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Arlington Women's Letter to Arlington School Board on CIP Process

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Dear Chairwoman Raphael and Members of the School Board:

We, the undersigned, are Arlington taxpayers - some with children in schools and some without. We have different opinions among us about where schools should be sited and which programs should be located on those sites.

We do appreciate the urgency of creating seats and the difficulty of making major capital decisions based on long lead times. Nonetheless, we have concerns about the Arlington Public Schools Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) process.

Our major concerns with the APS CIP process are as follows:

1) The rollout of the current options has taken place in the past three weeks—after the bulk of the public meetings on the APS CIP were held. Now we have between May 8th and School Board adoption on June 17th to publicly vet those options. In our view, a single dedicated public hearing last week is insufficient;

2) Neighborhood associations were not included in the conversation about the new options;

3) There are many unanswered questions about the various site proposals. This lack of transparency includes detailed cost estimates, transportation management plans and the overall impact to the community; and

4) If these options are not able to move forward, there is little understanding of the alternatives.

We need to have an expeditious process which includes timely and clear communications, that engages all impacted communities and that is transparent. We want and hope to be a constructive part of this strategic process, appreciating the common-sense milestones and decision points that need to be set.

We want to work with you as we move forward on a timeline that creates the needed seats, while also bearing in mind good governance expectations and future educational needs.

We ask that the School Board work together with the County Board and the community to develop a fiscally responsible solution that serves all of Arlington for decades to come.

Thank you.

Cc: Chairman Jay Fisette, Arlington County Board

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