Musical Chairs, School Edition

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School swap causes panic

In response to a school board’s decision to move students and staff to neighboring schools in the area, a lawsuit has been filed. The legal claim against Arlington Public School district was initiated in March by a local parent, whose child is a student at Key Elementary School.  Aside from this one parent, there is a general consensus among a lot of the parents and staff that the transitions proposed by the school board are inconvenient and affect thousands of students.  The board’s actions also allegedly violate a Virginia law that prefers a school boundary change over the option to relocate students.

In regard to the specific proposal in question, the board approved four key elements.  The new Reed school will welcome students and staff from McKinley Elementary, and Arlington Traditional students and staff will occupy the McKinley site.  In addition, the students and staff from Key Elementary will move to the Arlington Traditional school, and the Key Elementary campus will form into a new neighborhood school.  Not only does this plan not make sense for those who oppose the decision, but they find it problematic.  Some of the concerns include the lengthy commutes to school, the disruptions in an already-developed learning environment, and the possibilities of students not being able to return to school with their current classmates.

The intent behind the decision was to help alleviate issues of capacity and rising student enrollments.  Some argue that these issues could have been managed in a more sensible direction.  For example, one commenter proposed that students and staff from Key Elementary could just move to the new Reed school, without effecting the other two sites.  However, in the opinion of the board, this route was the best course of action and would seemingly affect the least number of students and staff.  The board voted 4-1, leaving one single member in opposition.