School officials join Mark Center, DoD debate

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Five months before the Washington Headquarters Services buildings are set to open, the Alexandria School Board awoke to the possibility of 6,400 new commuters wreaking havoc on morning bus routes. 

We have several schools in this corridor we think will be impacted, Superintendent Morton Sherman told the board Thursday, days after the release of the Defense Department’s Inspector General’s critique of the Army’s planning process. I understand there is a call for a reassessment, a restudy and reevaluation. I would ask at this point the school board turn and say the needs of the school division also need to be addressed.

Alexandria City Public Schools has roughly 92 daily bus runs near Mark Center. About 2,600 students will feel the effect of anticipated traffic snarls, Sherman said. He urged the board to bring their concerns to DoD.

We have thousands and thousands of children whose lives would be impacted through the course of the school year and forever, he said. 

Yvonne Folkerts, board chair, also proposed liaising with city staff and citizens groups already working toward mitigating the coming traffic troubles. 

Board members Marc Williams, Charles Wilson and Arthur Peabody urged going a step further and requesting meetings with defense officials. 

It’s a good time now to invite ourselves to the table, Peabody said. These people have been receiving tons of letters and they put them in little piles … We need to be much more proactive in inviting ourselves into the discussion both with the federal government and our own city.

Ultimately, the board tapped staff to draw up letters highlighting their concerns for both city and federal officials.

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