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Changes Proposed to APS Boundary Policy

By Katie Pyzyk

Wednesday - 10/10/2012, 11:15am  ET

Arlington Public Schools is moving ahead with its boundary change process at a meeting next week. But before new boundaries are drawn up, the overall boundary policy is being revised.

At the School Board meeting last Thursday (October 4), staff presented proposed changes to the boundary policy and a framework for boundary decisions to be made during the 2012-2013 school year. According to APS spokesman Frank Bellavia, slight revisions were proposed because the policy hasn’t been examined since June of 2002.

Proposed updates to the policy include identifying when boundary changes may be necessary. Also included are criteria for the School Board and superintendent to consider when proposing boundary changes, such as promoting demographic diversity and minimizing the number of times students are affected by such changes.

Some residents were concerned that the proposed revisions might shut the public out of the process, but the school system says the revisions to the boundary framework simply clarify that the public will be involved in the entire boundary changing endeavor.

“The community is a big part of this and it will have opportunities to participate throughout the entire boundary process,” Bellavia said. “We’re going to allow parents and the community to have input.”

The School Board is expected to take action on the policy revisions at its meeting on Thursday, October 18. A more comprehensive schedule for drawing up boundaries will likely be laid out at that time, according to Bellavia.

New school boundaries are necessary to distribute students to a new elementary school on the Williamsburg Middle School campus and to additions at Ashlawn and McKinley Elementary schools. The new school and the additions are necessary to ease crowding in elementary schools across the district.

APS says it plans to specifically engage seven neighborhood schools in the boundary revision process: Ashlawn, Glebe, Jamestown, McKinley, Nottingham, Taylor and Tuckahoe.