Boundary changes in Arlington would mean different schools for 1,400 elementary students

About 1,400 elementary school students in Arlington County could be reassigned to different schools next fall if a proposed change in boundaries is approved by the Virginia school system in December.

The proposal creates “attendance zones” to include the new neighborhood Reed School in Westover, which was the previous location of the Key Spanish immersion program and new boundaries around the Arlington Science Focus School.

The students — 13% of K-5 neighborhood school students — would be reassigned from seven schools, including, Ashlawn, ASFS, Glebe, Long Branch, McKinley, Taylor and Tuckahoe.

Parents have until October 20 to fill out a questionnaire on the proposed boundaries. The Arlington County School Board is scheduled to adopt these new boundaries on Dec. 3.

Almost half of the students who are reassigned would attend the new neighborhood school, which the proposal says is closer to where they live, compared to their current school.

CLICK TO ENLARGE: Arlington’s boundary changes are part of the school system’s effort to prepare for an estimated 30,000 students in 2021. (Courtesy Arlington Public Schools)

The proposal also shows that about 500 McKinley school students will move with their administration and staff to the new building at the Reed site. It states that this puts close to 60% of its students in the school’s walk zone. This is compared to 28% at the current McKinley site, according to the proposal.

Arlington planned for address boundary changes for all of its 24 elementary schools, but narrowed the scope because of the pandemic.

“We recognize the stress that families are experiencing at this time and we are looking to make limited elementary school boundary changes this year,” said APS Superintendent Francisco Durán. “We want these adjustments to allow flexibility so we can continue to address enrollment growth through capital planning and future boundary processes.”

The school system is preparing for an estimated 30,000 students in 2021. Enrollment as of Oct. 6 was 26,895. Arlington has projected that enrollment will peak in the 2026‐27 school year at about 31,000 students.

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