School Boundary Changes: Latest Recommendations Released
Arlington Public Schools released its latest recommended school boundary changes to accommodate a new elementary school in Williamsburg.
Planners with the school system already have made two recommendations — an initial plan that primarily moves some current or ascending students out of the Taylor and Glebe elementary attendance zones, along with a slight variation of that.
Superintendent Pat Murphy will hold a town hall at 7 p.m. Monday at Williamsburg Middle School on the three recommendations.
Several hundred parents weighed in on the first two plans late last month; about half didn't care for either.
Most of the contention has come from parents of students who currently or would otherwise be in line to attend Taylor or Glebe elementary schools.
The school system faces a decades-old problem. In the 1950s, when Arlington began building new elementary schools, most of the available or affordable land was along the edges of the county. Taylor and Glebe are two of the inner-most elementary schools in North Arlington. By design, then, students close to those schools are more likely to be pulled outward to new or expanded schools.
This problem has been exacerbated by the importance the county, the school system and the community put on walkability. Why should students who can see one school from their home be bused across the county to a different one?
The school system and parents also have been trying to keep groups of neighborhood children together, as they are more likely to be friends and have shared experiences. Such a strategy is designed to minimize the isolation students would feel going to a new school, among other things.
The latest recommendation:
- Reincorporates some neighborhoods currently in the Taylor attendance zone in the Donaldson Run area back into Taylor. The initial recommendation had these children being bused to Jamestown, causing parents heartburn that their kids would be put on an "island" separated from the rest of the Jamestown attendance zone by the Washington Golf and Country Club.
- Restores the eastern side of the Glebe attendance zone to Glebe in exchange for shaving some neighborhoods off of that school's western boundary. Parents in the neighborhoods to the east of Glebe were upset that their children might be bused to Taylor or Ashlawn when they can walk to Glebe. Under the latest recommendation, some neighborhoods currently in the westernmost part of Glebe's attendance zone would be moved to McKinley.
- Moves some neighborhoods due east of McKinley out of that school's attendance zone and into Ashlawn's.
Under the latest recommendation, Jamestown, Ashlawn — which is being expanded — and the unnamed new school would be below their capacity levels. Five other elementary schools would be at or slightly above capacity.
Statistically, that breakdown isn't much different than the original recommendation.
Murphy will use input from Monday's town hall to inform his recommendation to the school board on March 21.
Arlington is expecting to see 1,000 new students enter its school system annually for the foreseeable future.
What do you think of this new proposal? Tell us in the comments!