Best Schools for Everyone — at a Cost
With an increase of more than 2,500 students (a 3.8% increase), the LCPS last week approved a budget of $860 million — about $37 million more than last year, a 4.5% increase. That comes after more than $16 million in reductions from Superintendent Hatrick’s proposed budget, primarily in reductions in IT outlays and health plan expenses. Jill Turgeon’s Face Book post has more, but below is what I’ve culled from it:
* No existing positions or programs were cut [although it appears that new positions were cut including five bus drivers and an assistant principal].
*There were no discussions of closing ANY of the schools. [Personally, I don’t see why Lincoln Elementary got off the hook]
*The health care plan that was recommended by the Personnel Committee was adopted.
* Other reductions included a reduction of new vehicle purchases for the vehicle fleet, as well as operation and maintenance line items in the Support Services and Planning departments.
* Included in the proposed budget is a $12 million placeholder for employee compensation increases.
I certainly appreciate all the hardwork of our board members in keeping costs under control. I really do. On the other hand, I can’t help thinking that, with an average expense of $12,000 per student which increases disproportionately with the number of students, an aggressive voucher program could be a better way of controlling costs (in other words, outsource it all). Indeed, the tuition at many good private schools is less than $12K. Public schools simply are doing something wrong if they can’t achieve greater cost efficiencies than the smaller private schools. It’s not a knock on the LCPS per se since virtually all school districts in northern Virginia are that way. It’s just that the “math” doesn’t seem to add up.