President’s Note- Budget Emergency

LAST YEAR OF THE OUTDOOR LAB PROGRAM?

The future of the Arlington Outdoor Lab is at stake – we need your help now to convince the School Board to restore funding for the Lab in the 2019-20 APS budget.

The Superintendent’s proposed budget eliminates all funding for the Outdoor Lab. That’s right – it cuts every teacher, every bus, and every school trip to the Lab. Unless the School Board votes to restore the funding, Arlington students will no longer experience unique STEM and outdoor education at the Lab.

Time is Short

We don’t have much time to convince School Board members to restore this devastating elimination of the OL program. The School Board meets on April 9 to make revisions to the Superintendent’s proposal. Board members need to hear from you about the importance of funding the Lab before then.

It’s a tough budget year and the Superintendent has proposed almost $9 million in cuts. The School Board is already hearing from many others urging them to fund important programs identified for budget cuts.

The Outdoor Lab Needs Your Help!

Supporters of the Lab – parents, students, summer campers, and teachers – we need your help to make our voices heard. If Board members hear from us about the value of the Lab, then we’ll be in a much stronger position to convince them to restore essential funding.

You know the Outdoor Lab is a special place for seeing science come to life, taking a hike in the woods, and sleeping in a tent under the stars. The Lab is a unique resource for students in Arlington Public Schools. We need your voice to help ensure the Lab continues to serve thousands of Arlington students next school year.

Act Now!

Please take a minute to tell members of the School Board how important it is to fully fund the Outdoor Lab in the 2019-20 APS budget. Feel free to use the sample comment here – and personalize it based on your family’s experience at the Lab.

It’s critically important to contact School Board members before April 9 when they will vote on changes to the Superintendent’s proposed budget.

Todd Parker, President AOEA

Advocate for the Outdoor Lab

President’s Letter

We have have many dedicated supporters and are very grateful for your support.  With the increasing school population, we want to ensure that we have facilities and resources to continue supporting Arlington Public School (APS) students.
We continue to have discussions with Arlington Public School staff to increase Outdoor Lab staff and transportation so we can maintain the current classes and possibly bring back more high school and 6th grade programs.  This year the Outdoor Lab staff has scheduled a record 43 5th grade overnights!  With the increasing size of 7th grade and 3rd grade classes we have no room left in the calendar for make-up days due to cancellations.  So inclement weather (ice, snow!) precludes a school from having the overnight experience – we are as disappointed as the students!  The Science Advisory Committee and AOEA have both recommended additional staff and transportation to provide additional flexibility in scheduling visits.
We are anxious to move forward with our cottage replacement and other facility projects – but as our past president, Mike Nardolilli, simply stated – “AOEA and APS are running a 3-legged race supporting the OL and if we are not working together – we just run in circles”.  The AOEA needs a commitment from APS (additional resources) to maintain the program for the future.
Express your support for the Outdoor Lab directly to APS staff:
 Your past support has made it possible for the Outdoor Lab to serve the Arlington community for 50 years! Please “pay it forward” and remember the Outdoor Lab at this time of year by making a tax-deductible contribution today!   (online at https://outdoorlab.org or mail to Arlington Outdoor Education Association Inc.,  P.O. Box 5646, Arlington, VA 22205)

 

Todd Parker, President AOEA