Redistricting Questions in Alexandria, Virginia

by Lee Hernly, Editor

Alexandria City Public Schools School Board Work SessionAlexandria City Public Schools School Board Work Session
Last night at an Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) School Board work session, the Board took up implementation policies for redistricting the elementary schools in the City. Right now, redistricting is planned for the 2017-2018 school year.

One of the topics discussed was this Lyles Crouch PTA email that we brought to your attention over the weekend.

ACPS Superintendent Dr. Crawley discussed the rumor of the curriculum going away and stated that it is just not true. The Board seemed to reaffirm that later in the session when talking about programmatic schools. Also discussed was class sizes. While the Lyles Crouch PTA feared that larger class sizes were coming, the Board seemed to agree to put in an exception for Lyles Crouch, which has some of the smallest classrooms in ACPS (in terms of sq footage), as well as other schools that have similar class sizes (sq footage).

The policies appear to be moving toward a vote possibly at the next regular meeting of the Board on May 5. The Board is considering exempting 4th and 5th graders, just 5th graders, grandfathering all, or no exemptions.

This leaves some lingering thoughts and questions on redistricting.

It is quite apparent that ACPS has capacity issues at the elementary school level with or without redistricting taking place. Where is the talk of a new school(s) (Not too mention that there are capacity issues at middle – high school levels as well)? Or, expansion of existing schools?

Also, the School Board is moving forward with approval of redistricting implementation policies prior to any boundary study being completed. If the Board doesn’t know what the new boundaries will be, how can they know if the implementation policies will be successful?

These are my thoughts on redistricting in Alexandria, Virginia. What are your thoughts on this topic?

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April 27, 2016 6:57 am

As far as a new school(s) goes, where is there land that the school system owns, or is available at an affordable price for purchase, that can be used to build a new school? I believe that such land does not exist. When Tucker Elementary School was built, there was discussion that the Council failed to secure land in the Potomac Yards development that could be set aside for a school.

PCW Staff
Reply to  k1teach
April 27, 2016 4:07 pm

k1teach – Couldn’t the system do something similar that Falls Church has done and lease space? Currently, there are a projected 8600 kids in elementary schools for 7600 spaces. That’s where my thought is on new schools.

Reply to  PCW Staff
April 27, 2016 5:16 pm

The city budget discussion included ACPS seeking a funding that would allow it to lease space for a new elementary school in the West End (as well as swing space and new pre-K centers), so they are trying to do exactly that.

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