Schools and Education
Matt’s Commitment to Education
Having started his career teaching in a low-income area near Huston, Matt knows the value of a quality education. He brings this unique experience to the County Board, and is proud to fight to ensure that all Arlingtonians get the education they deserve. As a member of the Budget Advisory Council for Arlington Public Schools since 2014 and Chair of that committee since June of 2017, Matt understands the fiscal constraints faced by the school system. Matt has also served on committees charged with addressing the opportunity and achievement gaps that disproportionately affect students with disabilities, low-income students, and students of color.
Guaranteeing Quality Education for all Arlingtonians
Quality education has long been one of Arlington’s defining characteristics. Arlington Public Schools (APS) consistently ranks among the best in Virginia, and the County Board’s renewed commitment is vital to elevating the school division to one of the best in the country. While the County Board is not heavily involved in APS budget details, it plays critical roles in allocating funds for the budget, serving as a partner and bonding authority, and streamlining coordination planning for efficient school construction. Funding is particularly critical now since APS is facing a capital budget shortage and expanded capacity demands. Arlington needs additional classrooms and buildings to continue its tradition of excellent education and make sure that all students have the skills to succeed in the 21st century economy.
The County Board must continue partnering with APS to certify that investments in the school system and construction are cost-effective. That said, Arlington’s long-term economic growth will be heavily influenced by the quality its schools. Therefore, allocating funding for construction of a fourth fully comparable high school is vital for both addressing capacity demand and securing Arlington’s future. Additionally, Arlington must value its teachers and school staff to attract and retain the talent that makes its schools world class.
Expanding APS capacity to meet growing demand, especially at the high school level, has been a key priority for Matt and the County Board. Construction of the New Arlington High School, which began in April 2020, is an important contribution to achieving this goal. Arlington High School has not been significantly renovated in 40 years, and once completed, the new school will have an increased student capacity of 19%. Further additions can be added as demand grows. This project positions APS to provide the best educational experience possible for years to come. The first wing is expected to be open to students in early 2022, and the school to be finished in 2024.
On May 19th, 2019, the County Board unanimously approved a permit request from APS to adapt the Education Center on Washington-Liberty (W-L) High School’s campus from administrative offices to classroom use. The work is scheduled for completion before the 2021-2022 school year, and will increase W-L’s capacity by 600 students.