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 ARLnow.com.
As reported by ARLnow.com 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.
Bronx Pizza is back in Clarendon under a new name: Big Tony’s Pizzeria & Dive Bar. Last May, the pizzeria closed its doors with little warning after doing business for…
It’s likely a hoax but a threatening phone call has prompted another large police response at Yorktown High School.
More than 5,000 Dominion customers were in the dark this morning due to a large power outage.
Arlington Public Schools is pausing an impending middle school boundary process, citing stable enrollment this fall. Earlier this year, APS was bracing for overcrowding at a few middle schools. It…
At Generation Hope, we’re dedicated to supporting teen parents in college as they work toward earning their degrees. We are in need of caring child care volunteers for upcoming events on Saturday, October 21st (in Washington, DC), and Saturday, November 4th (in Arlington, VA). Join our growing volunteer community and support us at an event this fall!
At all of our events, we provide free onsite child care for the children of the teen parents we serve, creating a nurturing environment for the kiddos while their parents learn valuable life skills and build community.
If you enjoy working with children and are looking to make an immediate impact in your community, please visit https://www.generationhope.org/volunteer to learn more.
Join us for Arlington’s biggest civil rights & social justice event of the year. The banquet is back in person at the Arlington Campus of George Mason University.
Our keynote speaker this year is Symone Sanders from MSNBC and former Chief of Staff for Vice-President Kamala Harris.
The Master of Ceremonies is Joshua Cole, former state delegate, NAACP President, and local pastor.
Tickets/seating are limited. Purchase your ticket today! Sponsorship opportunities available.
Join us at Church of the Covenant on Military Road every other Wednesday afternoon from 4:00-5:30pm beginning on October 18th for The Backyard: After-School Kids Club. Cost is free! The program will provide recreation, snacks, Bible stories, and other fun