To the editor:
During Tuesdays election, I was a poll worker at Chinquapin Recreation Center from 8 until 9:45 am. During this time frame, T.C. Williams students started their school day. I was astounded to see how many cars with District of Columbia and Maryland tags pulled up and let kids out for what I assume was the school day. Not to over exaggerate, but I would say it was easily one in 10 vehicles. Some cars with Virginia tags did not appear to have Alexandria city stickers, raising the thought that perhaps those kids are from Fairfax County.
I personally know of a second grader in my sons class at MacArthur Elementary who lives in Maryland with his parents. His address in our school directory says East Luray Avenue (clearly Mt. Vernon Elementary Schools zone.) His mother was recently at a birthday party saying how that address is her mothers and they declare that. Regardless of the custody issue, why isnt that child at a minimum in Mt. Vernon? During our PTA meeting on Monday night, we learned that MacArthurs 2009-10 enrollment is projected to be more than 625 students. When our children began there 10 years ago, the numbers were under 300.
A friend of mine who works at John Adams Elementary School says the same thing about the out-of-state tags. Do we have a person on staff that checks these issues? Yesterday, a fellow poll worker said John Porter (former T.C. Williams principal) used to stand out front and write down tag numbers (most likely an urban myth I suspect, but it might be a great idea.)
I think this problem might be greater than imagined. I am all for educating all the kids, but let their parents either pay taxes or pay ACPS to transfer in. Goodness knows we could use the money. If we could get everyone in the school where they live, we would save a bunch of money. Then teachers could have a raise.