<b>School Bond Drops Slightly</b>
Arlington School Board members voted unanimously Monday to cut almost one million dollars from the school portion of the bond referendum in November.
Early projections overestimated the cost of renovations at Claremont Elementary School, Superintendent Robert Smith told board members, resulting in $1 million available to the board. An additional $978,500 should be used to cut bond funding for renovations at five schools next year, Smith said. Work would instead be funded with money available from Claremont.
As a result of the cuts, Arlington schools will ask for $79 million in the bond referendum on the Nov. 5 ballot – still the largest bond request from the schools in the last 14 years. The cuts mean the overall bond request, including county funding, would be for $160 million.
By a 4-1 vote, school board members also approved a revenue-sharing agreement with the county for coming years, a plan that would give the schools 48.6 percent of tax revenues collected by the county.
In the next budget year, property assessments are expected to rise by 9 percent. If taxes do not fall, and the county board does not cut the tax rate, that would increase school funding by $21 million, giving the schools a total of $257 million in county funding next year.
Board member Dave Foster was the lone vote against the revenue-sharing agreement, despite supporting the plan. His "nay" vote came, Foster said, because he wanted to see a citizen’s committee advising the board on budget issues. Without more concrete discussion of such a committee, he said, he couldn’t approve the agreement.
<b>Smith Gets Raise</b>
Following his annual performance review on Friday, June 24, Arlington Schools Superintendent Robert Smith got an assurance that he had done a good job: a raise.
Elaine Furlow, the new school Board chair, announced Monday, July 1, that the board had approved a $180,000 salary for Smith, starting on Monday. The salary represents a 9.8 percent increase over Smith’s salary last year, $163,000. Smith also received increased contributions to his retirement fund, as mandated by federal law.
Other Northern Virginia superintendents have seen their salaries increase in the last month. In Loudoun, superintendent Edgar B. Hatrick’s salary also went up 9.7 percent, going from $159,500 last year to $175,000 this year. Edward L. Kelly, superintendent of Prince William County Schools, received a 7.2 percent raise last month, increasing his salary from $152,000 to 163,000.
<b>Board Approves Traffic Calming Projects</b>
Last week, the County Board Saturday approved recommendations from the Neighborhood Traffic Committee for traffic calming projects in six civic associations, totaling $506,000.
Funding underscores the county commitment to keeping Arlington streets safe, said Chris Zimmerman, Arlington County Board Chair
The board approved projects in the Bluemont, Rock Spring, Arlington Heights, Waverly Hills, Cherrydale and Ballston-Virginia Square neighborhoods.
Bluemont Civic Association: The installation of speed humps along North Vermont Street between Wilson Boulevard and North Carlin Springs Road. Cost: $18,000.
Rock Spring Civic Association: The project realigns the Rock Spring Road-Little Falls Road intersection with a nub and textured crosswalk at the southeast corner; installing three sets of speed cushions on Rock Spring Road between Little Falls Road and Old Dominion Drive and trimming and removing trees at the Dickerson Street-Rock Springs Road intersection to improve visibility. Cost: $50,000.
Arlington Heights Civic Association: The project places nubs, textured pavement and crosswalks at the South Highland Street-7th Street South intersection; narrowing the 9th Street approach to the South Highland Street-9th Street South intersection; adding nubs, a raised crosswalk and textured crosswalks along South Highland Street; installing speed humps and raised crosswalks at appropriate locations along South Highland Street; and adding enhanced pedestrian warning signs and other signage improvements. Cost: $260,000.
Waverly Hills, Cherrydale and Ballston-Virginia Square Civic Associations: The project puts a textured crosswalk on Utah Street at North Washington Boulevard; two speed humps (one each north and south of 13th Street North); pavement marking on the I-66 bridge; four textured crosswalks at the Utah Street-15th Street intersection; four traffic circles on Utah Street at 16th, 17th, 18th and 19th Streets North; realignment of the "S" curve of Utah Street at 19th Road North; two speed cushions between 19th Road North and Lee Highway and a textured crosswalk on Utah Street at Lee Highway. Cost: $178,000.
<b>Board Sets 2002-03 Meetings</b>
School Board members adopted their calendar of meetings for the next year on Monday. All meetings begin at 7:30 p.m. unless otherwise noted.
Meeting dates for the next year are as follows:
In 2002: Aug. 20; Sept. 12, Sept. 26, Oct. 10, Oct. 31, Nov. 21, Dec. 5, Dec. 19.
In 2003: Jan. 9, Jan. 23, Feb. 6, Feb. 20, March 6, March 20, April 3, April 10, April 24, My 8, May 22, June 5, June 17.