School Briefs

School Briefs

sh>Pay Boost for Schools' Chief

<bt>The Arlington School Board voted 3-2 on Tuesday night to increase Superintendent Robert Smith's salary by 7 percent, bringing his annual pay to $210,204.

Smith had requested the raise, which he said would bring his salary increase in line with other Arlington school administrators. Smith's contract guarantees a cost-of-living adjustment of 3 percent, but this action added an additional 4 percent increase.

The superintendent's four-year contract runs through June 2007. A similar salary adjustment was approved during Smith's previous contract, which was renewed in 2003.

<sh>Architect Enjoys $727,000 Fee Increase

<bt>Arlington's school system will increase the pay for the Washinton-Lee High School project's architect by $727,725, bringing the firm's contract total to $4,333,931.

The School Board approved the pay increase at its Tuesday meeting. The architecture firm, Grimm and Parker, asked for more cash because the project had grown in scope since the original negotiations in early 2004.

Among the project's enhancements are an expansion of the pool, a commitment to certifying the building as environmentally friendly, the addition of a balcony and a large group instruction space. Additionally, the project is expected to take longer than originally anticipated.

<sh>Kilgore's MS-13 Claim Debunked

<bt>In remarks last week, Republican gubernatorial candidate Jerry Kilgore claimed the street gang MS-13 had ties to the international terrorist organization al-Qaeda.

But on Monday, Arlington Commonwealth's Attorney Richard Trodden said Kilgore is simply trying to score political points by playing on voters' fears.

"It certainly was a thunderbolt to me," Trodden said. "The governor candidate must know something I do not. This is news to me."

Trodden, speaking on a conference call sponsored by the Democratic Party of Virginia, said the MS-13/al-Qaeda link has been debunked.

"We're not going to have international intrigue in most of our gang cases," he said.

While on a Charlottesville radio program Thursday, Kilgore said MS-13 was "working in partnership" with al-Qaeda.