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Fairfax County Public Schools will open two hours late on Tuesday.

The closure is “due to the very cold weather.” Temperatures may dip into the single digits in parts of the county overnight.

School offices and central offices will open on time, FCPS said.

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After two previous events to help furloughed federal employees find temporary work hit full capacity, Fairfax County Public Schools will be holding its third hiring event next week.

The event will be held next Wednesday, Jan. 23, from 5-7:30 p.m. at the FCPS Administration Center in Merrifield (8115 Gatehouse Road).

The daily pay rate for substitute teachers is $100, or $95 for substitute instructional assistants. Substitute teachers are responsible for classroom instruction, safety and management.

“Approximately 350 furloughed employees attended our first two hiring events, and we recognized the need to add a third event to show our support for our neighbors who — in many cases — are parents of FCPS students,” School Board chair Karen Corbett Sanders said in a press release. “We always have a need for substitute teachers; on average, we hire 900 to 1,100 subs every day. We will continue to work with applicants to expedite the hiring process and get them into the classroom as soon as possible.”

Those interested in attending the event should register online and fill out a teaching application and I-9 employment eligibility form. According to FCPS, the hiring event will involve an expedited process to get workers into classrooms as quickly as possible.

Photo via FCPS

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Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) is finalizing the details of an updated Capital Improvement Program (CIP), giving a look at what the future holds for the Tysons area.

While total student population in FCPS has gone down by 1,011 students this year, projections show schools in the Tysons are becoming increasingly crowded. One of the most immediate concerns for the region is overcrowding at McLean High School.

At a Jan. 14 work session, School Board Member Jane Strauss called for a limited boundary study to move students from Longfellow Middle School and McLean High School to the nearby Cooper Middle School and Langley High School attendance area.

“The boundary study would primarily focus on the north end of the Tysons area where we have some older apartment buildings,” said Strauss. “These are not new high rises, but older family-friendly buildings.”

Strauss said the change would impact students currently zoned for Spring Hill Elementary School. The change would also not take place until school year 2020 to allow more discussions with parents and planning.

“McLean High School is overcrowded now, and projected to be more so over time as a result of project growth in Tysons,” said Strauss. “If you look at Langley’s capacity, they are under-enrolled now and that will continue, so there is plenty of room. If we don’t do this, that means more trailers and possibly a module at [McLean]. If our goal is a reduction of reliance on trailers and modules, this boundary change I think is a good use of space and money.”

But the proposal received some pushback from other members of the School Board, who said they were uncomfortable with a spot-boundary change a month before the School Board is scheduled to begin a broader review of school boundaries.

“Before we talk about individual boundaries, we do have scheduled as a School Board to [take a] holistic [approach] to how we look at boundary changes,” said School Board Member Karen Sanders.

The School Board is scheduled to vote on the CIP on Jan. 24 and begin looking at boundary changes on Feb. 25.

“I do have concerns about doing a limited boundary change in one area without taking a more holistic analysis and approach,” said Tamara Derenak Kaufax, a representative from the Lee District. “We’re going to have to do what staff has been advocating, doing a holistic approach to [the] system and looking at the impacts.”

Dalia Palchik, School Board representative for the Providence District and a candidate for the Board of Supervisors, also said the idea of adding the boundary change 10 days before the School Board votes on the CIP gave her pause.

Palchik also inquired about the proposed Tysons Elementary School, a facility planned to help handle new residential developments in Tysons, but one that is currently unfunded with few details publicly available.

“We have that in our 10-year plan and the site is identified on our map,” said Kevin Sneed, Special Projects Administrator for Facilities and Transportation Services. “Build-out will last through 2030, which is about when we show this school opening. When we start seeing the yield of students, other schools won’t have the capacity to support them.”

Megan McLaughlin, a School Board member representing the Braddock District, said she had concerns that the county is underestimating the number of new students those new developments will bring in. She urged staff to re-examine its strategy for extracting concessions from developers, commonly known as “proffers.”

“I’ve asked staff to look at existing houses and use the proffer formula for how many students [were projected] to come out of a building and how many we actually ended up having,” said McLaughlin. “We need to be better at examining how many students [new developments] yield.”

McLaughlin said this happened for a smaller development in her area, but was concerned that as new development comes into areas like Tysons and McLean, the impact of those enrollment projections being off could magnify.

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Morning Notes

Big Names Among Potential Galleria Tenants — “Tysons Galleria… is in advanced talks with Tiffany & Co., Apple Inc. and gourmet grocer Balducci’s, in addition to high-end movie theater chain iPic, to open in portions of the space, according to two sources with knowledge of the discussions.” [Washington Business Journal]

Possible Money Motivation in McLean Double Murder — “The newly unsealed search warrant reveals why Megan Hargan might have carried out the crime: Megan’s mother discovered someone had attempted to wire ‘large amounts’ of money from her bank account on the day before her slaying. Pamela Hargan notified her bank the transfer was fraudulent. On the day of the killings, a second transfer was initiated to send money to a title company that was handling the purchase of a home by Megan in West Virginia.” [Washington Post]

Huge Tysons Development Still Looking for Office Anchor — “The developer behind Scotts Run had courted Amazon and Apple in hopes of landing an anchor for its planned 8M SF Tysons development, but neither of those panned out. Cityline Partners now continues to search for a tenant to kick off construction on the project’s office component. Cityline is one of several developers with major Tysons office projects waiting in the wings, hoping to sign pre-leases before breaking ground.” [Bisnow]

FCPS Offering Sub Gigs for Furloughed Feds — “Fairfax County Public Schools, the largest school district in Virginia, is offering substitute teaching positions to federal employees furloughed during the government shutdown. The hiring event will take place Friday, Jan. 11, from 2 p.m.-4:30 p.m. at the FCPS Administration Center, 8115 Gatehouse Road, Falls Church.” [Patch]

Senators Press Administration on Tax Refunds — “Virginia Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-Va.) have sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin asking how Virginia taxpayers will be affected by the government shutdown, which has left the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) short-staffed and potentially unprepared for the beginning of the 2019 tax-filing season.” [Fairfax Times]

McLean Foundation Sets Grant Deadline — “The McLean Community Foundation has set a deadline of Feb. 1 for non-profit organizations seeking to apply for its next round of grant funding. The foundation recently awarded nearly $67,000 in grants, including funding to McLean Little League and the Old Firehouse Teen Center, among others.” [InsideNova]

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It’s true that McLean High School is overcrowded, but following last night’s School Board public hearing on the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP), Dranesville District Representative Jane Strauss says plans are in the works to relieve some of the pressure.

The CIP shows McLean High School currently at 114 percent capacity, with projections sending that up to 127 percent by 2022.

Strauss said that she has been in discussion with members of the community about adjusting the school boundaries to relocate some of the older, multi-family units to other schools. With an extensive renovation project just wrapping up in October and a school capacity utilization at 82 percent, Strauss said Langley High School is the best option for relocation.

The school’s renovations began in 2014 and added a new two-story science addition, new gyms, a new library, a fine arts facility, classrooms and more.

“We’ve been talking with the community about this for years,” said Strauss. “We had to wait for the Langley High renovations to finish, but now is the time to begin talking about boundary changes.”

Strauss said shifting boundaries to send students to Langley High School and Cooper Middle School is essential, not only to relieve the current overcrowding, but to prepare for the incoming developments along the Silver Line.

In addition to the changes at the high and middle school levels, Strauss said she plans to propose adding classrooms to Franklin Sherman Elementary School. Franklin Sherman, Strauss said, is the last property in the area that has space to expand without needing zoning changes.

In the long-term, though, Strauss said McLean will need the new elementary schools at Pimmit Hills and Tysons to help deal with long-term population growth fueled by new development. Plans for the schools are in the CIP, but are still years away.

At the hearing, parents from McLean and other schools throughout Fairfax urged border adjustments to offset overcrowding.

The current enrollment at McLean is 2,255, with a program capacity of 1,983,” said Susan Garrahan, a Langley High School alum with a daughter at McLean High School. “This equates to 14 percent over capacity. The forecast in the draft CIP shows that in the last two years of this five-year plan, McLean will be the most overcrowded high school in the county at 26 to 27 percent over capacity.”

Garrahan said development along the Silver Line will likely continue to bring families with school children into the McLean-area schools.

“Given current conditions and your forecast of serious overcrowding, I was startled to see no concrete proposals to address this situation in this year’s CIP,” said Garrahan. “I have read about your efforts to revise the policies and procedures for boundary adjustments.  This makes me concerned that McLean will get stuck in a holding pattern, overcrowded while procedural matters get ironed out.”

The school newspaper’s October edition described the school overcrowding as leaving students stuffed three to a seat on school buses and teachers traveling with a cart full of supplies because of limited classroom space.

“I ask the board to have the courage to look at school boundaries,” said Keith Foxx, an FCPS parent. “Several reports developed by the School Board mention this as an option, usually at the bottom because it’s not popular. Let’s stop kicking the can down the road, we’re going to have to deal with this.”

On Jan. 17, the McLean High School PTSA will host a meeting in the Lecture Hall with Strauss and Kevin Sneed, a school planner, to discuss the plans to address school overcrowding.

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New development is underway across Tysons, but school officials believe it will take years yet for buildings to reach capacity.

In McLean, however, overcrowding at all levels is a problem that’s likely going to get worse over the next few years.

According to the Fairfax County Public Schools’ (FCPS) proposed Capital Improvement Plan (CIP), McLean High School and nearly all of the schools that feed into it will be over capacity by the start of the 2020-2021 school year. While additions are planned for West Potomac, Justice, and Madison High Schools, there are no plans in the CIP for major additions to McLean High School.

McLean High School is currently at 114 percent capacity and is projected to go up to 127 percent capacity by the 2022 school year, as the school built to handle 1,993 students welcomes 2,524. Over the next few years, the CIP says temporary classrooms, modular additions and boundary changes are possible for McLean High School.

The elementary schools feeding into McLean High School — Chesterbrook, Franklin Sherman, Haycock, Kent Gardens, and Timber Lane — also face challenges in the coming years. Chesterbrook, Haycock, and Kent Gardens all exceed 100 percent capacity and projections from the school show that overcrowding continuing for at least the next five years. Kent Gardens currently has 117 percent capacity and is projected to reach 119 percent of its capacity next year.

More temporary classrooms are proposed for Chesterbrook, Haycock and Kent Gardens, with new modular facilities or building additions at Chesterbrook and Kent Gardens. New boundary changes are also possible for Haycock and Kent Gardens.

Marshall High School, which covers the Tysons area, fares a little better in terms of overcrowding than McLean. The school is currently at 95 percent capacity and isn’t projected to reach 100 percent capacity until the 2023 school year.

The only Tysons-area elementary school facing severe overcrowding over the next five years is Shrevewood Elementary School, currently at 118 percent capacity and projected to increase to 125 percent capacity by 2023. Temporary classrooms, building additions, and boundary adjustment are all being considered as potential solutions to address overcrowding at Shrevewood.

While school staff downplayed the immediate impact of residential developments on schools, in the long run, the school CIP will need to include plans for a growing student population in the Tysons area.

“In addition to the estimated student yields, for comprehensive plan studies, recommendations to address future school facilities needs are provided to Fairfax County government,” staff wrote. “Recent long-range planning initiatives include [the] Tysons Urban Center, Merrifield Suburban Center, [and] McLean CBC.”

New residential developments are proposed to form the core of the downtown McLean Community Business Center. At least 4,000 new residential units are planned for the Spring Hill development alone, according to the Tysons Partnership.

By 2027, Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) hopes to start planning for a new elementary school in the area to handle the youngest generation of Tysonians.

The FCPS 10-year Capital Improvement Plan shows planning for a new Tysons Elementary School FY 2027, and repurposing of the Pimmit Hills school a year later as an elementary school to provide capacity relief to other schools feeding into McLean High School.

FCPS documents show plans to seek funding for Tysons Elementary and the Pimmit Hills Repurposing in a 2025 referendum.

A public hearing for the CIP is scheduled for tomorrow (Tuesday) at 6 p.m. in Luther Jackson Middle School (3020 Gallows Rd). A School Board decision on the CIP is scheduled for Jan. 24.

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Longstanding tensions over improvements to Louise Archer Elementary School in Vienna escalated to a proposal to deny Fairfax Schools continued use of trailers and fine the school system for violations as long as they’re still in use.

While the proposal wasn’t supported by the rest of the Council, its creator, Councilmember Pasha Majdi, expressed frustrations echoed by others.

“This is a bad joke and nobody’s laughing,” said Majdi. “I graduated from Louise Archer and went to class in trailers. My son starts elementary school [there] in nine months. My recommendation to the town is that we rename this provision from temporary trailers to generation trailers.”

One trailer was removed earlier this year as it began to deteriorate, according to the staff report. Students were relocated to two additional trailers, which are 17 and 19 years old and have a maximum lifespan of 25-30 years.

Staff from Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) said the school’s renovation would be unlikely to be completed before 2023, and even that is reliant on construction money being approved in a referendum for 2021. An addition onto the school is planned for 2025.

“It’s an embarrassment that the school system can’t get their act together and move quicker on this,” said Councilmember Howard Springsteen. “It’s been 20 years we’ve been promising this… I give you guys an F for the ability to manage these projects.”

Springsteen said he didn’t have a lot of faith that the school system would be able to deliver that addition by 2025.

FCPS also faced criticism for coming to the Town Council for re-approval of the trailers four months after the approval had expired.

“You need to get here before the application expires,” said Councilmember Douglas Noble. “The clock was for August 22, not today. They need to be here with an application in July 2 two years from now.”

Despite these concerns, the Town Council didn’t go along with Majdi’s proposal to deny the trailers continued use renewal. Councilmember Tara Bloch said while she was frustrated by the trailer situation, pushing students out of the trailers and back into the already overcrowded school would hurt students.

The council voted 6-1 in favor of allowing continued use of the trailers.

Photo via Google Maps

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Morning Notes

Stomping Ground Coming to Tysons Galleria — “Stomping Ground, a coffee shop and biscuit-themed restaurant that after more than three years in business has become the epicenter of Del Ray’s Mount Vernon Avenue, will open a second location inside of the former Isabella Eatery space in Tysons Galleria.” [Northern Virginia Magazine]

Fairfax Schools on Two Hour Delay — All Fairfax County public schools are opening two hours late due to concerns following yesterday’s snowy weather. School offices and central offices opened on time. [Twitter]

Track Testing for Silver Line Phase II — “Workers constructing Phase II of the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project recently rolled out a strange-looking piece of equipment called an Amberg IMS 5000… The tool, which somewhat resembles a yellow scooter, has been employed by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority… to survey and assess project data on Phase 2 of the Silver Line.” [VivaTysons]

New Vienna Mural Almost Done — “Despite crummy weather and vehicles and pedestrians passing close by, two artists nearly have completed a panoramic mural of Vienna landmarks on the Vienna Shopping Center’s rear wall.” [InsideNova]

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Morning Notes

Fairfax County Schools Closed — Due to this morning’s snow and treacherous road conditions, Fairfax County Public Schools are closed for the day. [Twitter]

Fairfax Home Prices Flat — “Home sales were down slightly while average sales prices were flat in October across Fairfax County, according to new data… While sales were down, prices were effectively unchanged, with the overall sales price of $552,034 down one-third of a percentage point.” [InsideNova]

McLean Mansion for Sale — “It’s enough to appreciate the stunning architecture of this contemporary McLean home. Yet it goes above and beyond with its own sculpture garden.” [Patch]

Tysons Company Raises $100 Million — Tysons-based PFF, LLC has “closed a $100M capital raise and changed its name to Parabilis. Founded in 2013, by Dr. Edward Bersoff, the specialty financing company will continue in its mission to provide working capital funding to companies serving the U.S. Federal Government.” [BusinessWire]

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The following article excerpt is from our content sharing partner, FairfaxNews.com.

Fairfax County public high school seniors have turned in another above-average performance on the Scholastic Aptitude Test.

The College Board reports the mean SAT score on this year’s test is 1213. That’s 103 points higher than Virginia’s statewide average and 164 points above the average nationwide. The score also betters, by 28 points, the Fairfax County public schools’ mean score from last year.

Read more at FairfaxNews.com

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