This was a week where capital projects were high on the list for discussion. There was also a presentation on the next steps for implementation of the recommendations that came out of the Students With Disabilities evaluation, in addition to a report on student enrollment numbers for the 2019-20 school year.
Superintendent Proposes Ten-Year Vision for Equitable, Safe, Modern Facilities
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Gregory C. Hutchings, Jr. has presented a ten-year vision for the Capital Improvement Program (CIP) Budget that focuses on building capacity across all grade levels, increasing safety and security, modernizing facilities for the 21st century, and ensuring equitable investment across all schools.
The proposed CIP Budget for FY 2021-30, which is expected to be approved by the Alexandria City School Board on December 19, includes funding for the modernization of three elementary schools, design for one elementary school, plus one new school. It also includes an updated funding request for The High School Project to support the expansion of T.C. Williams High School into a Connected High School Network, and upgrades to aging facilities and security systems.
This budget addresses our capacity needs, the need to address our aging facilities and infrastructure while also addressing safety and security and the need to upgrade our textbooks. This is a Capital Improvement Program Budget that is based on data and is in line with the recommendations of the Joint City-Schools Task Force as well as City budget expectations,” said Dr. Hutchings.
The initial concept design work for a new building for Douglas MacArthur Elementary School began this fall and the building is expected to be ready for students by December 2023. George Mason Elementary School is scheduled to begin modernization in 2023, Cora Kelly School for Math, Science and Technology will begin modernization in 2026, and Matthew Maury Elementary School will begin modernization in 2030. Each of these projects, plus the addition of a new school starting in 2028, will address capacity concerns in line with joint City-Schools enrollment projections.
The CIP also includes $158.2 million for The High School Project in FY 2021 and 22. The project includes plans for a new 1,600 seat building on the current Minnie Howard site, expanding the current capacity of T.C. Williams High School to accommodate student enrollment growth over the next ten years as part of a Connected High School Network. The total cost of the project will now be $178.9 million, including the $20.7 million previously funded and partially used in 2018-19 to support the educational visioning, program design and project planning. Existing funds will continue to be used to carry the project through the next two years of design work.
For the second consecutive year, the FY 2021-30 CIP will include textbook adoptions to ensure ACPS stays current with Virginia Department of Education standards of learning. It will also include technology upgrades for school facilities, transportation and IT to support safety and security needs. These will include security system upgrades, the upgrade of fire and life safety systems and a number of projects that will improve environmental health.
This year, projects were assigned to the FY 2021-30 CIP following a Targeted Facilities Conditions Assessment on six facilities that offered a method to prioritize the need for non-capacity upgrades across the school division. A total of $25.7 million is allocated to non-capacity projects that are deemed critical.
The City and ACPS have continued to work collaboratively to align their budget processes this year. An initial draft of the CIP was presented to the City Council at a work session in October 2019. Alignment of capital planning across the city — as recommended by the Joint City-Schools Facilities Task Force in January 2018 — helps ensure that all the infrastructure needs of the city can be assessed as a whole.
The FY 2021-30 CIP includes adjustments of costs in line with inflation and the advancement of the Douglas MacArthur Elementary School modernization to FY 2021. It reallocates funds originally proposed for building new temporary swing space for MacArthur to The High School Project. The Targeted Facilities Conditions Assessment also noted significant needs at Francis C. Hammond Middle School, George Washington Middle School, George Mason Elementary School, and Cora Kelly School for Math, Science and Technology, and upgrades to the Transportation Facility.
ACPS has been systematically modernizing aging elementary facilities as part of the ACPS 2020 Strategic Plan that strives for safe, optimal learning environments that support academic success for all.
The School Board will be conduct a work session with a focus on the FY 2021 proposed CIP on November 14. The Board will engage in a work session on November 25 to discuss the FY 2022-30 CIP projects. The community can directly participate in the budget process through a Public Hearing on the proposed Capital Improvement Program Budget on November 25 at 7 p.m. in the School Board Meeting Room at ACPS Central Office. Two add/delete sessions on the CIP will be shown live on ACPS-TV — local cable channel 71 and online — on December 12 and December 17. The Board is scheduled to approve the CIP on December 19.
Students With Disabilities Evaluation Update and Draft Action Plan
The ACPS Specialized Instruction team has drawn up an action plan to implement the recommendations of the 2018 Students With Disabilities Evaluation. You can hear how those recommendations are being implemented and view the presentation (PDF).
SY 2019-20 Fall Membership, Transfer, and Student Ratio Report
Our student enrollment projections were right on the mark again at 100.71% accurate for 2019-20. This is the final year of redistricting and so the numbers are a little higher in some places than anticipated, this will be the final year before the 2018 redistricting process is complete.
This school year the School Board will discuss policy revisions at periodic Work Sessions, and your input is welcomed. Policy Work Session #1 is November 14, 2019.
You can weigh in on policy issues:
- During the public comment portion of each Board Meeting (sign up here);
- By joining a School Board Advisory Committee;
- On the School Board’s new, online policy input form (coming soon)!
All School Board Meetings and Work Sessions are open to the public, and are held at ACPS Central Office at 1340 Braddock Place. They are generally held on Thursday evenings at 7:00 pm. See the schedule here.