June 7, 2017
Thanks to all who attended last night's Special Meeting of Arlington Heights Civic Association. We engaged in a full discussion of the proposed Resolution, and amended it to reflect the neighborhood's views as well as possible. Thanks in particular to Susan Scott and Kristi Sawert for making the edits on the spot to reflect the discussion. After three hours of debate and editing, we passed the following Resolution:
WHEREAS, Arlington Public Schools (APS) has expressed its preference for a "hybrid" plan allocating the contemplated 1300 high school seats between the Career Center and Education Center sites with approximately 800 seats to the Career Center and only 500 seats to the Education Center, with a potential for another 600 -800 seats;
WHEREAS, the APS design process of selecting a site prior to proposing the school footprint or instructional program prevents optimal analysis of the choices and precludes informed consideration by the community;
WHEREAS, the Career Center site lacks amenities of other high schools such as sports fields, pool, and fine/performing arts facilities, so students attending any of the numerous current or future high school programs at the site might require transportation to other campuses to participate in sports or fine/performing arts;
WHEREAS, Arlington Heights neighborhood may be amenable to a comprehensive neighborhood high school incorporating the secondary programs currently at the Career Center, Arlington Tech High School, Arlington Community High School, and the Columbia Pike Public Library;
NOW, THEREFORE, be it resolved that:
Arlington Heights Civic Association (AHCA) opposes adding high school seats to the Career Center site without amenities equivalent to or exceeding those the three existing comprehensive high schools;
AHCA favors and supports retaining the existing Career Center, Arlington Tech and Arlington Community High School programs as they currently are co-located in the space;
AHCA supports a School Board vote in late June to allow the Ed Center expansion for new seats or swing space; and
AHCA requests postponement of the School Board vote on the hybrid seats proposed for the Career Center site until fall 2017, after meeting the following requests:
- APS staff and School Board members meet with AHCA members and surrounding neighborhoods this summer to further explain the hybrid model and use of the Career Center/Patrick Henry and Arlington County Columbia Pike Library footprint - including without limitation a feasibility study of a comprehensive neighborhood high school with amenities equivalent to or exceeding the three existing high schools (including retention of existing secondary programs at the site); overall costs, pros, cons, new structure types, parking possibilities or any need for new parking structure, placement of the students and their focus at the Career Center and the Tech High School and whether any new pool or other structures are being considered; and
- Conduct a comprehensive transportation study for full estimated population use of the Career Center site accounting for traffic needs for over 3000 students as well as traffic impact of the new elementary school at the Thomas Jefferson site.
We will share this Resolution with other civic associations affected by the plans for the Career Center site, and seek their coordination and support when we present the Resolution to the School Board. You may share your opinion directly with the School Board too, in writing and/or by speaking at a meeting. We hope as many neighbors as possible will attend and speak at the next School Board meeting on Thursday, June 15, 2017 at 7:30pm at the Ed Center at 1426 N. Quincy Street, Arlington VA 22207.
This web page www.apsva.us/contact-the-school-board explains how to contact the School Board, and this web page www.apsva.us/school-board-meetings/sign-up-to-speak explains how to sign up to speak at a School Board meeting.
We need to ensure our neighborhood is heard as clearly as all the others. Thanks everyone for participating to the extent possible.
Molly Calkins, President
Arlington Heights Civic Association