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Where Much of Your Taxes Go: Arlington County's Public Schools

Three days ago, we growled that Arlington had the highest cost schools in Virginia for the 2003-2004 school year. That #1 ranking is likely to remain Arlington's. Last night, in a 4-1 vote, the Arlington School Board approved the FY 2007 budget that increases operating expenditures by 8.2% (staff report for agenda item E.1) even though enrollment will decrease by 148 students (0.8%), according to the Superintendentís proposed FY 2007 budget.

According to the latest data from the U.S. Department of Labor, the year-to-year inflation is 3.4% (CPI-U). In explaining his vote to fellow Board members, Dave Foster said, among other things, that he was concerned about the rate of growth in the school budget while Frank Wilson said he grew up poor and understands the value of a dollar. Libby Garvey said the Board was doing what the community wants. The previous week, we growled that we looked forward to the results of the school efficiency review when it is finally conducted. As explained in the Schools' press release, the School Board actually increased the Superintendent's proposed budget by $1.6 million.