Amazon’s new Arlington HQ injects an even greater sense of urgency into planning for all the new public schools Arlington will need over the next 15 years.
In an interview striving to minimize Amazon’s impact on our schools, County Board Chair Katie Cristol observed:
A job doesn’t create students. A housing unit or a family generates students. Our highest estimates are that 15 to 20 percent (4,000 to 5,000) of these Amazon employees will live in Arlington County. [W]e anticipate that’s between 80 and 100 more students (from pre-K to 12th grade) per year, and that’s at the high peak…
I think the most important thing for our schools is that the increasing tax base coming from [Amazon] could bring up to $360 million over 16 years, of which 46 percent will go to our schools. [E]ven under the most extreme scenarios [that additional revenue] will more than supplement [the increase in student population].
Arlington has failed to develop an integrated, community-supported, long-range financing plan for all necessary new public facilities (including schools)
Arlington prides itself on its comprehensive planning:
But neither APS nor fiscal considerations have been appropriately integrated into any of those long-range plans.
Since Arlington has failed to develop an integrated, community supported, long-range financing plan for all the new public facilities Arlington will need over the next 15 years, we cannot evaluate fully Chair Cristol’s hopes about Amazon’s minimal impact on our schools.
Will we have the bond capacity to make all the transportation (including Metro), affordable housing, schools, parks, fire stations and other public investments that will be required? Will we have such bond capacity under several different, but all plausible, alternative economic scenarios? Note: as taxes increase to meet these added costs, those tax increases will inflate the costs of many other items, including “affordable” housing.
When asked to choose among:
- “X” more needed new school seats
- “Y” more needed new acres of park open space
- “Z” more needed new units of affordable housing
we don’t know now how the community would prioritize those choices.
And, it is certain that such choices will be required.
Arlington’s failure to plan appropriately for the impact on APS enrollment of new, large multi-unit housing developments undermines Chair Cristol’s optimism. The county and APS continue to promote the fantasy that new elevator apartments don’t present significant challenges for APS because such apartments generate only 0.08 students per unit. However, the principal challenge we confront isn’t the per-unit generation rate but rather the absolute number of students generated when:
- thousands of these units are being built every year
- these units are not evenly distributed across the county
The APS Facilities Advisory Committee (FAC) has prepared an excellent report on future school facilities needs. But many of that report’s recommendations have not progressed due to a lack of an appropriate sense of urgency by the County and School Boards.
Successful long-range (15 years) facilities planning must follow these principles:
- publication of several alternative financial scenarios and their direct costs, opportunity costs, and benefits
- soliciting and honoring the community’s priorities among those scenarios
- specific goals and timetables by which critical decisions must be made
- clear understanding of who is responsible for meeting those goals and timetables
Arlington lacks an appropriate long-range facilities plan now because it has failed to follow these principles.
It has been an eventful couple of weeks for BMW drivers in the Crystal City and Pentagon City area. Last night another BMW was taken during a carjacking, by suspects…
There is a significant police presence at Wakefield High School this morning after a possible drug overdose.
One person was seriously injured and Bob & Edith’s Diner was damaged after two separate incidents of gunfire in Arlington last night.
Rent Growth Slowed in 2022 — “Add together the past five years… and the Arlington apartment market has somewhat underperformed the nation as a whole, according to new data… But…
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St. Charles offers a play-based curriculum in a welcoming, Christ-centered environment.
Our program focuses on socio-emotional development and kindergarten readiness through hands-on and engaging activities. Our programs offer different schedules ranging from 7:30 am-5:30 pm for students, ages 2-5. We feature a full-day Jr. kindergarten class for older 4’s/5’s. Our facility includes a full-sized gymnasium, school chapel, and library. All of our students enjoy music and physical education weekly. Children have an opportunity to participate in enrichment classes such as soccer, basketball, ballet, and science.
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For more information or to schedule a tour, visit us at www.stcharlesarlington.org or call (703) 527-0608.
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, join us for a series of vignettes that revolve around the theme of love. Taking place in an almost-town called Almost, Maine, we will show you different, but important, facet of love in each