Have your say about the budget. We need to make sure that the Alexandria City Council funds our capacity projects so that children no longer have to eat lunch at 10:30 a.m., do not have to use closets as classrooms, can fit into their neighborhood schools and do not have to be bused all over the city to learn. This includes funds to lease and retrofit office space to house a new elementary school in the West End, adding 700 seats for students.
Sign up to speak to City Council at the Budget Public Hearing on Monday, March 14, 4-6 p.m. in the City Council Chambers on the 2nd floor at City Hall, 301 King Street.
Sign up to speak using the date Monday, March 14, 2016.
If you can’t get there in person, write an email to City Council to reach them by 4 p.m. on Monday.
Redistricting alone will not solve these problems. It will go some way to relieving the immediate pressure. But the only way to make sure we have enough seats for all our students in the future is to expand the space we have available for students to learn.
We need the City Council to fund one, and then a second, centralized center for preschool programs. This takes these classrooms out of the elementary schools freeing them up for elementary students. But it does much more than this. Working hand in hand with our city-wide partners this will also enable us to explore options to expand access. Advancing the preschool model across the city will also mean better academic results later on for students by helping to lay the foundation for academic success during the early years and unites early education goals from the ACPS 2020 Strategic Plan and the Children and Youth Master Plan.
This year, ACPS has 14,729 students enrolled, which is within 99.9 percent accuracy of projections. Division-wide capacity is approximately 548 seats less than the optimal number under the Long Range Plan. Enrollment is projected to increase by 3.7 percent in FY 2017, taking ACPS to a total of 15,270 students. By FY 2026, ACPS is projected to have just under 19,000 students.
Over the past ten years ACPS has grown by over 4,000 students — one and a half times the size of T.C. Williams High School — without adding a single new school.
This increase in enrollment numbers will not go away if we ignore it. It will only get worse.
We need to make sure the City Council fully funds the Operational Budget, so that we can attract and retain good teachers and provide the supports for our students that they need in order to achieve academically. We need to provide our growing student population with the support services they need for instruction and the well-being of the whole child.