Opinion: Letter to the Editor: More School Capacity Needed

Opinion: Letter to the Editor: More School Capacity Needed

I believe in supporting our community and staying engaged in our children’s lives. I also like problem solving and Alexandria City Public Schools faces significant overcrowding. This is why I got involved with the recent redistricting efforts.

ACPS needs more school capacity and it is most needed on the west end. As of fall 2016, ACPS had 8,091 elementary students enrolled, or 116 percent of the 6,998 student capacity. Enrollment is expected to increase so overcrowding will only get worse. Currently, young children are learning in spaces not designed for education, such as large closets, hallways, and rooms with no natural light. Some of our youngest students have to eat lunch at 10:15 a.m. because cafeterias aren’t big enough to handle the large number of students.

I truly appreciate being a Redistricting Review Committee representative for John Adams and the hundreds of hours the community and my fellow representatives spent respectfully engaging. Additionally, ACPS devoted significant resources to engaging stakeholders and furthering the process. There were many long hours; however, the endeavor resulted in what may not be perfect but is the best available solution to a complex situation.

This solution is predicated on a plan that addresses the needed capacity. While there is ongoing discussion among the School Board and City Council regarding how best to address the mid-to-longer term needs, everyone fully agrees a new school at 1701 N Beauregard is the proper first step to reducing this overcrowding.

… Everyone except our neighbors at 1703 N Beauregard –– the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. ASCD is an educational non-profit opposing the rezoning of the 1701 property that is necessary for the new school. They expressed that having the new school as a neighbor will “result in significant diminution of value for the ASCD Property.”

Bill Pfister