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Protesting Too Much?

On March 15 of last month, we growled that since 2002 the county government became 6.8% more productive while the Arlington Public Schools became 13.1% less productive.

It seems some of the numbers that we based our calculations on were not entirely comparable. As least according to APS finance personnel who responded to “school board question #53.” In that growls, we used the “fiscal indicators” on page 394 in the Manager’s FY 2011 proposed budget. In our March 15, growls, we said APS productivity had decreased 13.1%.

However, using the revised enrollment and FTE data that APS finance personnel provided to the School Board in the response to question #53, APS productivity still decreased by 2.3% since 2002.

Since APS schools personnel emphasized the use of comparable data, we turned to the Washington Area Boards of Education report for FY 2010, and computed the productivity for each WABE school district. The following numbers provide the number of school district personnel (measured in full-time equivalent. FTE, personnel) per 1,000 students.:

      School District                  FTE per 1,000 students
  • Alexandria                              161.49
  • Arlington                                168.95
  • Fairfax County                       128.97
  • Falls Church                            179.66
  • Loudoun                                   130.84
  • Manassas City                           127.24
  • Montgomery County               132.04
  • Prince George's                        121.51
  • Prince William                          110.53

Staff provided School Board members some of the factors that have affected productivity since 2002, e.g., class sizes, addition of SOL remediation, changes in planning factors, etc. However, for a school district with among the highest costs per student, we would expect the school board and school district management to be far more sensitive about reaching further into the pockets of Arlington County taxpayers.

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