Hard Questions for Arlington Public Schools

Democratic candidates for local office issued a press release the other day promising to deal with Arlington’s enrollment crisis.

Unfortunately they will not be able to meet the challenge under Arlington Public School’s (APS) recently adopted capital budget, as it projects a 2,500 seat deficit even AFTER spending $383 million to produce 4,000 additional seats.

To address the crisis, School Board ought to ask the Superintendent some hard questions:

  • Why does it cost Arlington $2 million to build a new classroom, when it costs Alexandria $900,000?
  • Why does it cost Arlington $50 million to provide a new elementary school when it costs Fairfax County $20 million?
  • Why does Arlington spend $5,000 more per pupil per year than Fairfax County?
  • Why are voters asked to approve a $105 million school bond without knowing how half the money is going to be spent?

Arlington County Board should ask some hard questions too.

  • Why has APS never addressed the 2012 Virginia Department of Education report which concluded that APS administration is top heavy with eight assistant superintendents to Richmond’s three?
  • Why does the 2014 Virginia Report Card show that disadvantaged students in Arlington perform less well than other disadvantaged students statewide?
  • Why has APS despoiled green space at all its recent construction sites to put in parking despite the County’s car free diet policy?

Arlington ought to elect an independent to School Board who will ask these questions and demand solutions that don’t break the budget.

If elected, I will work with my School Board colleagues to streamline the budget and guarantee success for all Arlington students. I will also encourage input from the public before key decisions are made. Vote CLEMENT on November 4.

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