Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com August 17, 2012 at 9:10 am 3,211 40 Comments

Parents Speak Out Against New Bus Policy — Some parents spoke out against Arlington Public Schools’ new voucher-based school bus policy at last night’s School Board meeting. The policy will result in some students no longer being able to ride the bus to school. School Board member Abby Raphael said the changes are necessary: “Our school system is growing,” she said. “We have to adapt and make changes. It’s very expensive to add a bus and a bus driver.” [Sun Gazette]

APAH Asks For School Supply Donations — The Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing is seeking donations of school supplies. APAH will fill backbacks with the supplies and give them to about 250 disadvantaged students ahead of the first day of school. [Arlington Mercury]

W-L Softball Field Approved — The Arlington School Board formally approved a new softball field at Washington-Lee High School at its meeting last night. The softball field will cost about $1.3 million. [Sun Gazette]

Flickr pool photo by Jeff Gamble

  • CrystalMikey

    That is an awesome photo + caption.

    • Skyline

      Those Helo’s follow me to work every day it seems. 😮

      • CW

        Where are they going?

        • Buckwheat

          That’s a 2 star going to the Pentagon from Ft. Belvoir or Qantico. Why can’t those guys (or ladies) drive like the rest of us smucks.

          • drax

            Oy, goy. It’s shmuck.

          • CW

            Making themselves a target, too. I’d rather just be in a town car.

          • Josh S

            A target for what? SAMs? And how many of those have you seen for sale at your local pawnshop?

          • Quoth the Raven

            Sorry, but there aren’t a lot of 2 stars who go by helicopter. Since in the Pentagon they’re a dime-a-dozen, they drive like the rest of us.

    • BreakPause02

      Except it’s not the beltway.

      The other part is true, nonetheless.

    • t

      This is a good photo, but I think an even better caption would be “2 Ways to Beat the Traffic” since there is no backup in the HOV lanes.

    • JamesE

      I bet he drives an automatic since he is taking a photo at highway speeds

      • Buckwheat

        Good point. Taking a photo is as bad as texting!

        • South Awwlington

          Could be a passenger taking the pic…

  • Allen

    Picking nits this morning because it’s already cup of coffee #5, but the use permit for the field is not the purview of the school board. That permit is already approved, the action last night was the award of the construction contract.

    • CW

      Shouldn’t you be in the bathroom right now?

    • I should have had that coffee, that was a case of keyboard upchucking. Fixed.

  • Stitch_Jones

    Oh, how awesome. Some students can’t ride the bus because of the “expense” of adding buses and drivers. Meanwhile, the Artisphere chugs along at a loss.

    Awesome. Arlington awesome.

    • JamesE

      They will be able to take the street car to school

      • ExNyer

        I took the subway to school.

    • Allen

      It is kind of incongruous to hear someone on the school board say “the system is growing” while defending keeping the busing system the same size. Newsflash, the busing is part of the school “system” too. Grow it along with everything else.

      • Bender

        With all of this high population density that the County is pushing, perhaps instead of building more and more 20-story office and apartment buildings, they build a couple of schools?

        They now have this plan to jam 14,000 more people along Columbia Pike — is there any plan to build a school to accomodate those extra people??

    • sunflower

      not to mention the juxtaposition of the 1.3 mil for a softball field

    • Gramps

      Booo, freakin, hooo… When I was a kid we walked 5 miles to school each way, up hill, and milked the cows before we left, and worked the fields when we got home. Barefoot. Rain or shine. And we didn’t have running water, let alone iThingys to give us a personal soundtrack while we did it. If walking to school is the hardest thing a kid ever has to do they’re lucky.

      • Clarendon

        I know my Dad doing to school had to use public transportation in NYC. The students were like any other commuter. That was back in the 1930’s. Just recently in Glasgow, Scotland I noticed young students in school uniforms (guessing about 6th grade) taking the metro (the clockwork orange) to get to and from class. The burden on schools to provide transportation in places like metro-Atlanta and other sprawlvilles really hurt when gas prices started fluctuating. I’m suprised it is much of an issue in a place as compact as Arlington.

        • Allen

          Plenty of DC kids ride the Metro system (train and bus) to school. They have a pass or id or something that they flash to get on. Does Arlington have any similar program?

          • CW

            That’s a great point. Last time I checked, the ART network was pretty comprehensive and nowhere near running at capacity.

        • drax

          Arlington’s not that compact. Just certain parts.

      • AAoH

        The students in this “Arlington” school pretty much do the same routine as Gramps:


    • Maggie

      I grew up in a city where all HS students too the city bus to school, at a reduced fare. Worked then; would work now.

  • SteamboatWillie

    See, there really ARE black helicopters. NovaSteve is vindicated at long last!

    • Ralph

      Somebody must have been smoking an illegal cigarette. They are going to arrest them and make them disappear.

  • Arlington Mom

    Maybe the bus system does need a full review, but it’s August 17 and I still don’t have final notice from APS or the school about whether the bus my child has ridden for 3 years will run or not. School starts in just over two weeks. This isn’t how “The Arlington Way” is meant to work, leaving parents scrambling to adjust plans at the last minute. Why weren’t these changes finalized months ago? APS should delay these changes until January.

    • drax

      What do you think “The Arlington Way” actually means?

      • Dr_Klahn

        I don’t know either, but I have a funny feeling the answer would make me feel a little nauseous…

        • SteamboatWillie

          I think you mean nauseated.

  • Arlington dog

    I see this things in the air over Fairlington almost hourly.

  • Timing for busing / walking announcements

    For those parents wondering about the bus changes, the APS Powerpoint at the School Board meeting showed a mailing date of Thursday the 16th for letters to those walking and a mailing date of Monday the 20th for letters to those taking the bus. Whether those dates are accurate who knows, but it sounds as if the walkers will hear a few days earlier.

    • Arlington Mom

      Thanks for confirming this – and I still say this is much, much too close to the first day of school. For some parents these changes mean adjusting their before/after school care plans, and this leaves little time to do so. For example, my child is met at the bus stop by a neighbor on some days. Not an option if she is now needs to be picked up at school. I can’t be the only one in this predicament.

    • Call

      I just called the transportation call center and confirmed the status for my daughter who was in the bus route last year and is now on the walking route. It’s 703-228-8670.

    • R. Griffon

      I don’t know why they don’t tell you anything until the last minute. They really don’t give you enough time to plan.

      We’re pretty close to 1 mi. from our school, but I think we’ll still be bussed. I feel for anyone told to walk around here. I walked 1 mi. each way growing up and it was fine, but that was in a small town with very little traffic. Crossing the major roads around here during rush hour is a very different proposition.


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