SPECIAL ELECTION SET, CAMPAIGNS UNDERWAY
County Registrar Charlotte Cleary announced last week that Arlington will hold a special election Tuesday, March 11, for the county board seat left open by Charles Monroe’s tragic death Saturday, Jan. 11. Polls will be open 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. at all regular polling places throughout the county.
Political parties and independent candidates have until 10 a.m. Monday, Feb. 10 to file with the Office of Voter Registration, but five candidates had already officially declared their candidacy as of press time.
Gearing up for a Feb. 4 “firehouse primary” at Washington-Lee High School, candidates for the Democratic nomination have already begun campaigning. Jim Hurysz was the first Democrat to declare his candidacy, followed by Al Eisenberg, Christian Dorsey and Walter Tejada. Eisenberg is a former county board member. Dorsey took about a third of the vote against incumbent Chris Zimmerman in last year’s Democratic primary. Tejada was Zimmerman’s campaign manager in that successful reelection bid.
Arlington County Republican Committee set Thursday, Jan. 23 as the deadline for candidates to file seeking GOP endorsement. As of press time, Mike Clancy, who ran on the Republican ticket against Zimmerman in November, was the only Republican in the race.
ACRC will hold its canvass election, where Clancy is expected to win the GOP nomination, Saturday, Jan. 25 at the Lyon Park Community Center, 414 N. Fillmore St.
For voter information, contact the voter registration office at 703-228-3456 or at www.co.arlington.va.us/voters.
BOUNDARY HEARING DRAWS COMPLAINTS
Controversy came as expected Thursday, Jan. 16, at the school board’s public hearing on boundary changes. While a few parents came to voice their support for superintendent Robert Smith’s recommendations, most of the 42 speakers lined up to debate the future of Drew Model School.
The board is scheduled to vote on Smith’s recommendations at its meeting Thursday, Jan. 23. The board’s vote will mark the end of a several-month process to study ways of alleviating overcrowding at elementary schools by adjusting boundaries throughout South Arlington.
In recent weeks, residents of the Nauck community have been lobbying the board to delay boundary changes, and instead study moving the Drew Model School to a new site. Drew is one of three Arlington public schools that draw students from across the county. A move would turn the Drew building into a neighborhood school, they said.
Parents supporting the proposed boundary changes often cited protection of neighborhoods as the primary advantage of the superintendent’s recommendation. “It does the best of maintaining our neighborhood schools,” said Lander Allin, an Alcova Heights resident whose children attend Barcroft.
Arguments like Allin’s merely further the arguments of Nauck residents, said Alfred Taylor, president of the Nauck Civic Association. Residents throughout the county value their own neighborhood schools, so they should understand Nauck’s desire to have one as well, said Taylor.
But the school board will have to balance the Nauck concerns with the board’s history of support for choice schools, and with the reality that Drew Model School is a success. Scores on the Standards of Learning tests have increased at Drew each of the last four years. Nauck parents don’t dispute that success. “This is not about dismantling the Drew program,” said Portia Clark.
Hoffman-Boston parents also entered the controversy over school boundaries, since any change to Drew would also affect that school.
“Quite frankly, Hoffman-Boston is not looking forward to upheaval two years in a row,” said Lynn Dervin, Hoffman-Boston PTA president.