Submit Content

Peter’s Take: New Spending Needed to Increase High School Capacity

Peter’s Take is a weekly opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of

Peter RousselotAs reported by and the Sun Gazette, the Arlington Public School staff recently made a  presentation on high school capacity. The presentation asked the School Board to issue a public statement that the looming need to increase capacity at Arlington’s comprehensive high schools CANNOT be solved by building a new high school. Why not? It’s way too expensive.

How refreshing to see this degree of sensitivity to capital project costs!

The APS staff report does make it clear, however, that additional capital spending will be required to address high school capacity needs. That’s not a surprise. Excellent progress on many educational fronts continues to attract more and more families and students to Arlington and to APS.

The new high school capacity report further underscores the need to set priorities among all Arlington capital projects. As the Sun Gazette high school capacity story warned, “with both the school system and the county government … approaching their self-imposed limits on bond debt — options are further constrained.” We can’t afford every project.

Since both school system and county government capital projects ultimately are funded by the same tax base, we need to move rapidly toward a more unified, integrated and rigorous system of setting capital spending priorities for all capital projects. Such priorities should NOT be selected within artificial silos in which county projects on the one hand and school projects on the other hand are only evaluated and prioritized separately within such silos.

As I have written previously, the highest priority should be given to expenditures on core government services. Since public education is one of the most critical of those core functions, Arlington’s public schools deserve the highest priority for capital spending. Arlington’s new Wakefield High School building is an excellent example of a recent APS capital project that stuck to the basics. The new Wakefield building has received strong community reviews.

The Arlington Mill Community Center is another recent Arlington County capital project that has been widely praised.

By unfortunate contrast, extravagant and wasteful spending on non-essential design elements has characterized several other recent Arlington County projects like the Aquatic Center, the Clarendon dog park, and the $1 million Super Stop.

As we begin planning for next year’s critical revisions to Arlington’s Capital Improvement Plan, let’s learn from our successes.

Peter Rousselot is a former member of the Central Committee of the Democratic Party of Virginia and former chair of the Arlington County Democratic Committee.

Recent Stories

The week started as summer and is ending, unmistakably, as fall. On the plus side, we have a stretch of crisp, sunny days ahead, with the exception of some rain…

Open houses in Arlington this weekend

A 5 BD/2 BA home with a light-filled den and screened back porch is included in Open Houses.

Early voting got off to a muted start today (Thursday) at the Arlington County government headquarters in Courthouse. “We had a line of five voters when we opened at 8…

Wakefield High School and Claremont Elementary School were secured today in response to reports of gunfire in nearby Bailey’s Crossroads.

Now you can have fun with your family and friends when deciding where to eat!

Just hop aboard The Lunch Train and set the destination for: breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, or nightlife!

– No app necessary. Simply go to the website if you’d like!
– No account necessary
– Use your current location or a desired location
– Add restaurants you’re interested in, invite your friends, and play the game!

Submit your own Community Post here.

Lyon Park & Ashton Heights’ biennial home & garden biennial tour is back. The tour will include contemporary custom homes, older historic bungalows as well as renovated properties. One of the stunning homes on the tour is pictured above.  In addition to beautiful & unique homes, the Villa & Vistas ’22 event will conclude with a festive reception at the Lyon Park Community Center at 414 N Fillmore Street, Arlington VA 22201. What could be better right?

All proceeds from this event will go to the Lyon Park Citizens Association (LPCA) towards our neighborhood jewel & hub, the Lyon Park Community Center (LPCC).

When: Sunday, October 2nd, Noon – 4 PM. 

Where: Meet to get your tickets and the tour map at the Lyon Park Community Center (414 N Fillmore Street) We will have a table with information outside.

Read More

Submit your own Community Post here.

Homebuying 101: Steps to Getting Pre-Approved

Are you ready to jump into homeownership or started considering it but don’t know where to start? Financial preparation is key when thinking about purchasing your first home and the first step to getting pre-approved. Join ACFCU for our Homebuying

Pink Carpet Event Charity Fashion Show

The Pink Carpet Event Charity Fashion Show will feature our fabulous breast cancer survivors slaying the runway! Designers from Baltimore and the Washington, DC Metropolitan area will bring exquisite fashion and glamour to this event. Professional male and female designs


Subscribe to our mailing list