Amazon’s HQ2 Set for Virginia, NYC: What Does It Mean for Schools?

Amazon this week announced the selection of New York City and Arlington, Virginia, as the locations for its new headquarters. Amazon says it will invest $5 billion and create more than 50,000 jobs across the two new headquarters locations, with more than 25,000 employees each in New York City and Arlington. The new locations will join Seattle as the company’s three headquarters in North America.

The 14-month, olympic-style competition leading up to the decision was criticized by some for the potential use of public funds to incentivize a company valued around $1 trillion, as well as for the expected increases to cost of living and transportation issues it would bring to the areas ultimately selected, according to the article.

And while the impact on public schools has received little attention, there are several potential changes that Amazon’s new headquarters could bring to school districts surrounding these locations.

According to Education Drive:

From a curriculum standpoint, these districts will now have more incentive to offer career-and-technical education opportunities around coding and other related STEM fields. They may even be able to get assistance in these endeavors through the recently announced Amazon Future Engineer initiative. Collaboration between Amazon and Virginia Tech’s Innovation Campus, to be located in the same Arlington neighborhood, is also expected.

Amazon coming to town isn’t all roses, though.

Logistically, this move could present a headache for local schools. An influx of families to these areas will mean more students attending already overcrowded schools. And expected increases to the cost of living, particularly housing, could push out many lower-income families and create a shift in demographics for those districts and the ones surrounding them. Any corporate headquarters can benefit schools in terms of property taxes, but in recent years, there has been growing opposition to funding formulas that place too much reliance on property taxes because they are seen as contributing to inequity across a state.

And that’s not even getting into traffic congestion issues that could jam up existing school transportation strategies.

In a release, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said, “The City and State are working closely together to make sure Amazon’s expansion is planned smartly, and to ensure this fast growing neighborhood has the transportation, schools and infrastructure it needs.”

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