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. Local revenues are shared according to the County Board’s guidance for budget planning and revenue sharing, and the two organizations cooperate and share resources in many other ways as well. APS receives the largest portion of the County’s budget.
Better Services, Fewer Dollars
Arlington County and APS collaborate and share resources in many areas. With our shared goals and collaborative working relationship, we’re able to achieve cost efficiencies that result in better services for fewer dollars.
Arlington County and APS staff continue to look for even more ways to collaborate, share resources, and gain efficiencies. Both Boards — Arlington County Board and Arlington School Board — signed a joint Memorandum of Understanding on Collaboration that formalizes the collaborative work that has taken place for the past decade or more. The agreement also calls for the two boards to meet two times a year to review the annual work plan and to discuss progress that has been made on collaborative projects. The ongoing effort includes a joint committee, which created and maintains a work plan and provides briefings for County and School Boards.
Examples of Collaboration at Work
- 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 serve on a number of Arlington initiatives designed to support students and the community. These include the Project PEACE Steering Committee, the joint Mental Health Committee, and the 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness Steering Committee.
- Arlington County’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources provides a number of after school programs for teens and younger children, to support the development of life sills and social competencies. High school students with disabilities are enrolled in Life Skills classes.
- 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. In 2010, APS & County plan to apply for Safe Routes to Schools grant funding for improvements on Carlin Springs Road, focused on Kenmore Middle School. The joint Walk/Bike to School Day annual event promotes walking and bicycling to school.
- Arlington Public Libraries conducts a number of book discussion programs in elementary, middle and high schools.
- APS and Arlington County collaborate bi-monthly to bring up-to-date news and information to residents through the joint production of 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.
- County & 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 our 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.
- We 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.
Health and Safety
- 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.
- 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 conceived, designed, and constructed a new Network Data and Operations Center to serve both County and Schools. The new center is energy efficient, secure and scalable, and will serve the technology needs of the Arlington Public Schools and the County government well into the future. APS provided unused warehouse space to house the new center. In addition to collaborating on software and hardware solutions, APS and Arlington County IT staff continues to look for new and innovative ways to use technology to support students, parents and staff.
- 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. The County also maintains vehicle fueling apparatus in two locations, purchases gasoline, diesel and CNG fuels and manages the fuel accounting system.
- 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)