EDUCATION

First day of school in Northern Virginia

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ARLINGTON, Va. (WJLA) - It's a day of excitement, high hopes and apprehension across Northern Virginia schools.

One of the biggest challenges this school year is an expanding number of students combined with shrinking budgets.

Fairfax County's new superintendent admits she is a bit tense on this first day of school as well. She has some pressing matters to deal with, among them a surging number of students and shriveling resources.

“We are growing by134 classrooms a year and we are building about 75. So we have a lot of temporary classrooms and it's a challenge,” says Karen Garza, Fairfax County school superintendent.

Absorbing so many new students and maintaining education standards poses a challenge. but so does holding on to quality teachers.

“We know that we need to be more competitive but at the same time we are concerned about available revenue for us,” she says.

Another school system facing a challenge is Alexandria. After a tenure marked but alleged budgetary mismanagement, test score irregularities and a threat of state takeover of a struggling school, embattled Alexandria superintendent Morton Sherman abruptly bid adieu just days before the start of school.

Despite the turmoil, parent Peggy Prevost is optimistic.
“My kids are doing well, their friends seem to be thriving so it's all good,” Prevost says.

Another place where it's all good is Wakefield High School in Arlington. It received good reviews on its first day welcoming students.

“It's really nice - I like it a lot,” said student Carlos Carmona of the $100-plus million project to renovate the school.

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