The Alexandria School Board is considering placing elementary school-aged children living in the Potomac Yard area in the Jefferson-Houston School attendance zone.
The School Board is planning to vote at its Dec. 20 meeting on a recommendation from Alexandria City Public Schools staff to send children to the Old Town school.
The Potomac Yard area, which includes new development along Route 1 and E. Monroe Avenue as well as the Potomac Greens neighborhood (see the attached chart), had not been previously zoned to an elementary school, contrary to belief of many school board members and ACPS staff.
“I think we thought all of Potomac Yard was elementary zoned for Jefferson-Houston,” Superintendent Morton Sherman said at Thursday’s board meeting. “When we looked at the long-range planning, we found that it was not.”
On Dec. 15, City Council will consider a proposal to build a new Jefferson-Houston School that will increase capacity to more than 700 students. The school population for the current year is around 360.
Currently, six kindergarteners living in the Potomac Yard area attend Jefferson-Houston, according to Sherman.
“This does allow families to opt in to some focus schools,” Sherman said Thursday, specifically mentioning Cora Kelly as a viable option. Capacity concerns at Mount Vernon Community School, Maury, George Mason and Douglas MacArthur prevent those from being options, Sherman said.
The ACPS Facilities Department and Alexandria’s Planning Department predict the Potomac Yard/Potomac Greens area will add a projected 19 elementary school students, three middle school students and three high school students to ACPS for the 2013-14 school year. Projections for the 2015-16 school calendar predict another additional 26 elementary school students, four middle school students and four high school students.
The plot of land that currently houses the Simpson Stadium Park soccer fields next to the Monroe Avenue Bridge is currently reserved for a potential new school.
“Part of the long range planning is what happens with that property in the future,” Sherman said. “Although we’re recommending now to assign this to Jefferson-Houston, it must be now to the next board and with the community’s discussion with an eye to some changes that will have to occur.”