The School Board met in a Work Session held last night to discuss the School Board’s FY 2017-26 Proposed Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) to plan for school capital projects for space and infrastructure investments that meet increasing capacity needs. APS projections indicate that enrollment will grow to a record high of more than 27,000 students in 2017-2018, and to 30,000 students by 2021. The entire 10-year CIP plan adds 5,661—5,986 seats, meeting nearly all of the elementary and secondary capacity needs projected for APS through 2025.
Key topics discussed at the Work Session included the following:
- Board members discussed funding options to begin the Reed building project one or two years earlier to generate elementary school seats. Conversations included review of the financial and operational implications to begin the project sooner.
- The Board also discussed the options to increase capacity at Arlington Science Focus Elementary. Staff suggested revising the project and rebidding the work to find a more affordable option for the project. Funding for the work may utilize future close-out funds.
- Board members discussed tentative plans for future boundary refinement processes. Future deliberations will include:
- High School Refinements – will be discussed during the 2016-17 school year to become effective for incoming high school freshmen either in the 2017-18 or the 2018-19 school year.
Elementary and Middle School Refinements – to be discussed during the 2017-18 school year to be effective in the 2020-21 school year.
- The process will include review of the IB and other admissions procedures.
- Full plans for communications and engagement will be developed for the high school process this summer.
Board members also reviewed the overall high school seat projections. The Board’s current ten-year CIP will provide 95.2% of the projected need in five years (by 2020-21), and 86.5% of the projected need in ten years.Finally, School Board members discussed the possibility of requesting from the County Board a higher share of Arlington County’s total combined debt service (schools and county) in order to address future funding needs.
- Elementary deliberations will include plans to enlarge the neighborhood boundaries for Drew Model School / increase the capacity of the Henry neighborhood boundary for the new school planned to open adjacent to Jefferson Middle School by September 2019.
- The middle school process will focus on adjustments to all middle school boundaries to develop a new middle school boundary zone for the new middle school at the Stratford building to open in September 2019.
- Related grandfathering recommendations will be part of these refinement processes.
The School Board’s Proposed FY 2017-26 CIP is available online at www.apsva.us/moreseats
. The School Board plans to adopt the final FY 2017-26 CIP on June 16, and the County Board is expected to consider it for adoption on July 19.