Five local civic Associations–Dominion Hills, HPOK, Madison Manor, Tara/Leeway Heights, and Westover Village–have written a joint letter supporting the Integrated option and calling for Reed to be a neighborhood school, consistent with the School Board’s decision last September.
To: Arlington School Board
Arlington County Board
Re: Reed School
Dear Members of the School Board and County Board:
The five civic associations in the greater Westover area , Westover Village, Tara Leeway Heights, Highland Park/Overlee Knolls, Dominion Hills, and Madison Manor, are united in their very strong support for the “Integrated Option.” Members of our civic associations have reviewed the proposals in detail, discussed them in meetings, and taken comment via social media and in countless personal discussions with concerned residents. We are convinced that the Integrated Option is far and away the best solution. It comes in at or under budget; it presents a compact footprint, preserving green space, and it offers a chance to build a new school to the high standards Arlington works to uphold. The alternative proposals would impinge significantly on green space while offering no budgetary advantages. We are particularly concerned that the “Standalone” option, which has been almost universally rejected, would intensify use of the Reed site beyond the scope of the charge laid out to the BLPC/PFRC in September 2017 and beyond what the site can reasonably bear. We urge you to reject the Standalone Option.
We would like to add our unambiguous support for adhering to the existing schedule and board-approved plan for establishing the new Reed Elementary as a neighborhood school, with an expansive walk zone. As currently drawn the walk zone for the Reed School encompass 601 students, the largest number in the County. We believe that zone should be expanded to include the immediate area south of Washington Blvd. Residents and their children routinely cross Washington Blvd. at all hours to go to the Library, or to the Westover shops. The County has done an admirable job making that crossing safe; crossing guards would make it more so. Expanding the walk zone to its natural boundary of Rt. 66 would result in virtually every one of the 725 students at Reed walking to school. Reducing buses saves money, makes environmental sense and is better for our children’s health; money saved from eliminating bussing can be reinvested in our children’s classes.
Making Reed an option school is not in keeping with the charge to the BLPC/PFRC, mentioned above. It would also go against the clearly expressed preference of our communities over the last decade. Putting an option school in the center of the largest walk zone in the County makes little sense financially, environmentally, or geographically. Bussing children away from a school in easy walking distance makes no sense at all.
Carly Kelly, President, Madison Manor
Lilith Christiansen, President, Westover Village
Jon Judah, President, Tara-Leeway Heights
Mike O’Malley, President, HPOK
Brian Hannigan, Acting President, Dominion Hills