Opinion: Letter to the Editor: No Action, Talk Only

Opinion: Letter to the Editor: No Action, Talk Only

City Council's unanimous vote to approve the proposed West End elementary school speaks to our local elected officials inability to say “No" to any requests made by ACPS. Perhaps what is most glaring about the DSUP and P&Z staff and its director's recommendation for this West End school was eliminating the legal issues involved when ACPS bought the two properties at 1701, 1702 and 1703 in 2017. The property at 1703 is part of a covenant and the owners have the right to refuse development which they feel is inappropriate. ACPS and our school board were aware of this issue when they found the $15 million to buy these properties. So should ASCD, the current group that leases the property at 1703 decide to file a lawsuit, which I hope they will do, then this issue will go through the court system. Further, ACPS can decide to take the property at 1703 by eminent domain and I hope our elected officials in Alexandria will wake up and deny any property being taken by eminent domain.

It is important to point out and for all Alexandria taxpayers to remember that it was the mayor and council who instructed City Manager Jinks to set up an independent ad hoc task force to review and look at ACPS spending, especially as it relates to CIP spending and other issues related to ACPS. Doesn't that indicate the mayor and council's lack of trust with ACPS? Guess it doesn't matter to our elected officials who continue to speak NATO — No Action, Talk Only.

New schools do not mean a better education. The traffic/transportation, number of school buses who will be needed to transport 600-plus students to this "new school" through a very narrow driveway off of Beauregard Street, along with the fact that the children will be playing on a rooftop and should any child fall, ACPS would be facing a major lawsuit. The negative issues to have this school in the West End far outweigh the positives. John Adams Elementary could eliminate their pre-K as well as Ramsey, since ACPS is not mandated to provide pre-K and this would free up 200-plus slots. There are many non-profits and other groups who provide for pre-k.

No guts, no backbone by our mayor and council. And yes, I do support children and their education. However, this latest "scam" by ACPS can't happen and hopefully ASCD and their board will file the much needed lawsuit related to the covenant.

Annabelle Fisher