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Laurel for the Arlington County School Board

ACTA’s president, Tim Wise, testified at this evening’s public hearing on the School Board's proposed FY 2007 budget. He noted that because of the schools’ high cost structure, e.g., the cost-per-pupil for FY 2007 will be at least $17,923 (WABE method), an increase of 8.9%, the School Board puts at risk its strategic objective of building effective relationships with the community. Wise noted that as of March 16, 2006 ten Virginia school districts (Adobe required) have undergone school efficiency reviews. The reviews are performed at no cost to the school districts under an initiative started by former Governor Mark Warner. While school districts undergo various reviews, none look at how well schools management use taxpayers’ money. Consequently, Wise recommended that when the School Board formally adopts their budget next month, they direct the Superintendent to arrange for a school efficiency review.

After ACTA’s recommendation, School Board chairman Dave Foster noted the School Board is waiting for a new computer software system to be installed before looking into a school efficiency review. Since ACTA recommended more than a year ago that an efficiency review be performed, we congratulate Dave Foster and the School Board for their decision, and we look forward to learning how efficient Arlington schools management is at using our tax dollars.

While at the Virginia Cost Cutting blog this evening, a comment by William Goodwin, who serves on Richmond major Wilder’s education advisory committee, seems especially appropriate. In response to Richmond’s “higher than state average per pupil education spending, the Richmond Times-Dispatch wrote, “Goodwin said energy should be spent looking at ways to reduce high spending, not attempting to justify it.”