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Letter: Where Best To Invest?

To the Editor:

On April 4, the Alexandria Gazette Packet reported that 27 people in the Central Administration of the Alexandria City Public School system — with its student population of just 13,000 — made a total of $3.6 million, or an average of over $133,000 each.

Those salaries are a cost, one paid by the city’s taxpayers. That being the case, it would be helpful to know what portion of the school budget those salaries represent. Per-pupil spending in Alexandria has historically been among the highest in the country; the national average in 2010 was just less than $11,000 compared to Alexandria’s $18,000. To what measure do these salaries contribute to that higher spending?

Costs are generally intended to yield benefits. How are these administrators measurably contributing, in proportion to the salaries they receive, to improvements in the education of youth in the city — lest it be forgotten, the sole purpose of the school system? As we all know, that system has consistently ranked among the lowest performers region-, state-, and nationwide.

So, high costs and low achievement. How does the system explain this imbalance? And what are these well-paid out-of-the classroom bureaucrats doing to redress the situation? Wouldn’t our tax dollars be better invested directly in the schools (principals) and in the classrooms (teachers)?

Judy Navarro

Alexandria