Progressive Voice is a weekly opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.
Our school population is growing — projected to exceed 30,000 students in five years. More than 20 percent of our business office space is vacant, hit hard by sequestration, BRAC, GSA cutbacks, and other government spending cuts. And development has exploded and property values have increased, creating unprecedented challenges to affordable housing and the neighborhood feel of Arlington.
That’s why I believe that it is so important now that the County Board and School Board have formed a Community Facilities Study Committee — which meets for the first time this week — to analyze our current financial resources and physical assets, discuss our infrastructure challenges, and make recommendations for our community to move forward.
In some ways, the premise of the committee is unimpeachable — of course there is value in knowing what assets we have and planning for where we are going. But there are aspects of the committee that I believe make it particularly well-suited to the task at hand.
For one, it represents a collaborative effort between the County Board and School Board. All too often, the County Board and School Board have felt siloed. To be sure, there have been cooperative efforts among board members and initiatives that have broken through these walls, but in general, the School Board has focused on schools, and the County Board has tended to focus on other community needs. The Community Facilities Study Committee will bring both boards into the same conversation.
Similarly, the committee is structured to bring all community groups to the table. County interests are represented by current members and veterans of several county advisory bodies. School interests are represented by members of school advisory councils and PTAs. And neighborhood interests are represented by members of civic associations from across Arlington. This diversity of views will help ensure that all interests have voice as the committee divides limited land and budget resources.
Finally, the committee represents a bipartisan effort premised on community engagement — the so-called “Arlington Way.” This will begin with monthly “resident forums,” and it will continue as the diverse views of committee members are heard and factored over the course of a year of discussion.
In 1975, the county plans that served as the foundation of our vibrant Rosslyn-Ballston corridor were the product of extensive community discussion and engagement. The Community Facilities Study Committee rightfully recognizes that that same model is needed for Arlington’s next chapter.
To be sure, even with the right structure, the committee faces no easy task. There is no shortage of strong viewpoints in Arlington, and no shortage of constituents willing to voice them.
For my part, I urge the Committee to start with and prioritize school capacity issues. As I walk through my neighborhood, I cannot help but be struck by the number of parents with kids who call Arlington home. Those families, like mine, came to or stay in Arlington because of the promise our great schools carry. Our growing population and growing property values are a reflection of our good schools, and the continued success of our community depends on investing and maintaining this critical community asset.
Indeed, investing in schools has a double-benefit, as schools are a key preserver of playing fields, recreational facilities, and open space. One only needs to join me as I take my kids to Saturday swim lessons at Arlington high schools to see how well-used and well-valued these community assets are.
Moreover, schools are also key driver of economic development, as they serve as a primary distinguisher for Arlington as we compete for business investment in our vacant office space.
In voicing the above, I recognize that my opinion is one of many that the committee will need to factor in fulfilling its charge. But I take comfort in the fact that I and others in our community now have a ready outlet to voice these views, and I commend the County Board, School Board, and Community Facilities Study Committee members for addressing this challenge head on.
Mike Lieberman is the Immediate Past Chair of the Arlington County Democratic Committee, and a former member of the Arlington Transportation and Fiscal Affairs Advisory Commissions.
Good Thursday evening, Arlington. Let’s take a look back at today’s stories and a look forward to tomorrow’s event calendar. 🕗 News recap The following articles were published earlier today…
A look at the most and least expensive single-family homes sold in Arlington last month, November 2023.
Eighteen properties formerly within a special “revitalization district” in Cherrydale will soon officially be eligible for redevelopment with 2- to 6-unit homes. On Monday, the Arlington Planning Commission unanimously adopted…
Confused with federal paperwork? Statutes of Liberty breaks down agencies that are involved with immigration.
About Latinas Leading Tomorrow (LLT): Latinas Leading Tomorrow is a dynamic 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering young Latina women through education, mentorship, and leadership development. We are committed to fostering a community of future leaders who will make a significant impact to the community.
Job Description: We are seeking a passionate and dedicated Part-time Executive Director to lead our organization into its next phase of growth and impact. The ideal candidate will be a visionary leader who can oversee day-to-day operations, drive fundraising efforts, and cultivate relationships with stakeholders. This is a 1099 position; Remote position with ability to attend DMV events; 8-10 hours a week; $35-40/per hour.
Oversee program operations, including educational and community initiatives.
Ensure compliance with legal and regulatory requirements, maintaining trust and accountability.
Develop and execute a strategic vision aligned with our mission and values.
Lead fundraising efforts in partnership with the Board Members.
Cultivate relationships with community partners, schools, educators, and donors.
Demonstrate strong leadership skills, fostering a positive organizational culture.
Communicate effectively with diverse stakeholders and make compelling public presentations.
Promote inclusivity and collaboration throughout the organization.
Children’s Weekday Program (CWP) is a non-profit preschool rooted in a play-based philosophy. We focus on developing a love of learning and exploration, cooperation, empathy, and independence.
Our caring and experienced educators create opportunities for children 16 months to 5 years old to play, learn, and grow in a nurturing environment of child-centered and developmentally appropriate experiences.
Initially established more than 50 years ago in South Arlington, CWP continues to be a lauded program in the Northern Virginia area. We are extremely proud to have been recognized as a Best Preschool in Northern Virginia Magazine for the last 4 years.
Located now in North Arlington at 2666 Military Road, CWP offers a part-time parents day out and preschool program with options to extend care both before and after school. We offer a supportive and inclusive school community for children and parents alike and welcome all families to join our school!
Holiday Art Show featuring artists: Peter Fitzgerald, Claire Plante, Alanna Rivera, and Suzy Scollon. At the Barcroft Community House, 800 South Buchanan St., Arlington, VA. Dec. 8 from, 2 PM to 8 PM and Dec. 9 from 10 AM to