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Community Divided Over Jefferson-Houston School Construction

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Construction on a new Jefferson-Houston School in Alexandria is set to begin next week.
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Construction on a new Jefferson-Houston School in Alexandria is set to begin next week.

Jefferson-Houston School is the lowest performing school in northern Virginia. It's a school where test scores are so low the state is about to take over operations.

Meanwhile, Alexandria School Board members are getting ready to put on hardhats and grab the shovels for a ceremony next week -- the first step in demolishing the school and constructing a brand new $45 million facility.

"I will be uneasy donning that stupid looking hat and smiling for the cameras because I don't think that we are where we need to be yet," says School Board member Bill Campbell.

Campbell says he's unsure if the school should be constructed to serve grades kindergarten through eighth grade, a model that Superintendent Morton Sherman wants to model at this school and replicate at three other schools.

Daniel Schuman lives across the street from the school, and he says he's not sure if he wants to send his daughter there or not.

"I don't think that anyone wants to send their kid to a school that's at the bottom of the bottom in the state, and that's certainly what Jefferson-Houston is," says Schuman. "And no new school building is going to make a difference in that kind of problem."

The groundbreaking is scheduled for Tuesday.

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