ASF Question #1 on Arlington County Growth/Development for School Board Candidates - May 2020
APS Role in Shaping Arlington's Growth
APS enrollment has reached an all-time high, induced by Arlington’s record population, the annual addition of thousands of multi-family housing units, and the continued tear-down of modest homes in favor of large single-family residences with as many as six bedrooms.
Given the rising cost of school construction and the severe overcrowding of many of our schools at all grade levels—despite additions in recent years and the pending construction of several new schools, is it time to take steps to better manage and direct Arlington’s growth in a more paced and modulated manner?
(A) Would you favor the county taking steps like these:
--- A project-specific cost-benefit analysis for new developments, examining both incoming revenue impacts as well as potential incremental impacts on school enrollment, limiting new development to what is under the existing General Land Use Plan (GLUP), the Zoning Ordinance and other pertinent planning efforts governing particular sites.
-- The retrofit and repurposing of existing but under-utilized/outmoded commercial or residential buildings for APS facilities, similar to what has been done in the City of Alexandria and Fairfax County in recent years? While APS is repurposing the old Education Center office building adjacent to Washington-Liberty High School for classrooms, our school system has been much more reluctant to look in this direction than have other systems, despite the fact that such retrofits have the potential to be less destructive and disruptive to the natural environment.