On Thursday, Superintendent Alvin L. Crawley unveiled a Capital Improvement Program (CIP) budget for FY2017-2026 that advances Pre-K and increases elementary and secondary capacity through innovative programing and the addition of extra space. This CIP is aligned with the ACPS 2020 Strategic Plan, which includes designing optimal and equitable learning environments to support high-performing schools.
The ten-year CIP budget totals $291.2 million, closing the entire funding gap of $14.5 million that existed in the FY2016-2025 CIP budget.
The Superintendent is proposing the creation of a new elementary school location in the West End in time for the start of the 2017-2018 school year. This will be created by retrofitting leased space to accommodate projected growth in elementary enrollment and will add the classrooms we need for the current population.
Under the proposed plan, space will be found to expand comprehensive Pre-K services in Alexandria City. This is intended to be implemented in collaboration with various partners, with the goal of promoting learning opportunities for young children.
To further reduce the current and future pressures on elementary schools over the ten year period outlined in the plan, James K. Polk Elementary School will see the addition of five more modular classrooms in 2017. The new build for MacArthur, which could add up to ten new classrooms, will begin in 2019 and will be completed by 2021. MacArthur students will move to designated swing space in 2020.
For high school, the Superintendent outlined a full modernization of Minnie Howard, adding ten classrooms, additional gym space, office space and cafeteria expansion.
The CIP budget proposes a specialized learning academy, perhaps specializing in CTE or public policy, to boost instruction for secondary students in 2020 and supplement student capacity by 650. It also proposes a study to look at the creation of a ‘Middle College’ in 2019 that would house a cohort of 200 students in a college setting who would graduate with an Associate’s degree.
This plan advances our goal towards creating optimal learning environments for students from Pre-K through grade 12. It supports the idea of academies and the opportunity to accelerate learning for students interested in achieving an Associate’s Degree during their high school years. This CIP budget allows for modernization, capacity changes and programming changes to go hand-in-hand. This is the start of a new way forward for ACPS as a high-performing school division,” said Dr. Crawley.
The plan addresses crowding on high school buses by replacing ten outdated buses and adding six new buses. This will reduce the number of students per seat at the high school level from three to two students and improve the delivery of transportation services.
The modernization of Cora Kelly with the addition of ten modular classrooms and a new building on the site of George Mason Elementary School are planned for the latter half of the ten-year CIP budget.
The major drivers for capital planning over the next ten years are increased student enrollment, which is expected to average 3.6 percent growth through 2021, educational adequacy and building conditions, all of which require modernization of outdated facilities and new program options. Both the elementary and the Pre-K expansion help create capacity for the redistricting effort.
The Superintendent has stressed that he is collaborating with the City to prioritize the school division’s needs as part of a shared vision for long range planning in Alexandria City.