Public Schools in Arlington are facing changes in the coming months. Two seats on the school board are being contested in the November election and voters will also have to decide whether to support a $78.1 million bond issue to finance several new school construction projects. According to Assistant Superintendent of Finance Susan Robinson, the projects include $72 million to build a new 350,000-square-foot home for Washington-Lee High School, complete with a 10-lane community swimming pool. The funds will also pay to finish new designs for three other proposed construction and renovation projects at Yorktown High School, Arlington Mill, a high school continuation program, and at the Reed building, which houses instructional programs for pre-school children. Part of the funds, $1,370,900, will be used to demolish Kenmore Middle School once its new 200,000 square foot building is complete.
Six Arlington Title I schools — schools that receive federal funding because of a high percentage of poor children — are also in the spotlight after failing to meet standards of the No Child Left Behind Act. The schools, all of which have a high percentage of students for whom English is a second language, fell short of NCLB's “adequate yearly progress” standards in August and were forced to offer transfer options to all of their students. Students fell short of NCLB's expectations in reading and language arts. Although many educators see the standards as an inaccurate measure of a school's performance, the six are now placing even greater emphasis on reading and English proficiency.