Minority preferences in admissions to Arlington's alternative schools were struck down this year when federal judge Albert V. Bryan, Jr. ruled admissions policies at Arlington Traditional School (ATS, formerly Page) unconstitutional.
School Board member Frank Wilson prophesied, "[Alternative] schools will become almost all white."
The school board voted against appealing the decision in a tense, crowded meeting, and instead compensated with an unprecedented enrollment increase at HBW and ATS to make room for all minority applicants. School Board chair Mary Hynes acknowledged that serious overcrowding would result.
The schools may still use race as a factors, but not the only one, Judge Bryan ruled, echoing current Supreme Court doctrine. Thus some preference systems used in earlier years may still be permitted.
If the Board had appealed, the Court of Appeals might have outlawed all consideration of race. Influential activists on both sides of the issue called for the abolition of alternative schools.
"If Arlington County cannot find a way to make alternative schools accessible to all county citizens, they should be closed. I believe alternative schools are an anomaly whose time must come to an end. Alternative schools sap resources ...", former PTA President Bea Pacheco wrote.