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The president of the Buckingham Community Civic Association thinks Arlington school leaders may need some remedial work in geography.

Bernie Berne used the Sept. 20 School Board meeting to complain that his community had been shut out of the committee set up to suggest new names for Washington-Lee High School, even though it is closer to the school than another civic association that has been included on the panel.

According to Berne’s calculations, the closest distance between the Buckingham community and Washington-Lee is one-tenth of a mile – about a block – less than the shortest distance between the school and the Lyon Park Civic Association, which has a representative sitting on the renaming panel.

In case school-system leaders want to check for themselves, “a mapping tool easily shows it,” Berne said.

The Buckingham president said he wasn’t asking that Lyon Park be kicked off the panel, but that his association “is entitled to that [fourth] slot.”

School officials made no comment at the meeting.

In addition to Lyon Park, Cherrydale Citizens Association, Ballston-Virginia Square Civic Association and Waverly Hill Civic Association also were allocated slots on the renaming panel.

(The School Board motion on the appointments incorrectly referred to the “Cherrydale Civic Association,” but the error likely was minor enough not to affect the legality of the association’s participation in the proceedings.)

Critics of the School Board’s rush decision in June to rename the high school have attempted and/or are mulling a variety of efforts – from a court suit to General Assembly intervention to calls for a community referendum – in an effort to slow the process down or stop it altogether.

Critics also have been mobilizing in support of independent School Board candidate Audrey Clement, who is challenging incumbent Democrat Barbara Kanninen (a key mover in the name-change decision) on the ballot in November.

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The Ashton Heights Civic Association (AHCA), the largest in the region and whose children all go to W-L, also sent a letter in to ask why we were not included. This was poorly orchestrated. - Scott Sklar, President, Ashton Heights Civic Association

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