To the editor:
Here we go again! Another budget season is upon us. Property assessments are unexpectedly going to be higher in 2011, thereby resulting in a revenue windfall of some $20 million. Our city council members are already recommending that we give half of it to the schools as a revenue sharing program, according to a Washington Post article. You couldnt make this up! I say thats just more money down a sink hole. Wouldnt a novel approach be to return the funds to the taxpaying residents?
Every year when you open the budget request from ACPS you can be guaranteed that they will ask for an additional $10 million over what was appropriated the previous year. Its like clock work. We just keep throwing money at the schools to no avail. Its about time we did something positive and dynamic.
Several years ago I suggested that we turn over the entire Alexandria City Public Schools to Fairfax County. I thought it was a good idea then and I think it is an even better idea now. After reading all of the recent rhetoric concerning the mismanagement of the Alexandria school system, I am convinced that the only solution is to do away with the defunct and clueless school board and its ineffective school superintendent. Our young students would be the real beneficiaries.
The Fairfax County Public Schools system is the 12th largest in the country. Ninety-two percent of its graduates continue on to postsecondary education. Their SAT averages exceed both the state and national averages.
In addition, Fairfax, with its current enrollment of 166,000 students, could easily absorb our small school system, which is projected to rise to about 13,500 students. Fairfax City is also a self-incorporated city just like Alexandria. They pay Fairfax County to run their schools. A precedent has already been set so lets make a deal.
The cost per pupil in Fairfax County is $12,898, compared to Alexandrias $18,003. That means that the city could save roughly $5,000 per student or $67.5 million per year. Even after giving Fairfax County a reasonable fee to absorb our system into theirs, we will be way ahead monetarily. Not only will we make money on the deal but our youngsters will receive a first rate education.