Tuckahoe Parents Upset With Relocatable Classroom Plan

by ARLnow.com February 6, 2012 at 12:05 pm 7,044 113 Comments

(Updated 12:45 p.m.) Tuckahoe Elementary parents are upset with a plan to place four new relocatable classrooms on the school’s playground blacktop.

Tuckahoe is one of the most overcrowded schools in a county school system plagued by a capacity crisis. Tuckahoe, designed to accommodate only 545 students, was projected to be at 130 percent capacity in 2012, with some 678 students. Enrollment is expected to balloon to nearly 150 percent capacity in 2017.

To temporarily help address the overcrowding, Arlington Public Schools is planning to add four new relocatable classrooms at Tuckahoe before the beginning of the next school year. That’s addition to the six mobile classrooms already in use at Tuckahoe.

Some parents are upset, however, about where the school system plans to place the trailers. The classrooms will be placed on a blacktop play area that students currently use during recess. With the blacktop no longer available, students will instead be led to a nearby county-owned tennis court during outdoor recreation time.

In a letter to parents, APS Superintendent Dr. Patrick Murphy says the blacktop was chosen after carefully considering five other locations on APS or county-owned property.

“APS staff believe that this option is the best because it retains the most site amenities for all stakeholders and because we believe this will be an option acceptable to the Tuckahoe community,” Murphy wrote.

Not all parents agree with Dr. Murphy. One group of concerned parents sent a mass email criticizing the decision:

Dear Tuckahoe Elementary School Parent,

Without consulting you, APS has decided to place 4 relocatable classrooms on the Tuckahoe playground blacktop and force the students to have recess and after school play time on the tennis courts down in the park.

This will dramatically change the character of the school, the amount and quality of outdoor recreation the children get, and their critical playground social development. Right now recess for the kids is something like 16 minutes long. How much time does it take to bring a class of kids to and from the tennis courts, and then how much time will be left for exercise and activity?

It will also eliminate the way that many parents get to know each other!

While the trailers may be needed to alleviate severe overcrowding, many of us believe it is imperative that APS find a placement solution that will preserve the blacktop play area that is so heavily used during school and by neighborhood families at other times. Other options exist.

Tuckahoe parents are being encouraged to attend a PTA meeting at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday to make their voices heard.

Meanwhile, Arlington Public Schools continues to seek public input on more permanent plans to deal with the capacity crisis county-wide. On Wednesday, Feb. 15, a public forum will be held to discuss “next steps” in the APS capital planning process, which could result in the creation of new schools or major additions to existing schools. The forum is happening from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. at the Kenmore Auditorium (200 S. Carlin Springs Road).

The public is also being invited to observe a School Board work session on capacity issues. That’s taking place from 8:00 to 9:30 p.m. this Wednesday, Feb. 8, at the Washington-Lee Little Theater (1301 N. Stafford Street).

“The Board will be discussing the rankings of 60 possible options for additions and/or new schools to increase capacity,” officials said of the work session. “Members of the public are welcome to attend and observe the proceedings. The Board does not hear public comment at work sessions.”

  • FormerTuckahoe

    Sorry– Tuckahoe parents are almost the worst. Someof the crowding is it is their own fault for whining when the APS was going to shift planning blocks around several years ago.

    Their proposal for putting trailers on the nearby sports field would be a disaster for soccer and other sports.

    • Suburban Not Urban

      Honestly – comparing the needs of children vs sports enthusiasts – you pick sports enthusiasts?

      • FormerTuckahoe

        I’m actually thinking of the kids that go to that play youth soccer and baseball The fields by the school are in constant use and given the constaints on field space, there is no other place for those teams to practice.

        • Wilson

          The trailers would take up only a small portion of the large playfield. They could put three or four trailers in the southwest corner of the playfield, next to Tuckahoe school, with little or no impact on the two baseball diamonds or the three U-8 soccer fields. The county and APS should fully investigate that option before rejecting it out-of-hand.

          • TooEasy

            The lights from O’Connell would be too brite!!!!

          • Louise


          • FrenchyB

            The fields are park property, not school property.

          • Rita Thompson

            The field you refer to belongs to the county parks system not APS!

          • James

            Don’t touch those sports fields…we already have a lack of space for most soccer and softball teams already in Arlington.

            Don’t know why they didn’t build 1-2 diamonds at the new Crystal City park…so stupid.

    • Stop infighting

      The fact that there is all this nasty infighting among residents and parents (of different APS schools) is indicitive of the horrible job that APS and Arlington County Officials have done in planning and communicating. There are plenty of win/win scenarios that the county could of put into place years ago. To blame concerned parents (about education or sports) is letting the people we PAY with our tax dollars skate away without any responsibility for their failures. The residents need to come together and force the county’s hand to do their job and find reasonable alternatives for all parties. Wishing ill upon any group of citizens is not in the best interest for anyone in our community.

  • Implant

    I’ve heard rumors that parents who complain will have their kids send to Patrick Henry!

    • thelevyisdry

      Hey now, my kids go to Patrick Henry and we love the school. Long timers tell me that the current principal has really turned it around in recent years. All that said, I totally laughed when I saw your comment. If I paid 700K for a house in north Arlington, then I’d probably be horrified at the thought of my kids going to school in a trailer. The horror!

  • LNE

    APS needs to convert the former Reed School into a K-2 school to relieve overcrowding at Tuckahoe and McKinley starting next fall. At this point they’re already at the saturation point for trailers, this is the best near-term option.

    • John

      Reed had been planned to reopen as an elementary school, if there was an increase in the school-age population, which is why it was not handed over to the county government after it closed in the mid-80s. When the library proposed to rebuild at the Reed school site, the focus shifted away from reopening Reed as a neighborhood school. But the county is now seriously looking at reopening Reed or building a new school where the old Westover library was. I think the old Madison school building is also being considered.

      • Sam

        There are so many options available. As mentioned, there is Reed, Madison and Wilson which would take some pressure off of the elementary school crowding. Madison is seriously underutilized – I saw a survey where the average daily usage was only 24 people and rapidly falling. All of this is a band-aid though for when this wave of kids will hit the high schools. The county needs to seriously look at redistricting.

        • Lisa

          The 24 figure is impossible. There is a daily pre-school and multiple play groups. the gym and weight room is also used. Maybe thats the number of seniors using it as a senior center.

          • Sam

            You’re right, its the number of seniors using the center. From the report:

            Madison has a long history of underutilization. Recent analysis of daily attendance records from FY05 to present revealed Madison has operated under capacity (fewer than 36 participants daily) since 2004. Attendance has averaged between 19 to 32 daily participants for many years, never reaching full capacity.

            Average daily attendance in FY09 was 21 people.


    • Burger

      The Reed school no longer exists. It was knocked down to build the new Westover Library and school for the teenage girls that get knocked up – I think some non-Arlington resident teachers can get daycare there, too.

      The old Westover Library site has some type of plans in the works.

      • OldTimer

        “… and school for the teenage girls that get knocked up…”

        So, are you advocating that more teenage girls getting knocked up might help the overcrowding?

      • dk

        “non-Arlington resident” teachers getting daycare–the outrage!

        Those non-Arlington resident teachers pay top dollar for that service. And having that daycare helps retain teachers–they are more likely to return to the classroom after having a baby if high-quality daycare is available.

        • Burger

          Relax. Did I say anything against it or simple pointed to the facility’s use.

        • Orange Line

          There are other facilities, however, for the Children’s School, and given the severe capacity crunch we are facing, and the costs of remedying that situation, moving the Children’s School is a no-brainer. It is a private daycare that has been given a lease by the county. Reed was designed to accommodate a second floor. Move the Children’s school out. Move the unwed teen program and rebuild Reed the way it should have been built before.

  • Garden City

    Interesting. The parents scream when the board talks about moving school attendance boundaries to balance out school populations, and they scream about putting in temporary classrooms to deal with school overcrowding caused by opposition to moving school attendance boundaries to balance out school population. I weep for the kids.

    • Reggie

      I weep because you did not read the article.

      • Burger

        I think GC accurately portrayed the situation.

        3-4 years ago, there was an attempt by the school board to shift Tuckahoe’s school boundaries that will send more kids to Glebe (which I believe is not crowded). Parents threw a fit because it is not the “right” school.

        Well, guess what, here was the county’s answer and they are not happy.

        Of course, the school line where I live runs right through the middle of the block…

        • Reggie

          No, the letter in the article actually says they recognize the need for trailers. Their objection is over losing blacktop play areas when there are other options on the site for locating the trailers.

        • hjc

          Excuse me but Glebe IS crowded. We have 4 trailers on our blacktop to accommodate overcrowding. Tuckahoe needs to suck it up like the rest of us.

          • opinion

            Thank you! Yes, Glebe is overcrowded..just like everywhere else. Let’s keep the assumptions out of this forum.

        • civil servant

          8 years ago when APS first considered the boundary realignment, Glebe was under capacity and many objected to the revisions. 3 years ago when the issue came up again, Glebe was, and currently is, well over capacity.

          This speaks to a number of issues, perhaps the most significant of which is what will it take for APS to come up with population numbers that make any sense. Here we are with $100 M high schools at various stages of completion and facing tremendous overcrowding. W-L has been overcrowded since the day it opened and I expect Y’town will be facing the same problem. Since when is it a crime to plan ahead and have a contingency plan?

    • Josh S

      Not necessarily the same parents.

      But generally, parents do desire continuity and a lack of disruption when it comes to their kids. I imagine it is at least in part a parental instinct sort of thing.

      Consequently, while you have to consult parents when making decisions about how to run schools, you don’t necessarily expect them to be the most rational in the group.

      You couldn’t pay me to be a school administrator…..

      • Burger

        I rarely agree with you but your last sentence is +infinite.

  • Hope

    Well, everyone is entitled to their opinions. Just as I prefer that our school system concentrates on education. I can allot play time after school and on weekends. I believe our kids need more math and science time, not arguments about recess time and location. A good walk at recess will help clear the mind and give a much needed break. As for the comment about how parents interact, join the PTA, volunteer in the classroom and attend school functions. I refuse to believe that parents can’t get to know each other if there is no blacktop at a school. The blacktop is dangerous anyway, one of my kids slipped on the blacktop at another APS elementary school and ended up with a concussion.

    Mother of five APS students (attending HB, Wakefield, W-L, TJ, LBE over the last 15 years)

    • Josh S

      “A good walk?”

      For five to eleven year olds? Really? Sure, it’s better than nothing, but hardly does the trick.

      Blacktop is dangerous? Well, based on anecdotal evidence, so is grass, mulch, rubberized pellets, astroturf, concrete, hardwood, or just about any other surface you can imagine. You appear to be arguing that because your child had an accident at one time that no child should be allowed to play on blacktop?

      I don’t think said post about how some parents get to know each other by (apparently) supervising recess is a comment that that is the only way to get to know one another. It’s just perhaps a side benefit of having recess.

      Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Are some opinions better than others?

  • Another former Tuckahoe

    Several years back when Tuckahoe had the chance to make a real effort to support a redraw of the boundaries that would have solved the problem once and for all, the leader of the internal boundary committee (McCracken) took the easy way out and shafted one small group of families that lived within walking distance of Tuckahoe rather than support a move of a large block of the kids living a few miles away from the school (McCracken’s kids among others).

    Now that the rest of the APS schools know what Tuckahoe is capable of, there is no love lost between Tuckahoe and its neighboring schools.

    Tuckahoe’s chickens have come home to roost

    • Josh S

      This issue probably has impacted the current overcrowding problems at Tuckahoe. But “solve the problem once and for all?” I highly doubt that.

      And even if they had redrawn the boundaries back then, wouldn’t the overcrowding problem at one or more nearby schools just be worse than it is now? I’m not aware of any nearby school that has surplus space….

    • Rita Thompson

      Your attack on Mr. McCracken is unfounded.

      • Another former Tuckahoe

        Look at the map. The district that got moved was within walking distance but McCracken’s district which was the furthest from Tuckahoe was left at Tuckahoe despite being closer to 2 (and perhaps 3) other schools.

        The map speaks against Todd McCracken. It’s not unfounded, just the facts.

    • Stop infighting

      The fact that there is all this nasty infighting among residents and parents (of different APS schools) is indicitive of the horrible job that APS and Arlington County Officials have done in planning and communicating. There are plenty of win/win scenarios that the county could of put into place years ago. To blame concerned parents (about education or sports) is letting the people we PAY with our tax dollars skate away without any responsibility for their failures. The residents need to come together and force the county’s hand to do their job and find reasonable alternatives for all parties. Wishing ill upon any group of citizens is not in the best interest for anyone in our community.

  • StopWhining

    Tuckahoe parents just need to stop all their whining. A couple of years ago, there was a proposal to ease over-crowding by redrawing the boundary lines. Some of the Tuckahoe “planning units” were moved to other school district. My goodness – you would have thought that their children were being moved from a great school to a ghetto school (Glebe ES). The whining and the crying from these entitled parents was sick. Get over it- your school is overcrowded, you don’t want to change schools so TRAILERS ARE THE ONLY OPTION at the moment. Just stop your whining… please.

    • John

      It’s interesting how Glebe is now one of the more popular elementary schools in the county and becoming overcrowded. Maybe the Tuckahoe parents felt singled out during that process? The Ashlawn and McKinley parents were left alone, after the proposals to shift those students to Carlin Springs and Glebe.

      • Burger

        Popularity has nothing to do with overcrowding. as the other schools nearby have reached 110%+ capacity, the chance of transferring out to another school goes down…hence, why Glebe’s student population has grown.

        • John

          Not really… More families with kids have moved into the neighborhoods that feed into Glebe. Simple as that. The current overcrowding at Glebe has nothing to do with the inability to transfer to another neighborhood or magnet school. The surrounding communities are very happy with Glebe, and it is a draw for families considering to move to the neighborhood.

          • Orange Line

            This is exactly right. When Glebe was rebuilt there was a concerted effort by some parents in the community to keep their kids there and support a neighborhood school. As Waycroft-Woodlawn, Willett Heights, and Waverly Hills started becoming the new slightly more affordable Lyon Village, many more families moved in. Glebe also benefited from first rate administrators — shout out to Principal Jamie Borg — and is now a thoroughly beloved neighborhood school.

            I find it astonishing, though, that there are still people in Arlington who look down on it, largely because at one time it had a higher minority population. Those who opposed a chance to be part of the Glebe community missed out, big time.

            But that is water under the bridge. Glebe is overcapacity like most North Arlington schools. The crowding is not yet as acute as Tuckahoe’s but it is getting there.

            The solutions here involve new schools, additions to existing schools, reevaluation of choice school locations, and a whole lot of money. That’s the process APS is working through now. It’s very unfortunate that they made mistakes in the past (like not rebuilding Reed an elementary school from the get-go). So now the choices are harder.

    • Lee-n-Glebe

      How would that have solved anything? As it is, Glebe currently houses most of 3rd grade in trailers. I guess it might have made things easier at Tuckahoe.

    • Really

      You come to Glebe and say that and I will stick you like a pig.

    • Smith

      StopWhining: Care to expand on your Glebe is a ghetto school comment?

      • drax

        SW didn’t say Glebe was a ghetto school. Read more carefully.

    • hjc

      I’m with Smith: StopWhining – Glebe parents would like to know what you base your ‘Glebe is a ghetto school’ comment on? And is this really productive for civilized adult discourse about our children’s elementary education???

      • JackFan

        Jeez – that’s not what she said. Read the comment please and quit the knee jerk posting.

    • dk

      The use of the word “ghetto” is unfortunate, but I don’t believe SW is casting aspersions on Glebe. I think s/he is casting aspersions on Tuckahoe parents who, when told they might have to redistrict, reacted AS IF the alternatives (e.g., Glebe) were completely substandard. I think SW believes quite the opposite is true about Glebe.

      • hjc

        Would be nice if SW would reply him/her self….

      • FunnyMunny

        Yeah, don’t get your shorts in a bunch, Glebians, SW was characterizing the reactions of Tuckahoe parents, aghast that they’d have to go anywhere but Tuckahoe. Glebe is a fine school, and would be a shining star in any ghetto situation.

        • drax

          Exactly. Reading comprehension, people.

      • StopWhining

        That is exactly what I meant- thank you dk. I am the parent of two Glebe alumnae, and think tat it is a great school. Did not intend to offend.

        • Really

          I don’t really have a shiv.

  • Lou

    What percentage of Arlington schools have trailers now?

    • FunnyMunny

      Dunno, but when they reach 100 trailers I hear they’re allow to hitch them all together and move them to Kansas.

  • ArLater


    It should be 30 pecent over capacity or 130 percent total capacity. 130 percent over capacity is saying that there is 130 percent more students than 545

    • We’ll clarify that, thank you.

    • Ms. Ramale

      678 is only 124% of 545

      • drax

        They’ll be teaching math in the trailers.

  • SchoolYa

    They should take those surplus “mobile lounges” from Dulles airport and make them into mobile classrooms that actually move. Every day is a field trip day in the mobile classroom.


    • FunnyMunny


  • Wilson

    Blaming Tuckahoe parents, instead of the school board and the superintendent, for the lack of elementary school capacity is completely unjustified. Elementary enrollment in Arlington has been booming for over a decade, and overcrowding is now a system-wide problem. It isn’t possible to solve the problem by simply shifting the boundaries — the only solution is to increase capacity by building new permanent classroom space.

    Instead of increasing permanent capacity, the school board so far has taken only short-term measures, such as increasing class sizes and ordering more relocatables (trailers). Tuckahoe is a good example of how the students suffer as a result of the board’s inaction.

    • Tuckahoe Parent

      I agree – Tuckahoe parents have felt like the “canary in the coal mine” for the last 8 years. The School Board refused to make any difficult decisions four years ago to redraw boundaries, to redo Reed, etc. If Tuckahoe parents hadn’t kept on the School Board to do something, do you think we would have had any action to address the overcrowding that has now spread across Arlington schools? No!

      Tuckahoe has one of the smallest properties of Arlington schools despite being one of the most populous. There is a small blacktop and playground at the front of the school for recess — putting trailers there eliminates the school’s hard surface playspace and the neighborhood basketball court. It is not unreasonable for Tuckahoe parents to ask APS to have a plan in place that allows our kids to have a safe, 30 minute recess period like the other elementary schools in Arlington. Trekking them down to the tennis court in Tuckahoe park is not a great option. It’s also not clear to us why the County won’t allow more trailers to be placed in the adjacent county parkland (there are both the edge of the athletic fields and Tuckahoe Park land as possibilities).

      It’s disappointing to see parents from other schools mocking Tuckahoe instead of realizing that APS will treat your school in the same way as it gets more crowded — all parents should be concerned that APS is creating safe and effective school environments for our children. Bickering among schools just allows the School Board to continue to do nothing!

  • sitruc

    “Relocatable classrooms”? That’s the current PC term for trailers?

    • StopWhining

      “Learning cottages” is the PC term

      • DarkHeart

        FEMA Trailers?

        • FunnyMunny

          “Classroom 360”

  • former tuckahoe parent

    My daughter is an 8th grader now. Tuckahoe was overcrowded when she got there as a kindergartener. APS punted when confronted with the issues in her first few years there – refusing to even acknowledge that there was a big issue brewing. Did they think the hundreds of McMansions being built were being purchased by empty nesters? Unable to ignore the issues a few years later, Superintendent Smith proposed a massive redistricting. One of the above commenters suggested Tuckahoe parents are the worst and were complaining, and that the overcrowding is partially our fault. Check your sources. Sure, there were plently of Tuckahoe parents who weren’t thrilled with the idea, but the VAST majority of complaints were from parents in OTHER schools, which were not yet overcrowded, who did not feel as though they should have to suffer redistricting due to some other school’s problem (remember the parade of Ashlawn, McKinley, and ATS parents through the School Board meeting?). Furthermore, having 10 trailers does not make a school any less overcrowded. Just because you have enough desks under a roof doesn’t solve the issue. There is still only one gym, one cafeteria, one music room, one art room. At one point a few years back, a reading breakout group met in a stairwell because it was the only space available. My 5 year old ate lunch at 10:45, having only just gotten to school at 9am because they could not get all the kindergarteners in the lunch room at the same time. There are too many logistics that simply fall apart when you exceed the capacity of the original building. Tuckahoe parents have every right to be angry, as do the parents at every other school in Arlington. APS has had 7 or 8 years to address this issue and they’ve done NOTHING but study it 3 times and shuffle about 10 kids out of Tuckahoe over to Nottingham (also overcrowded) and move a preschool class from McKinley to Campbell. Whoopie.

    • relieved

      I can’t tell you how relieved I am that one of the people responsible for this fiasco will now be on the county board . . . Whoopie, indeed.

      • Burger

        Um….she still has to win an election against two other people running. Maybe, you might think about voting for someone other than Garvey and see what happens.

  • TooEasy

    Making room for the computer lab.

  • JimPB

    As has been pointed out, this has been an increasing problem for years.
    Why hasn’t it been resolved before now?

    Bottom line: There should be accountability. Start at the top: Vote out (recall?) those ArlCoPS board members who have been asleep at the facilities switch the past half-dozen or more years.

    • Burger

      I can tell you the reason…the school board decided to allocate upwards of $300 million to renovate the high schools and ignored the elementary schools. Now, the county is up against the bond caps, they really can’t do anything beyond add trailers.

      • Whitney Wilson

        Actually, there has been a 20 year cycle of rennovating/rebuilding all of the schools. The high schools were among the last to get done. I think the only school which has yet to see a major makeover or be rebuilt is Jefferson Middle School.

        The problem is that when some of the elementary schools were being redone, capacity was not increased to meet demand. For example, Nottingham Elementary was completely redone a few years ago, but it was already overcrowded the day it reopened. Similarly, when the last round of boundary discussions was undertaken (discussed above in connection with Todd McCracken and Tuckahoe), the Reed School was being rebuilt with the new Westover library and the day care center. There was discussion at that time about adding another floor to the building to make a new elementary school. The idea never got much traction, however, because the planning had gone so far done the original track it was thought to be too expensive the make major changes to the then-existing plan..

        I think the major issue is institutional paralysis (“paralysis-by-analysis”). APS cannot make decisions quickly and/or change plans when events warrant. While that is largely on APS administration (in particular the School Board), APS parents also bear some of the responsibility, because when any significant changes are proposed, some constituency makes a lot of noise in opposition – usually in the form of “we-need-more-information-all-options-weren’t-fully-explored-let’s-have-more-studies” – and the changes are shelved or scaled back so that they don’t solve the problem.

        • civil servant

          You have absolutely cracked the code. When Glebe was being renovated, the original plan called for 4 more classrooms than were built – because the school at that moment was under capacity – those classrooms were cut from the plan at the last minute.
          Now, the entire 3rd grade is in trailers…4 classrooms worth of kids…

          Think of how little it would have cost to have those 4 classrooms built as part of the entire reno and compare that with the cost of renting or buying trailers AND giving up sports space to house them. Short sighted.

        • Deb

          HB has not been upgraded since it was built.

          • dk

            HB needs to move to S. Arlington. Ta-da! New elementary school. Redistrict N. Arlington and problem solved. Or, at least, imminent disaster delayed.

          • John

            The school board in the 90s proposed reopening Stratford Junior High in the early 90s to relieve crowding at Swanson and Williamsburg. But HB Woodlawn had already been there for about 10 years, and the HB community did not want to move again. HB will never move.

            (and HB was renovated about 10 years ago.)

          • Orange Line

            ATS claims they will never be moved either. As long as every school community is in it solely for themselves, there will be no solution.

  • Burger

    Under the new Tebow rule, I think parents should just move kids to whatever school they want. I mean the reasoning is the same…parents at overcrowded schools pay taxes, they get to go to less crowded schools, parents with home-schooled kids pay taxes…

  • Plunkitt of Clarendon Blvd

    Think that is overcrowded now…..just wait until the EFC stop is fully developed.

    This point about overcrowding at Tuckahoe was made repeatedly by the opponents of the EFC plan but they were all “blown off” by the proponents mainly Fissette and Nardollilli.


    • Suburban Not Urban

      When did McKinley get the 2 new trailers on site, there has been 2 or 3 for a while now, but now there is 4 or 5? Did these get done in the last year?

    • Burger

      I understand your point but EFC development is so far down the road…surely, the county board will take steps to make sure schools aren’t overcrowded…;)

      • Plunkitt of Clarendon Blvd

        “surely, the county board will take steps to make sure schools aren’t overcrowded…;)”

        Good one !!

  • ArlingtonCountyTaxpayer

    APS and their staff should be FIRED.

    Tuckahoe has been overcrowded for a generation due to political bickering when it came to boundaries.

    Just change the boundaries.

    Open up Madison. Open up Woodmont. Much cheaper than another glory architectural school project.

    oh yeah, and fire our gym-teacher Supt. before he totally screws up our schools.

    • Orange Line

      Changing the boundaries is inevitable, but only after more capacity is added. Right now all you’ll be doing is moving kids from a 130% capacity school to a 125% capacity school. It’s just rearranging deckchairs. Madison is being looked at but probably could not support a full elementary school without a complete renovation. So even there we are talking years.


    I need help understanding the sentence, “It will also eliminate the way that many parents get to know each other!” from the disgruntled parents’ letter.

    Does this mean parents go to watch their children’s recess on the blacktop?

    Or does it mean that parents are out playing tennis during the day, and now won’t be able to?

    This strikes me as indulgences run amok.

    • OldTimer

      Next paragraph states, ” …preserve the blacktop play area that is so heavily used during school and by neighborhood families at other times.” I guess this is an evening and weekend gathering place for parental units.

      • charlie

        first it was dog parks … now it is kid playgrounds.
        Do people not have their own yards in which to play and frolic?

        • OldTimer

          The new NIMBY = Not Unto My BlackTop… NUMBT

  • JimPB

    Look ahead, analyze and then act.

    How much time was involved in planning the Pentagon and then building it?

    A variation of Parkinson’s Laws are involved in the lack of action.

  • charlie

    i’m guessing this is going over 200 once the PTA parents listserve finds out that other Arlingtonians are offering opinions on what the chosen children of Tuckahoe should or shouldn’t do.

  • Nothingeverchanges

    Don’t blame the administration–it’s the School Board who must make the tough decisions about capacity, boundaries, etc., and they have not had the courage to do so for more than ten years. Back in the 1980’s elementary schools were being refurbished and were to be built to hold 600. To save money, in the 1990’s, the School Board amended those guidelines and we ended up with elementaries that held far fewer students, which is one of the reasons we are in this mess now. This, combined with their unwillingness to take any of their own staff recommendations in the past ten years to alleviate crowding (yes, Tuckahoe has been overcrowded for at least that long) results in what we have today. And this Superintendent just keeps studying and looking and talking about the problem and paying consultants to look at the problem but hasn’t been willing to DO anything. He and the School Board are responsible and they are not doing what they need to do.

  • southarlington

    It totally is a issue with the school parents and other schools prinicpals too. Was part of Boundary Change commitee and the bickering and the threat of law suits if the county would do what they wanted to do was very real to county workers. Parents at ATS and some of the North Arlington schools were the worst they did not want changes and if the idea of moving ATS to a another school building in South Arlington people went nuts …. they did not want there precious kids going to school in South Arlington because it was such a “substandard” area. The move to Hoffman- Boston was what got them all going. I think the school board should make changes to the boundaries and who cares what the parents think Fairfax does this stuff all the time. We do have a say but the county must do what is best for the school system and if it means moving schools programs to other school so be it. The kids will just go some where else if the parents do not like it.

    • bj

      Well said!!

    • dk


    • OnePercent

      Great idea! Hoffman is filled with kids from uneducated poor neighborhoods. We can easily pick on them and kick all their kids out of Hoffman-Boston. Since they don’t speak English, they won’t complain. Sacrifice a few minorities for the greater good of North Arlington. Keep the great ideas coming!!!

      Funny thing about the move ATS to Hoffman-Boston idea…nobody ever bothered to ask what the community at Hoffman-Boston wanted!!! I guess everyone just assumed the Hoffman-Boston neighborhood wanted their neighborhood school to be taken over by a bunch of white kids.

      • Former Tuckahoe Parent

        Hoffman Boston was as much of a part of the process as any other school, and the community expressed (in quite fine English) their opposition to having their kids effectively “bussed” to other schools in order to move ATS to that facility. Their style may not be as “‘public” as other communities, but they are, in fact, a very organized and vocal community.

  • Nothingeverchanges

    You are right. The kids will be fine in a new school if the parents behave matter-of-fact about it. But the Board should rise above the nonsense as you described it above, and make decisions. They don’t–they just punt the ball down the road over and over.

  • Narlington

    stop having kids that might fix the overcrowding issues in the APS

  • M.B.

    Why not just shut all the schools for 10+ years to clear out the clutter? People who have kids can pay for their kids education by themselves and leave the taxpayers alone. Many of these me-me-me’s will leave. (They can move to Havana if they love socialism so much.) Arlington will be a nicer place to live without the need to throw so much money at schools.

    • Trank the Fank

      Wow. Simply Wow.

  • Teacher

    Let’s hope there is this much energy when it comes to the proposal for increasing class size. Teachers will make the playground situation work, however, we are running out of space in our classrooms. As class size continues to rise by 1 every year, the job of teaching becomes more challenging and it is harder to meet the needs of each child.

  • anywaybacktome

    Arlington spends about $18k per student per year, Fairfax spends less than half that. If Arlington can’t get it together for that amount per student they must have way too much administration or are offering too many types of classes or simply are paying people too much in pay/benefits.

    People do not want redistricting, they want kids to go to school near their homes. Move ATS to South Arlington if needed as it is not a boundary based school.

    • Arlington Cat

      good point. Most of Arlington schools are old and very inefficient.

      ACPS has always counted on 30% of their kindergarten students being gone by fourth grade, and another 20% being gone by sixth grade. Those families move out of the area, or to Fairfax or Loudoun Counties where school systems aren’t afraid to build new schools.

      Before 9-11, Arlington didn’t have many school age children, and everyone was happy. After 9-11 the population of curtain climbers rose around the country and in Arlington, and Arlington was caught like a deer in headlights not knowing how to handle this bubble.

      So they did practically nothing progressive in regards to the school system, except for pushing Spanish emersion at Claremont to non Hispanics.

      Now, with the real estate market stagnant in Arlington, and many underwater in their mortgages, people with elementary age kids are staying in Arlington longer than the school board expected or counted on.

    • School Dad

      ATS should be in the mix, but so should Science Focus, or Montessori, or Key (Language immersion). There are other choice options besides ATS that could be converted to neighborhood schools.

    • MR M

      Actually, Fairfax spends 12,820 per student and benefits from economies of scale. This accounts for some but not all of the difference but it is an important distinction to make.

  • ArlParent

    Redistricting is not the answer – there are no schools in North Arlington that aren’t overcrowded. Build a new school, repurpose an existing school (Madison, Reed, etc), or transfer a non-neighborhood program (ATS, ASF, or HB) to an underutilized school, THEN redistrict.

    • southarlington

      re-purpose schools is part of the answer but you need to get parents and school board members to hear that. The county also needs to look behind the threats these parents will come up with. Two words ” public school’ which means the county can do whatever they want to do…..even if some of the parents do not like it ….

  • ArlingtonParent

    What an emotional topic!

  • Tuckahoe parent

    Before my third grader went to tuckahoe I had heard of the overcrowding there and thought it was just a lot of parents whining. Until you see first hand kids having classes in the hallway, over crowded school events, bathrooms used as storage, ten trailers, lunches starting at 11, recess before lunch, etc. As i walk by Reed school, I see 4 buses going around reed school headed to glebe, Arlington traditional, tuckahoe and McKinley all passing each other, picking up kids who could be walking to reed school. I think what a waste of gas and resources that could be used on education…


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