Arlington, VA

After some back-and-forth, the Arlington School Board last night approved a new pre-Labor Day start for the next school year.

The board voted to approve the interim superintendent’s recommended Aug. 31 start date, with a bit of a caveat. The 4-1 vote followed discussion about what to do about families that have already made travel plans that will now be impacted by the earlier start date.

Reid Goldstein was the lone ‘no’ vote. He previously moved to adopt a calendar that maintained a post-Labor Day start, on Sept. 8, but the motion failed. He said the board was voting too late on a change that will affect families.

“The calendar consideration cycle started later than it should have, and now it’s concluding later than it should and [later than] is convenient for communication,” he said.

Another motion, to instruct the superintendent and principals to be lenient with students missing the first week of school, also failed. The motion from School Board member Tannia Talento would have also instructed administrators to ensure that the first week of school would be light on instruction, so students with existing vacation plans do not miss too much.

Talento’s motion failed after it was asserted that existing APS policy would call for excused absences and efforts to help students catch up under such circumstances.

In supporting the superintendent’s recommendation, School Board member Barbara Kanninen noted that based on mixed feedback from parents, students and school staff, “we clearly have community members who have completely different feelings.” The Aug. 31 start was the result of school staff working “to find common ground,” she said, and wouldn’t unduly shorten the summer break thanks to this year’s late Labor Day holiday, on Sept. 7.

Under the new calendar, students will have a four-day weekend for Labor Day, after four days of school. The school year will end on June 16 for high school students and June 18 for elementary and middle school students.

As previously reported, the proposed calendar also calls for a two-week winter break, a one-week spring break, three weekdays off for Thanksgiving break, Columbus Day and Veterans Day off, and no school on Election Day in November, which will be a telework “grade prep” day for teachers, among other off days.

The neighboring jurisdictions of Falls Church, Fairfax County, Loudoun County, and Prince William County have approved pre-Labor Day start date — between Aug. 24-27 — for the next school year. Among suburban Northern Virginia public school systems, only Alexandria is sticking with a post-Labor Day start date of Sept. 8, at least for now.

Arlington Public Schools had been considering a pre-Labor Day start after state law changed last year to allow it.

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After an extended period of contemplation, which led to some parent complaints, the Arlington School Board is set to vote on the 2020-2021 school calendar tonight.

Arlington Public Schools has been considering a pre-Labor Day start after state law changed last year to allow it. Since then, the neighboring jurisdictions of Falls Church, Fairfax County, Loudoun County, and Prince William County have approved pre-Labor Day start date — between Aug. 24-27 — for the next school year.

Among suburban Northern Virginia public school systems, only Alexandria is sticking with a post-Labor Day start date of Sept. 8, at least for now.

Seeking to balance the desires of parents to keep their late summer vacation plans, and those who want school to start earlier, Arlington’s interim superintendent is recommending a Monday, Aug. 31 start date, followed four days later by a four-day Labor Day break, from Friday to Monday.

The superintendent’s recommendation calls for a June 16 last day of school for high school students and a June 18 last day for elementary and middle school students.

The proposed calendar also calls for a two-week winter break, a one-week spring break, three weekdays off for Thanksgiving break, Columbus Day and Veterans Day off, and no school on Election Day in November, which will be a telework “grade prep” day for teachers, among other off days.

A staff presentation released ahead of Thursday night’s School Board meeting refers to 2020-2021 as a “transition year,” perhaps paving the way for an earlier start date in future years.

The presentation also gives the School Board the option of voting on a school calendar with a post-Labor Day start, on Sept. 8, and a June 23-25 last day of school.

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Morning Notes

Shooting Suspect Served Time for MurderUpdated at 8:40 a.m. — Crystal City shooting suspect Mumeet Ali Muhammad was released from prison two years ago after being convicted of a 1991 murder in Arlington. And he had recently been arrested but then released after allegedly threatening to shoot a man in D.C. and possessing a gun as a felon. [WTOP, NBC 4]

Witness Recounts Hiding in Office During Shooting — “An association employee described the scene to InsideNoVa on Thursday, saying recent active-shooter training helped employees get through the terrifying episode. ‘Everybody did precisely what they should have done,’ said the employee, who asked that his name not be published… ‘I got right up next to door, crouched down and made myself as small as possible,’ he said. ‘I heard screaming, him yelling at her, her pleading with him.'” [InsideNova]

Labor Day Closures in Arlington — “Arlington County Government offices, courts, libraries & facilities will be closed on Monday, Sept. 2, 2019 for Labor Day.” Trash and recycling will be collected as normal, but parking meters will not be enforced. [Arlington County]

Amazon Brain Drain Worries — “Amazon is only just starting to post job openings for its second headquarters in northern Virginia — and local startup founders are watching with apprehension. The big picture: Amazon HQ2 has the potential to turn the D.C. region into a tech hotspot, but smaller companies are worried that the short-term impact of Amazon coming to town will be a brain drain.” [Axios]

‘Clarendon Jam Session’ Sunday — “The long weekend is almost here and it’s time to celebrate with a jam session at The Lot in an urban beach party setting! $20 gets you access to CLARENDON JAM SESSION 2019.” [Instagram]

Oktoberfest Ticket Prices Increasing — Early bird $30 ticket pricing for the Crystal City Oktoberfest ends this weekend. General admission tickets will be $45 thereafter. [Eventbrite]

Dominion Funding Electric School Buses — “Schools across Virginia could have all-electric school buses by 2030, under a plan from Dominion Energy. The company said it could be the largest deployment of electric school buses in the nation… The announcement comes the same day as a Virginia State Corporation Commission reported that Dominion’s 2018 profits were higher than regulators approved.” [WAMU, Dominion, Virginia Mercury]

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Arlington school leaders could soon gain the power to start classes before Labor Day, as some long-stymied legislation finally seems set to pass in the General Assembly.

State lawmakers are gearing up to finally repeal a provision widely known as the “King’s Dominion Rule,” which has barred school systems across the state from starting class before Labor Day for the last 30 years in a bid to provide Virginia’s theme parks with a robust pool of potential patrons, and student workers, each summer.

Many schools have already earned “waivers” to disregard the rule (including large school systems like Fairfax and Loudoun counties) and momentum has built in recent years to do away with the law entirely. Arlington officials have been particularly keen on kicking off class early, hoping to better align high school calendars with the slew of standardized tests that dominate the latter half of each school year.

And while it’s not a done deal just yet, Arlington could well get its wish this year. The House of Delegates and state Senate have now both passed a bill from Del. Roxann Robinson (R-27th District) to allow school systems to start classes up to 14 days before Labor Day — so long as they give students the Friday before the holiday off.

Lawmakers will now need to determine the bill’s next steps. General Assembly leaders could opt to send it along to Gov. Ralph Northam as it is, or convene a conference committee for additional negotiations as a competing bill from Sen. Amanda Chase (R-11th District) heads to the House floor for a vote.

Some local Arlington legislators — Sens. Barbara Favola (D-31st District) and Janet Howell (D-32nd District) — were backing narrower bills to give only Northern Virginia localities the power to control their school calendars. But those efforts were quickly rolled into Chase’s legislation instead, as it became clear that the tourism industry and school administrators might be able to strike a compromise on the legislation.

“We think this is a good compromise,” Chase told a House committee yesterday (Monday). “Our desire is really this to give the power back to the school boards, the parents and the PTAs, as opposed to big business determining when our young people go to school.”

Both bills would grandfather in school systems that already have waivers to start more than two weeks before Labor Day, a key demand from school leaders. Those localities also wouldn’t be required to give students the Friday before the holiday off.

Chase, and groups representing the state’s school boards and superintendents, said they would’ve much preferred a full repeal of the law to let school systems set calendars however they’d like.

By contrast, representatives of the state’s theme parks say they’re not thrilled with the prospect of schools starting the full two weeks before the holiday, but insisted on students receiving a four-day weekend as a bit of a compromise.

Tom Lisk, a lobbyist for the Virginia Restaurant, Lodging and Travel Association, told House lawmakers yesterday that the interest group is generally opposed to the legislation, but wouldn’t condemn the effort in its entirety.

“There’s an opportunity to work to find middle ground still,” Lisk said.

As of yet, however, there’s not much sign that lawmakers will bend to pressure from the hospitality industry on the bill.

The House’s education committee altered Chase’s bill to make it identical to Robinson’s on a 16-6 vote yesterday — should the House then pass the legislation, the final decision will rest with Northam. Or, the House could always alter Chase’s bill, setting up the potential for a conference committee, where a small team of negotiators would hash out the differences between the two pieces of legislation.

Regardless of just how lawmakers work out the details, Arlington’s School Board will be watching the proceedings quite closely. As the group set the calendar for the 2019-2020 school year on Feb. 7, Board member Barbara Kanninen told staff that she’d be “very interested” in seeing options for a pre-Labor Day start next year, so long as the legislature follows through.

“Ultimately, I’m a big fan of year-round school, and this gives us a chance to start working in that direction,” Kanninen said.

File photo

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Going into the Labor Day weekend, Arlingtonians should be aware of several closings coming up on Monday and one big opening the day after: back to school day.

As local students head back to the opening day for schools on Tuesday (Sept. 4), the Arlington Police Department has put out a reminder for motorists to slow down, avoid distractions, and watch for the influx of students walking and biking to school.

Arlington Police also reminded drivers that passing a stopped school bus loading or unloading can result in a $250 fine. Vehicles on both sides of the road must stop on all roads except for divided highways, where drivers are urged to proceed with caution.

Pedestrians are reminded to only cross streets at crosswalks with permitting signals, to walk along sidewalks or paths rather than on the side of the road, and to follow the directions of crossing guards.

For cyclists, helmets are required for anyone 14 or under, but are recommended for everyone. When riding through Arlington, cyclists should keep to the right on the roads and ride in the direction of traffic.

Parents with students starting school should make sure their child knows their home phone number and address. Parents or guardians should roleplay possible situations a child might encounter and discuss personal safety tips with their child.

Before school opens back up, several government facilities will be closed on Monday for Labor Day.

Courts

  • Closed

DMV Select & Virginia DMV

  • Closed

Human Services

  • Closed

Libraries

  • Closed

Parks & Recreation Facilities & Programs

  • Admin Offices – Closed
  • Classes/Leagues – Closed
  • Parks – Grounds Open
  • Centers – Closed
  • Spraygrounds – All spraygrounds will be open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Parking

  • Metered areas not enforced

Public Schools

  • Closed

Sheriff’s Office

Swimming Pools

Transportation

Trash Pickup & Recycling

  • Trash & Recycling – Regular schedule
  • Special Collection (Brush, Metal, E-waste) & Cart Services – Regular schedule
  • Mulch Delivery – No service
  • Leaf & Brush collection – Regular schedule

Call Center

  • Closed

HHM Facility and ECRC

  • Closed

Treasurer’s Office

  • Closed

File Photo

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Morning Notes

Today Is ‘Terrible Traffic Tuesday’ — Today is the Tuesday after Labor Day, when students in Arlington and around the region go back to school. As a result of the extra school buses, parents and students on the roads, and the end of summer vacations, it is also dubbed “Terrible Traffic Tuesday” by AAA Mid-Atlantic. In reality, however, the day after — which now has a name: “Woeful Wednesday” — is worse in terms of commuting times, and next week should be even more woeful. [Washington Post, WTOP]

Chili’s Dying Out in D.C. Area — The Chili’s in Bailey’s Crossroads has closed. The restaurant chain closed its Crystal City location last year and its Reston location the year before that. The nearest Chili’s to Arlington is now along Route 1, outside the Beltway, in Fairfax County. [Twitter]

Roosevelt Profiled by Conservative Media — GOP candidate Adam Roosevelt is getting some attention from conservative media outlets. Roosevelt “is a moderate Republican running for the Virginia House of Delegates against current Democratic Delegate Alfonso Lopez, who has never before faced a GOP opponent during his six years in office,” writes the Daily Caller, calling the district he’s running in, which includes part of Arlington, “far left.” The lead sentence in Newsmax’s article about Roosevelt has a different focus: “A conservative Republican candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates, who happens to be black, has recently emerged as one of the most spirited advocates of keeping Confederate statues up in the Old Dominion State.” [Daily Caller, Newsmax]

Webb Removed from Civ Fed Debate — School Board candidate Mike Webb has had his invitation to tonight’s Arlington County Civic Federation debate — the unofficial kickoff to campaign season in Arlington — rescinded because he reportedly “failed to return required paperwork in time to allow participation.” Allison Dough, the other candidate to challenge Democratic endorsee Monique O’Grady, has said she has other commitments and will be unable to attend the debate. [InsideNova]

Arlington Man Evicted From ‘Big Brother’ House — Arlington resident Matt Clines, 33, has been evicted from the Big Brother house. Clines had advanced about half-way through the CBS reality show before being voted off. [Reality TV World, Parade, Hollywood Reporter]

DeVos to Make Big Announcement in Arlington — Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is reportedly planning to make a “major announcement on Title IX, the campus gender equality law,” from George Mason’s Antonin Scalia Law School in Arlington on Thursday. [BuzzFeed]

Flickr pool photo by Jim Webster

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"Terrible traffic Tuesday" road conditions at 8:45 a.m. on 9/6/16

Unsurprisingly, traffic is pretty heavy for this morning’s rush hour.

In the D.C. area, the Tuesday after Labor Day is sometimes called “Terrible Traffic Tuesday.” That refers to the extra cars and buses on the road due to the first day of school and most people being back from their summer vacations.

In reality, the traffic is usually worse the following Wednesday, and even worse still the week after that.

As of 8:45 a.m., there were big delays on I-395 and the southbound GW Parkway in Arlington, as per usual. So far, no major traffic issues have been reported in Arlington.

Image via Google Maps

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Logo via Arlington CountyArlington County courts, human services, libraries, recreation centers and administrative offices will be closed this coming Monday, Sept. 5, for the Labor Day holiday.

Parking meters will not be enforced on Labor Day and only ART bus routes 41, 45, 51, 55 and 87 will be running. Those routes will operate on a Sunday schedule. Metro will operate on a holiday schedule, with extra delays due to track work.

The Wakefield and Washington-Lee high school pools will be open, but the Yorktown pool will be closed.

Trash and recycling will be collected as normal, and Arlington’s special collection service will also operate as normal. A paper shredding and inert material drop-off event that would have otherwise taken place on Sept. 5 has been rescheduled for Sept. 10.

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It’s Labor Day weekend — how did that happen already? If you’re sticking around town this weekend, it could be a time to tour a couple of homes and still have a couple days to yourself to enjoy the last days of summer.

As always, see our real estate section for a full listing of open houses. Here are a few highlights:

30OldGlebe30 Old Glebe Road
1 BD / 1 BA Condominium
Agent: Grant Doe, Long & Foster Realty
Listed: $200,000
Open: Sunday from 1-4 p.m.

2505 Walter Reed2505 Walter Reed Drive S.
2 BD / 1 BA Condominium
Agent: Peggy Parker, Long and Foster Realty
Listed: $309,800
Open: Saturday from 1-4 p.m., Sunday from 1-4 p.m.

3917 17th3917 17th Street N.
3 BD / 2 BA Single Family Detached
Agent: Keri Shull, Optime Realty
Listed: $625,000
Open: Sunday from 2-4 p.m.

410 Fenwick410 Fenwick Street
3 BD / 2 BA Single Family Detached
Agent: Elizabeth Twigg, Mcenearney Associates
Listed: $650,000
Open: Sunday from 1-4 p.m.

101020th1010 20th Street S.
3 BD / 3 Full, 1 Half BA Single Family Detached
Agent: Patricia Hines, American Realty Group
Listed: $809,000
Open: Sunday from 1-4 p.m.

45027th4502 7th Street N.
4 BD / 3 Full, 1 Half BA Single Family Detached
Agent: Noel Harmer, Keller Williams Realty Falls Church
Listed: $1,299,999
Open: Sunday from 2-4 p.m.

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Plane taking off at Reagan National AirportAAA Mid-Atlantic came out with its annual Labor Day travel forecast earlier this week, predicting that 850,700 D.C. area residents will head out of town for the holiday.

That’s a paltry 0.4 percent increase from last year, with 743,200 residents expected to drive to their vacation destinations, 62,500 expected to fly and the rest expected to take trains and other modes of transportation.

AAA says there would have been more locals traveling this year, had Labor Day not fallen on Sept. 7, the latest possible day it can occur. Historically, that dampens holiday travel.

“While increasing travel volume is great news for the industry and economy, our survey shows a decidedly ‘un-laboring’ take on the Labor Day holiday,” said AAA’s John Townsend II, in a press release. “Many would rather spend the holiday at cookouts, relaxing or simply at home to avoid heavy holiday traffic congestion or additional spending, especially if they have already taken a vacation this summer.”

Are you planning on skipping town for one last summer trip — or staying put and firing up the grill?

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American flag (file photo)

Most Arlington County government offices will be closed this coming Monday, Sept. 7, for the Labor Day holiday.

Libraries, courts, nature centers and administrative offices will be closed on Monday in observance of the holiday.

Parks will be open, and county pools will operate on a modified schedule. The Washington-Lee pool will be open from noon to 4 p.m., the Wakefield High School pool is open from noon to 6 p.m., and the Yorktown pool will be open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

ART will run on a holiday schedule, meaning the 41, 51 and 87 buses will operate on Sunday times. All other routes will not run on Labor Day. Metro will run on a Sunday schedule and will operate from 7 a.m. to midnight.

Trash and recycling will be collected as normal.

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