How Arlington County and Public Schools Work Together to Save Money
Arlington Public Schools (APS) and Arlington County have had a long and productive relationship built on cooperation for many years. The County and APS follow the agreed-upon principles of revenue sharing, and the two organizations collaborate and share resources in many areas. APS receives the largest portion of the County’s budget. With common goals and a collaborative working relationship, the County and APS achieve cost efficiencies that result in better services for fewer dollars.
Collaboration at Work
- The County Board and School Board established the Joint Facilities Advisory Commission (JFAC) to review the needs assessments and capital improvement plans and identify partnership opportunities between County and APS to maximize public benefit.
- The County also works with APS on specific school site expansion projects. Currently, the County and APS are collaborating on Walter Reed Elementary School and the Career Center.
- Arlington County and APS collaborate on a number of joint-use facilities, including Reed School/Westover Library, APS Career Center/Columbia Pike Library, Drew, Hoffman-Boston, Langston-Brown, Thomas Jefferson, Gunston, and swimming pools at the three APS high schools. The County’s Department of Parks & Recreation (DPR) is given priority in using school facilities (after APS programs) for community programs.
- The County and APS also collaborate on maintenance. For example, DPR manages the design, installation and maintenance of synthetic turf fields at APS facilities, saving cost for APS and resulting in consistent quality of playing surfaces for APS students and the public. DPR also manages a number of functions for APS, including mowing, irrigation and portable toilets. The County provides a number of services to APS, including refuse collection and trail maintenance, which results in safer routes to schools.
- Arlington Transit’s iRide program encourages students to take ART buses, providing discount fares through the iRide SmarTrip Card and transit information kiosks in schools.
- APS and County staff work together on Safe Routes to Schools, including jointly applying for federal grants.
- The joint Walk/Bike to School Day annual event promotes walking and bicycling to school.
- Arlington County and APS created the Advisory Committee on Transportation Choices (ACTC), which advises the Joint Committee on Transportation Choices (JCTC). The JCTC was established by the County and APS to develop and implement programs that further transportation choice for APS students, families and staff members.
Youth, Family and Community
- APS and Arlington County created the Arlington Partnership for Children, Youth and Families to improve the health, well-being, and safety of children, youth and families in Arlington.
- In addition, APS staff members serve on a number of Arlington committees to support students and the community, including the Project PEACE Steering Committee, the joint Mental Health Committee, and the 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness Steering Committee.
- The Child Care Initiative promotes the development of an inclusive, integrated child care system that effectively serves all families, with a focus on vulnerable populations. A Leadership Roundtable comprised of 22 parents, child care providers and educators reports to the County Board and School Board on the progress of the CCI action plan and makes recommendations to the boards.
- APS participates in several County initiatives, including Arlington Addiction Recovery Initiative (AARI) and the Department of Human Services’ (DHS) Bridges Out of Poverty. As part of the DHS initiative, APS has worked to streamline school registration for low-income and immigrant families at the APS Language Resource Center so families arrive with the proper documentation, immunizations and physical exam forms.
- Project Family is a child abuse prevention program that enables parents and children to learn together. Classes are held weekly at two APS elementary schools. The County, APS, and ChildFind collaborate to refer families to the program and appropriate school resources.
- Arlington County’s Department of Human Services (DHS) provides health services to APS, including nurses and clinic aides, who provide a full range of public health services for school-aged children and their families, including dental care and immunizations. DHS also provides school-based mental health therapists to assist students and their families. A DHS pediatrician provides consultation and physical exams for students who are uninsured.
- Arlington County’s Department of Parks & Recreation (DPR) provides a number of after-school programs for teens and children to support the development of life sills and social competencies. High school students with disabilities are enrolled in Life Skills classes.
- Arlington Public Libraries conducts a number of book discussion programs in elementary, middle and high schools.
- APS and Arlington County collaborate to bring news and information to residents through The Citizen newsletter. Both organizations share proportionately with production and postage costs, which is approximately 25 cents a copy, to send to every household in Arlington.
- The Arlington County Police Department provides school resource officers (SROs) and school crossing guards. The SRO Program focuses on developing positive relationships between law enforcement and the students of Arlington County. Through community outreach activities within the schools, the program helps students, parents and educators develop a better understanding of law enforcement’s role in the community. They also work closely with school staff to promote public safety initiatives aimed at keeping our students safe in school, at home and in the community.
- ConnectArlington is a fiber-optic, high-speed network that links County and APS buildings, ensuring that the government, the schools and the community will benefit as demand for digital services increases.
- Arlington County performs full service fleet management services for 132 school buses and 107 other APS support vehicles. This service includes vehicle maintenance and vehicle replacement including procurement and financing based on a depreciation schedule.
- Arlington County and APS have combined resources on risk management to better serve both organizations. Combining resources has allowed APS to hire a safety officer to provide routine inspections, such as fire, life-safety and playground inspections. This collaboration has also allowed both the County and the APS to be better positioned to buy insurance. According to APS risk management officer, APS and Arlington have pooled their property risk to lower by a significant amount the premiums each pay.
- The APS Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provides services to both APS and Arlington County employees and their families who may have problems which affect job performance. Counselors work one-on-one with employees referred to EAP.
- Likewise, contracts for health care and property insurance for both organizations are bid jointly, resulting in resource and cost savings. APS rides on the County’s trash and recycling contracts managed by the Solid Waste Bureau (Dept. of Environmental Services).
- Allocation of funds for Abingdon Elementary School Renovation/Addition, from Joint Fund (02-25-2016)
- Ashlawn Elementary School Renovation/Addition (revised), from Joint Fund (05-27-2015)
- New Elementary School on Williamsburg Middle School Campus, from Joint Fund (03-25-2014)
- Thomas Jefferson Joint Use Facility Foundation Wall Repair, from Joint Fund (03-05-2014)
- Ashlawn Elementary School Renovation/Addition (original), from Joint Fund (02-20-2014)