At the School Board meeting before winter break, the School Board approved the Capital Improvement Program (CIP) Budget for the next ten years to go forward to City Council. Both the Alexandria City School Board and Superintendent agreed that collaboration with the City will be key to resolving facilities issues and setting the schools on a positive trajectory for the future.
The budget will focus on both school capacity and upkeep as top priorities and calls funds to be identified to address urgent needs outside of the budget cycle. ACPS is simultaneously juggling the two issues of capacity and maintenance and will need to find comprehensive ways to resolve both over the next several years. The School Board is requesting that the City Council consider a mechanism to address urgent non-capacity needs such as establishing a reserve fund for repair and renovation projects that could be used if needed in the future.
The $478.5 million ten-year CIP Budget provides funding for The High School Project, the modernization of three elementary schools, a new school to be used as flexible space during construction, an additional school in the out-years of the CIP, and a modernization of the transportation facility. The budget closely follows the city-wide recommendations made last fall by the Ad-Hoc Joint City-Schools Facilities Task Force and ensures the overall capital goals of the city and school division remain aligned.
What does this budget mean for your child’s educational experience next year?
The High School Project, Security and Transportation
A total of $42.6 million has been allocated in 2020 including $15.4 million in soft costs for The High School Project, $0.9 million in upgrades to the security management system and cameras across all schools and buses, and $1.8 million to fund the addition of several new buses to accommodate growing enrollment and replace buses and vehicles beyond their useful life.
The School Board voted to advance $6.7 million to 2020 to modernize the transportation facility that is in poor condition and requires expansion.
Renovations and Upgrades
Funds have also been allocated in 2020 for renovation work at George Washington Middle School, and general repairs and upgrades at Francis C. Hammond Middle School, John Adams and Matthew Maury elementary schools and Cora Kelly School for Math, Science and Technology.
Jefferson-Houston School and James K. Polk, Samuel W. Tucker, William Ramsay and Charles Barrett elementary schools, as well as Lyles-Crouch Traditional Academy and both campuses of T.C. Williams High School will also receive funds for upgrades to their facilities.
Mount Vernon Community School will receive almost $2.5 million next school year to complete work identified in the November 2018 building assessment and a kitchen update.
The rowing facility for T.C. Williams will also get an upgrade to the fire alarm and sprinkler system.
Over the past two years, ACPS and the City have established joint planning that allows discussion of land acquisition, possible grade level configurations, site suitability and best use of City and ACPS assets. This will continue next school year.
Funding for a resolution of middle school capacity issues, as well as funding for urgent repairs outside of the budget cycle, were not included because they fall outside the Task Force’s recommendations. ACPS will be exploring the feasibility of different options to modernize Douglas MacArthur, George Mason and Cora Kelly to determine if these projects could be advanced in future CIPs.
The CIP will now be discussed as part of the City’s budget process, including a Public Hearing at City Hall on Monday, March 11 at 4 p.m. The final budget will be adopted on May 1, 2019.