As Arlington Public Schools continues to grapple with ever-increasing enrollment, the school system is continuing to add relocatable classroom trailers to over-capacity schools.
Superintendent Dr. Patrick Murphy included $2.6 million in his proposed budget for the purchase of relocatable classrooms next school year. As the trailers are parked outside of schools, there is increasing concern about the loss of open, recreational space.
At Arlington Science Focus School, near Virginia Square, the PTA recently expressed concern that two additional relocatables, slated to be added next school year, would have to be placed on the school’s blacktop — thus resulting in the loss of a recess and phys ed area. (Four relocatables are already placed on a field outside the school.)
The PTA, working with APS, came up with a solution already at place at some other schools: a “six-plex” modular school unit that houses six classrooms and a common space, not unlike this one. The consolidated unit would cut down on the amount of open space taken up.
There are already five “six-plexes” in Arlington: two at McKinley Elementary and one each at Claremont, Oakridge and Taylor elementary schools.
APS spokesman Frank Bellavia says the school system works with schools, parents and neighbors to figure out the best way to place relocatables at schools. But the need for the modular classrooms, he said, points to the need for APS to continue building new schools and school additions expeditiously.
“We work with school leadership and the neighboring community to find the best location for the relocatables,” Bellavia said. “This is why we need more seats for more students.”
After the jump: the letter from the Science Focus PTA to parents.
Photo via Google Maps
As many of you know, we will need at least one more classroom next year, if not two, to house the projected number of students at ASFS. As announced at last week’s PTA meeting, Arlington Public Schools staff (APS) suggested placing two relocatables on our blacktop, in addition to the four we currently have on our greenspace. While this would meet our needs for classrooms, it would take up what is left of our children’s playspace for recess and PE instruction.
Many of you contacted me after this announcement and expressed this was simply not reasonable for our kids. I received many creative solutions and am grateful for all the input. One solution that was discussed was replacing the four relocatables we currently have with a 6-Plex unit (one relocatable that houses 6 classrooms and a common space). APS considered our proposed solution and found that this was the best option for ASFS.
Thank you to all who shared their opinions with me, as well as those who showed up at a meeting on very short notice on a Friday night to let our school board know this is the best option. Thank you also to all those that offered to get in touch with school board members’ to speak with them if necessary.
At this point, the 6-Plex unit has been approved by APS. If for some reason anything changes I will let everyone know but for now we look forward to receiving this 6-Plex unit this summer!
ASFS PTA President