- After months of speculation and spectacle, Amazon on Tuesday announced its HQ2 locations will be split between New York City — around Long Island City in Queens — and the Crystal City neighborhood of Arlington, Virginia, The New York Times reports.
- The two locations are expected to add a total of 25,000 employees between the two locations at a price tag of about $5 billion in construction and other investment costs, and the company may also receive over $2 billion in tax incentives in both states.
- The 14-month competition leading up to the decision was criticized by some for the potential use of public funds to help a company valued around $1 trillion, as well as for the expected increases to cost of living and traffic issues it would bring to the areas ultimately selected, according to the article.
While there are no potential impacts to schools mentioned up front, there are several potential changes that Amazon's new headquarters could bring to the districts surrounding these locations.
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."
Long Island City currently has over $2.4 billion in planned infrastructure investments, among them $180 million from the city for new schools, open space and transportation. De Blasio also touted the city's Computer Science For All initiative at the K-12 level during a media event with Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Of course, with the new headquarters not even under construction yet, their ultimate impact on the surrounding schools remains to be seen. But beginning preparations for a variety of scenarios now will save administrators a headache or two down the line.