Pretend You’re a Chainsaw

During a depression, wages are sticky downward. That is, they do not drop quickly, though prices do. Instead, jobs are lost.


I’m going to pretend I’m John McCain and take a chainsaw to the Arlington budget. In order to see no increase in taxation over the previous fiscal year, the district needs to reduce costs by about $18.4 million. The current instructional expenses — that is, salaries and benefits for teachers — are roughly $125 million, while administrative expenses are about $14.5 million. Take .5 million from the administrative line and 18 million from the instructional line. The choice is to accept lower salaries or a workforce reduction. We’d prefer the former, but the union contract requires the latter.