Board Matters: Poets, Scientists and a New Plan for Custodian Outsourcing

Thursday night’s School Board meeting was full of recognitions. It’s that time of you when we have so many students winning awards. There was also an important update on the plan to transition schools to outsourced operational services.

If you didn’t watch the meeting live, you can watch the May 9 Board meeting and all Board meetings online anytime from the comfort of your sofa, and take your time to view the presentations and memos. You can also watch the School Board Work Session that followed the meeting, where the budget add/deletes were discussed publicly.

Don’t forget that you can also watch all Board meetings live on ACPS-TV, local cable channel 71 and ACPS-TV online. You can also watch all meetings recorded online.

Student Poets Laureate

Julia Mickelsen, 3rd grade, Douglas MacArthur Elementary School


Julia Mickelsen is a third-grade student at Douglas MacArthur Elementary School, where writing and science are her favorite subjects. Julia loves art — especially drawing — and ballet. Her favorite colors are pink and orange, and she loves dogs. Julia was inspired to write this poem because she just really loves writing poetry.

Henry Miller, 5th Grade, Mount Vernon Community School

“The Greatest Inventor”

Henry is a fifth-grade student at Mount Vernon Community School. Henry’s favorite subject is reading class where he was inspired by a quote to write his poem, “The Greatest Inventor.” Henry plays soccer for MVCS and plays saxophone in the band. Henry loves to read in his free time and his favorite book is Fablehaven.

Emma Lally, 10th grade, T.C. Williams High School


Emma Lally is a 10th-grade student at T.C. Williams High School. She loves to read and write — a passion she picked up in part from her mother, Jennifer Veech. She is a founding member of a Del Ray neighborhood book club that meets weekly and reads both fiction and poetry. She is reading the classic sci-fi novel “Dune” for book club. Emma has been playing violin since the fourth grade and plays in the T.C. Chamber Orchestra. She has two older siblings and a dog named Banjo.

Ana Humphrey and Student Scientists

Ana Humphrey was honored by the Board for her string of recent successes, including the Regeneron Science contest win. She was honored alongside some of our other science fair winners.

Watch the video of our science winners

Read the full ACPS Express post about Ana.

Superintendent’s Comments: Proposed Changes to the Budget

Dr. Gregory C. Hutchings, Jr. moved his comments up so that he could address the custodians who were present at the Board meeting. The superintendent explained that he has been listening to the custodians over the past three months and tried to accommodate some of their requests in the budget add/deletes. He announced a potential solution to the issue of transitioning ACPS schools to contracted services. ACPS’ original intent was to transition schools to contracted services and we still believe this is the best course of action. Our goal is for ACPS to focus on its main function of educational services, while leaving the delivery of custodial services to an outside company. Dr. Hutchings’ proposed plan supports the ACPS 2020 Strategic Plan goals of effective and efficient operations and optimal facilities and learning environments.

The proposed alternative solution is a tiered approach that was developed through a comprehensive evaluation of cost and contractual models, benefits, and operational impact on ACPS. This would mean that ACPS would continue to contract out 10 FTE (Full-Time Equivalent) positions where staff have worked for ACPS for five years or fewer — a reduction from the 30 FTE positions originally proposed. ACPS will develop a plan to find a long-term solution that will end some of the divisiveness that this issue has created. The proposed plan will add back $180,093 into the budget, which will be found through reductions in the substitute teacher budget. The superintendent is proposing that Central Office staff cover lessons when teachers are out sick to help cover this deficit.

Watch the video of his comments

New Chief Human Resources Officer Announced

Superintendent Dr. Gregory C. Hutchings, Jr. has appointed Dr. Stephen M. Wilkins as Chief Human Resources Officer. Dr. Wilkins is a former HR officer with Alexandria City Public Schools. He is currently Assistant Superintendent of Business Operations and Human Resources for Shaker Heights School District in Ohio, and also serving as Interim Superintendent for the year. A military veteran, he has extensive experience in operations and personnel management.

Read more.

FY 2020 Combined-Funds Budget and FY 2020–2029 Capital Improvement Program Budget Work Session

Read the Memo (PDF)

View the Work Session

ACPS, Alexandria City High School, Board Matters, Budget, MacArthur, Mount Vernon, School Board, Video