This Week in Arlington

This Week in Arlington

<sh>First Day Enrollment Down

<bt>Enrollment on the first day of classes at Arlington Public Schools decreased for the fifth consecutive year.

Arlington Superintendent Robert Smith reported to the School Board that 16,819 students attended school on the first day, 264 fewer than last year. The total is 92 percent of the projected enrollment, but Smith said he expects the final figures released at the end of September will be close to the summer predictions.

In addition to the three new principals and five new assistant principals, 188 new teachers joined the school system this year, Smith said. He also highlighted two completed capital projects: a completely renovated Nottingham Elementary School and a new music wing at H-B Woodlawn.

Despite the unprecedented rain and traffic, only a handful of students were late to school, Smith said.

"By and large we had a great first day despite the weather. The administration is ready, the faculty is ready, I think we will have a great year," Smith added.

<sh>DoD Gives County BRAC Funds

<bt>The Department of Defense has approved Arlington’s request for $876,084 in funding to help the county respond to the loss of an estimated 17,000 jobs as part of the Base Realignment and Closure process.

About $750,000 of the grant will be used to help plan the redevelopment of Crystal City. In October a Crystal City Planning Task Force will begin working to fashion a new vision and redevelopment plan for the district.

The remaining money will be used to hire a county BRAC coordinator to track Defense Department leases and move schedules, monitor progress toward implementation of the Arlington BRAC Transition Plan and advocate for resources needed during the transition.

More than 3.2 million square feet in Crystal City, along with associated businesses, workers and visitors, are affected by the BRAC 2005 decision to move 16 defense agencies and activities out of Arlington.

"These substantial resources from OEA will both provide a dedicated point person for assistance during the BRAC transition and, more importantly, help launch the transformation of Crystal City into a leading-edge urban village with a more diverse mix of economic anchors," County Board Chairman Chris Zimmerman said in a statement.

<sh>Abingdon Passes Federal Tests

<bt>School officials announced that Abingdon Elementary School did in fact meet its targets under the federal No Child Left Behind, reversing earlier results released by the state.

In late August the state announced that Abingdon was one of 10 Arlington schools that failed to make Adequate Yearly Progress.

Because Abingdon is a Title I school, with a higher percentage of students from low-income families, school officials were required to offer a transfer option to students.

The families of three children were granted transfers based on the belief that the school had not met its AYP goals. School officials will honor the transfers this year, but will not provide transportation in subsequent years, officials said.

"While we are very pleased with this positive news and congratulate the schools and their faculties, we regret that our communications may have led to some confusion among parents and the Arlington community," Superintendent Robert Smith said in a statement.

<sh>AHC Plans Anniversary Dinner

<bt>AHC Inc., an Arlington affordable housing developer, marks its 30th anniversary next week by inducting five new honorees into its Housing Hall of Fame.

The five honorees are: Robert Bushkoff, former AHC president; Susan Dewey, director of the Virginia Housing Development Authority; Charles P. Monroe, former County Board member, honored posthumously; Susan Retz, longtime member of the Arlington County Housing Advisory Commission; Charlie Rinker, founding member of AHC and prominent affordable housing advocate.

The five will be inducted at AHC’s 30th anniversary celebration on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2006 from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at the Westin Gateway Hotel in Ballston. Tickets are $40.