I attended the Civic Federation's monthly meeting last week and it appears that Superintendent Murphy finally has a dim realization (reinforced by pointed questions from CivFed delegates) that he and APS can't continue to spend wastefully, extravagantly, and unnecessarily. Based on what APS insiders tell me, the County won't have the revenues to keep funding the ever-increasing number of Pat Murphy's pet programs, projects, and special interests.
So, what do these include? First, there's the more than $1 million that APS has spent on the PR effort to have Murphy named America's "Schools Superintendent of the Year". Next, add the ongoing residency exemptions for County employees including at least 400 students at a cost of about $8 million. Murphy's preference for hiring new teachers with advanced degrees and at least 10 years experience costs Arlington taxpayers at least another $10 million each year....although he has no data to substantiate whether teachers with bachelors degrees and several years experience teach as well. Then there are the myriad special programs that serve a few students and cost $30,000-and-up per student per year. Then there's the open-ended invitation to enroll refugee children and young adults from Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador, and other countries currently undergoing serious civil unrest. Three hundred refugee students were enrolled last year at a cost of about $6 million.
Then there's "More Seats for Students", Pat Murphy's ambitious program to provide an expensive brick-and-mortar classroom for every one of Arlington's students, at 22 students per classroom. Concomitant with "More Seats for Students" is "More Parking for Parents", another ambitious program to provide large new parking lots and drop-off space for parents, teachers, and staff who want to drive themselves or their children to school. This in addition to an expensive school bus transportation system that typically operates at 5% to 50% of capacity.
Also, APS is funding increasingly extravagant high school sports and activity programs. And APS is top-heavy with administrative staff.
Have I reached $50 million per year in wasteful, extravagant, and unnecessary spending yet?
APS insiders, i.e., teachers who are truly concerned about education, mince no words about Patrick Murphy's misplaced spending priorities. As one of them recently stated to me - "the amount of money APS wastes every year could fully fund the operation of school systems in two small counties downstate."
Thank you for this blog.