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Arlington Class Sizes Would Increase Under Superintendent's Plan

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By Jonathan Wilson

In Virginia, Arlington County School Board members are digesting the budget proposal laid out by Superintendent Pat Murphy.

The district has to close a projected $12 million shortfall.

Murphy's plan includes a class size increase for most grade levels, and major funding cuts for transportation, overtime and teacher support programs.

Murphy says more cuts could come in areas like math coaching, instruction for gifted students and technology support staff if legislators make more reductions in state funding.

"We don't want to go there," says Murphy, "but the reality is we may need to have a conversation about that in the future."

School Board Chair Sally Baird says while the class size increase would cut 40 positions, the 1000 or so new students the district is expecting next year means very few teachers will actually be out of jobs.

"We're hopeful that an awful lot of those people will be able to find positions in the system because of the increase in enrollment," says Baird.

Murphy's plan also calls for a new athletic participation fee, and increases to meal prices, summer school tuition and building rental fees.

A public hearing on the Arlington Schools budget is set for March 18th.

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