More Students, Fewer Seats

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More Students, Fewer Seats

Public schools are becoming more and more crowded as grades move up

Public schools are becoming more and more crowded as grades move up

Sydney McMahon

Public schools are becoming more and more crowded as grades move up

Sydney McMahon

Sydney McMahon

Public schools are becoming more and more crowded as grades move up

Charlie Schiavo, Sentry Staff Reporter

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30-student classes. Jam-packed buses. These are struggles that every Arlington Public Schools (APS) student has known since their first day of kindergarten. Arlington schools have been overcrowded for years now, and the county has made many attempts to solve this problem. Adjustments of bus routes and school borders are a perennial topic of conversation for those involved with APS, but these actions only reduce the population of schools temporarily, sometimes not even for a single school year. Students who live in an area where the school borders have been redrawn will often apply to participate in programs only offered by their original school.

In 2015, APS opened Discovery Elementary School to help with the overcrowding. Even though Discovery has solved some of the overcrowding in elementary schools, the building that houses the HB Woodlawn program is set to be turned into another elementary school. This means that a new building will be constructed in Rosslyn for the HB program and the Stratford program.

“I think this is a good reason for [APS] to build a new school… A renovation to our current building would almost certainly provide enough room to address the overcrowding issues in Arlington,” HB Woodlawn junior Jacob Hall said.

A proposal for a brand-new public high school has also received the thumbs-up, and while its location is currently unknown, the project is slated to be completed by the start of the 2022 school year.

While the introductions of new elementary and high schools will surely reduce overcrowding in Arlington schools, high school students still have to learn in the tightly-packed conditions for five more years. With the new school on the Wilson site speculated to be ready for use by 2019, many have wondered why the new high school will not be placed at that location as well. Due to the fact that HB only accepts a certain amount of students each year, the building has not suffered as much wear-and-tear over the years and is still perfectly adequate for supporting students. HB students have even voiced their disapproval of the move to the estimated $100.8 million dollar school.

“There will be a lot of challenges we will have to face at our new school. Issues about field space and parking aside, our community will need to find ways to make the building our own, and make sure it caters to the philosophies that our school works so hard to preserve,” Hall said.

While it is great to see that APS is addressing the problem of overpopulated schools, the ways in which they intend to achieve this goal have not resonated well with everyone involved. Although it is impossible to please everyone, the majority of students, parents, teachers and administrators involved are relieved that something is being done to solve the problem.

 

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