 2,535 0

TEDxRosslyn logoArlington will host its very own TEDx conference on Sunday, June 9.

TEDxRosslyn will be held from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Top of the Town conference facility (1400 14th Street N.).

The theme of the independently-organized conference is “Imagining the Future.”

“TEDxRosslyn is a gathering of thought leaders and heads of industry that are using bold ideas and innovating methods to reshape our city and the rest of the world,” according to event organizers. “TEDxRosslyn will be a cumulation of in-person talks from amazing speakers, recorded videos from the official TED conference, and time and activities for the attendees to connect to each and hopefully create lasting relationships.”

Speakers at TEDxRosslyn will each deliver short talks, demonstrations or performances on a wide variety of topics. Scheduled speakers include:

  • Jenn Gustetic — Challenges and Prizes Progam Executive, NASA
  • Aneri Patel — Senior Associate, Energy Access at UN Foundation
  • Ashraf Khalil — Cairo-based Correspondent, The Times of London
  • Carmen Medina — Former Deputy Director for Intelligence, CIA
  • Eneida Alcalde — Executive Director, Ed-Futuro
  • Jacob Marshal — Senior Connector, More Partnerships
  • Joshua Haynes — Senior Development Technologist, USAID
  • Kara Shuler — Strategy and Innovation Senior Consultant, Deloitte
  • Liz Norton — Director, Stone Soup Films
  • Margot MacDonald — Singer/Songwriter
  • Michelle Zelsman — Director of Marketing and Communications, National Breast Cancer Coalition
  • Patrick Tucker — Deputy Editor, THE FUTURIST Magazine
  • P.D. Klein — Co-founder, FabLab DC
  • Robert Engelman — President, Worldwatch Institute
  • Sharon Terry — President and CEO, Genetic Alliance
  • Steve Davis — Director of Advanced Projects, SpaceX
  • Tim Cannon — Co-Founder, Grindhouse
  • Dan Brown — Author and Teacher
  • Alan Holden — Senior Consultant, Deloitte

Tickets for the event are $45 online. Video from TEDxRosslyn will also be streamed online.

by Katie Pyzyk — April 18, 2013 at 11:00 am 0

A CubeSat device (photo via Wikipedia)(Updated at 12:05 p.m.) Students at St. Thomas More Cathedral School (STM) are taking part in what has been dubbed “Mission Possible.” It’s a rare opportunity build a satellite and launch it into orbit.

According to an article published this week by Satnews.com, students will get assistance from a NASA Mission Manager in building a CubeSat, which is a miniature satellite used for space research. The satellite will collect data to be used for school research in math and science.

STM computer teacher Melissa Pore is helping to manage the project. She said yesterday was the official kick off and construction should begin in about two weeks.

“The really unique part about it is making the projects tie in to what’s already expected in the classroom, and giving that real world simulation for the kids,” Pore said. “Every student will have a part and will touch a piece of the hardware, whether they’re screwing in a bolt or putting together an onboard camera, they will all have a part.”

One of the things the satellite is expected to do is to take wide angle photos of small asteroids, of Earth and of St. Thomas More Cathedral School.

More than 60 high schools and universities participate in the CubeSat program, but STM would be the country’s first Pre-K through 8th grade elementary school to participate. The goal is to launch the CubeSat in late 2014.

STM received a donation of $10,000 to assist with the satellite launch from ATK Space Systems. The school has also received equipment such as solar panels and cameras from space industry donors. Anyone interested in donating additional resources or time to the project should contact Melissa Pore at [email protected]

CubeSat photo via Wikipedia

by Mark Kelly — March 28, 2013 at 2:45 pm 30 Comments

The Right Note is a weekly opinion column by published on Thursdays. The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

Mark KellyIt’s a busy week in Arlington with varied possible topics to discuss in this space. The governor signs a transportation bill and vetoes an Arlington hotel tax, the school boundary debate continues, there are three public forums to raise concerns with the County Board, and there’s Peter’s Take on Ken Cuccinelli.

Governor McDonnell signed the largest tax increase in Virginia history to pay for his transportation plan. It includes regional taxing authority and projected revenue from an online sales tax that may never materialize. While many on my side of the political fence did not support the tax plan, we are hoping that the new transportation dollars will go farther than they did on the $1 million bus stop here in Arlington.

The Governor vetoed the Arlington hotel tax which, somewhat surprisingly, made it through the General Assembly. Since the tax is paid by guests from other places, its rejection seems to come down to the fact that Arlington gets no special love from elected officials in Richmond. Of course, it seems the feeling is mutual.

There is no less enviable job in the world than being on any school board that has to change boundaries. No matter the overcrowding issues in any school, telling parents their children may have to move from one school to another is no easy task. The Arlington School Board hopes for consensus, but I imagine there are four board members who are glad they are not on the ballot this year.

Mr. Rousselot’s attack on Attorney General Cuccinelli was an over the top campaign scare tactic. Rousselot said that Cuccinelli “would exploit every opportunity to set Virginia’s women back 60 years to an era in which they were ‘stuck in the drudgery of domestic servitude.’” Certainly, for any voter who bases their vote on the issue of abortion, there is no doubt where the two candidates stand. To make the leap to “drudgery” and “domestic servitude” strains the bounds of credibility. For insight into the Attorney General’s view of women, before he ran for any office, see this Washington Post profile.

The County Board is holding three public forums this week. While many people have shown up with statements and questions, I think we have all learned by now that the Board will do what they want to do. If the public input fits into their agenda, all the better. If not, that will probably be okay with them too.

Mark Kelly is a former Arlington GOP Chairman and two-time Republican candidate for Arlington County Board.

by Mark Kelly — March 7, 2013 at 3:00 pm 1,102 39 Comments

The Right Note is a weekly opinion column by published on Thursdays. The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

Mark KellyAccording to Arlington County, it will cost $2,858 to produce records in response to a recent FOIA request on the Columbia Pike trolley project.

The FOIA request was for e-mails, memos and other specified documents between county staff, consultants and County Board members in regards to the preference of a particular station for the Skyline trolley stop, the location of the maintenance facility, traffic impacts on Columbia Pike during construction, economic development, and other issues.

Of that $2,858 cost, $2,341 would go to AECOM — the County’s consultant on the project and County Board member Chris Zimmerman’s new employer. The effective rate per hour for AECOM’s work is approximately $180 when you include their expenses and fees. Is it any wonder Zimmerman signed a consulting contract with them? Good work if you can get it.

The county’s share made up the additional $517, a bargain by comparison, at an hourly rate of just under $65 per hour.

No average citizen can fork over $2,858 for copies of these documents. The county seems to be hiding behind this cost to keep the documents out of public view, signaling an aversion to transparency when it comes to the massive project.

What the county staff should do is offer to provide all of their copies of the documents requested for $517. Since the county was in receipt of virtually all requested documents, this seems like a reasonable solution to provide an appropriate level of transparency.

Speaking of numbers that do not add up, the Arlington Public School superintendent recently released a proposed budget for next year.

The total topline spending number in Superintendent Murphy’s budget was $520.4 million. The total projected enrollment is 23,586. For those of you with calculators, that equals $22,063 per student.

According to the superintendent’s budget presentation, however, we will be spending $18,709 per pupil. So, the published amount provided to the public is $3,354 or 18% less than the actual amount.

By my quick “back of the envelope” calculations, it seems as though the superintendent only counts $441 million of the $520 million in his per pupil numbers. I can only assume from his presentation that state and federal aid do not count. However, based on Arlington’s median income, I think we can safely say that Arlington taxpayers pay more than their fair share of state and federal taxes. In other words, Arlingtonians are picking up this share of the school funding tab as well.

I am sure someone has a politically expedient explanation for why this spending does not count in the per pupil calculation. But, it seems disingenuous to people who care about things like accountability, transparency, or even math. This is coming from our school superintendent after all.

Regardless of whether you think we do not spend enough on our schools, too much, or just right, shouldn’t we be honest about what we are actually spending to educate each of our children?

Mark Kelly is a former Arlington GOP Chairman and two-time Republican candidate for Arlington County Board.

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