This is a reminder about the community meeting on elementary boundaries on Thu, Sept. 27 from 7 – 9 p.m. at Williamsburg Middle School (3600 North Harrison Street) and two online surveys related to this issue. The first is an online survey on the boundary process, and the second is an online survey on children walking and biking to school, which will serve as a guide in planning the transportation and boundaries related to new schools. In addition, Janine Velasco who will serve as the Facilities Advisory Committee (FAC) ambassador to Jamestown will be available to share information and answer questions about the boundary process at our next PTA meeting on Tuesday, October 2 at 7:30 pm in the library.
What are the meeting and surveys about?
As you may know, many Arlington elementary schools are currently over capacity or projected to be overcapacity very soon. The relocatables on our campus are a temporary solution to this problem. Last year Arlington Public Schools developed a 6-year Capital Improvement Plan to provide a more permanent solution through building two new elementary schools and expanding others. On Election Day, November 6, Arlington voters will be asked to approve $42.6 million in school bonds to enable this construction. The meeting and surveys are kicking off what will be a year-long process in planning for the new school capacity.
How will this affect the Jamestown community?
These changes will affect everyone in our community in one way or another. The Capital Improvement Plan includes the construction of a new elementary school on the campus of Williamsburg, which borders on our school district. This new Williamsburg Elementary School will open new seats for students and will eliminate overcrowding at Jamestown. In order to alleviate overcrowding at Jamestown, however, some students who would otherwise attend Jamestown will end up attending the new Williamsburg Elementary School. In addition, as our students graduate, they will attend Williamsburg Middle School with a new school on its campus or under construction.
Who will attend the new Williamsburg Elementary School?
How the new Williamsburg Elementary School is filled has yet to be decided. Some neighborhoods that are currently within the Jamestown School district may be moved to the Williamsburg Elementary School district, and some new neighborhoods may be added to Jamestown in order to alleviate overcrowding in neighboring schools. An alternative grassroots idea has emerged where certain grades would attend the Williamsburg Elementary School regardless of neighborhood. For example, the new school could be comprised of 4th and 5th graders from the Jamestown school district and other neighborhood schools that feed into Williamsburg Middle School. This 4th/5th grade transition school would alleviate overcrowding from all feeder schools to Williamsburg Middle School with minimal or no changes to the boundaries.
When will these changes take place?
Arlington Public Schools is currently beginning a process to determine who will attend the new Williamsburg Elementary School and to design the facility. Construction is slated to begin in the fall of 2013, and the school is scheduled to open in the fall of 2015.
How do I learn more?
To learn more, please attend the meeting on elementary boundaries on Thursday, Sept. 27 from 7 – 9 p.m. at Williamsburg Middle School (3600 North Harrison Street) or our upcoming PTA meeting on Tuesday, October 2 at 7:30 pm in the Jamestown library. At the PTA meeting Janine Velasco who will serve as the Facilities Advisory Committee (FAC) ambassador to Jamestown will be available to share information and answer questions about the boundary process. The Jamestown PTA will continue to provide communications on this topic via the e-newsletter.
How do I provide feedback on the decisions being made?
To provide feedback, we encourage you to participate in two surveys being conducted online. The first is an online survey on the boundary process. This survey focuses on communications and the process that will be followed, but it is an opportunity to give input on how you think decisions should be made with regards to attendance at the Williamsburg Elementary School. Please state that you are a member of the Jamestown community so that APS will be aware of our interest in this issue. The second is an online survey on children walking and biking to school. This survey may be used as an aid in planning boundaries and transportation to the Williamsburg Elementary School. The Jamestown PTA will also conduct a survey of our community in the upcoming months.
What if the school bond does not pass?
Building the new school is contingent on the passing of the school bond, which will be voted on November 6. If the school bond does not pass, then we will not have funds to alleviate overcrowding, which could mean larger class rooms.
Remaining questions? Please bring them to the PTA meeting on Oct. 2 at 7:30 pm.