Fully fund ACPS

Fully fund ACPS

To the editor:

The board of The Alexandria Council of PTAs is committed to supporting and speaking up for Alexandria City Public Schools students and staff. As Alexandria residents with students who attend our public schools, we love our vibrant city and celebrate many of its achievements. We are asking our fellow residents to not forget that our public schools are a cornerstone of what makes our city great. It’s imperative that we prioritize resources for the success of our diverse and growing student population.

Recently, the Alexandria School Board proposed a budget addressing critical needs within our educational system. This budget includes provisions for essential teacher and staff positions to meet the diverse needs of our students. Failure to adopt this budget by City Council could exacerbate existing equity issues within our schools, hindering the potential of all our students.

One of the most pressing concerns highlighted by the budget is the need for competitive salary increases for our teachers. Currently, Alexandria faces one of the highest vacancy rates among neighboring districts, and many of our educators reside in these areas. If neighboring districts offer higher salaries to match or surpass those of ACPS, the allure of commuting to Alexandria may diminish. Consequently, our schools could face prolonged vacancies, depriving students of the quality instruction they deserve. Long-term substitutes are not a sustainable solution; we must attract and retain qualified teachers to ensure our students receive the education they need to succeed.

While the School Board’s budget represents a crucial step forward, it is only the beginning of what our educational system truly requires. While we advocate for increased funding from state and federal sources, it is essential to recognize that nearly 80% of the school division’s budget comes from the city. As such, City Council bears a significant responsibility to prioritize education funding. We cannot afford to wait for others to act, nor can we shortchange the future success of our children.

Alexandria’s PTAs and their partners call on all individuals and groups within the city to join us in urging City Council to find innovative solutions to fully fund the School Board-approved 2025 budget. Whether through online comments, letters to Council members or speaking at city hall meetings, each of us has a role to play in advocating for our children’s future.

Investing in education is not just a moral imperative. It is an investment in the prosperity of our entire community. Thriving public schools contribute to the overall well-being of our city, attracting families, businesses and opportunities for growth. By prioritizing education funding, we demonstrate our commitment to fostering a vibrant, equitable and prosperous Alexandria for generations to come.

Let us stand together in support of our schools, our educators and our students. Advocate for increased funding and resources, so we can ensure that every child in Alexandria has the opportunity to thrive and succeed. Our city’s future depends on it.

-Meta Viers, president, Alexandria