Another solution to the attendance zone boundary challenge facing secondary schools in southern Loudoun was offered up tonight.
Loudoun County School Board Chairman Eric Hornberger (Ashburn) presented a proposal, called Plan 3, that makes only small adjustments to a plan he offered last week, Plan 2.
The board is five weeks into what will be a eight-week process to redraw the attendance boundaries for middle and high school students who live in the Dulles South and Dulles North planning areas. Attendance zone changes are inevitable ahead of the opening of a new middle school along Braddock Road, known as MS-7 in fall of 2018, and to provide much needed relief to crowded schools in the Dulles area. As the School Board redraws attendance lines, it is also taking into account a new high school (HS-11) that will open in Brambleton in 2019 and a new high school (HS-9) scheduled to open just south of Rt. 50 in 2021.
Hornberger’s Plan 2 and Plan 3 would open MS-7 as an intermediate school, housing grades eight and nine, while John Champe High School would house grades 10 through 12. That move would free up enough space in the schools to keep students who live south of Rt. 50 attending schools south of Rt. 50.
To provide his colleagues on the board with another option, Hornberger made two small changes to Plan 2 to draft Plan 3.
It would reassign students living in the DS. 11.1 planning zone—near Stone Springs Boulevard—to Stone Hill Middle School and Rock Ridge High School. That would prevent just a handful of Madison’s Trust Elementary School students from moving on to Stone Hill Middle School. It also shifts a small planning zone, DN 36.15, which sits along Shreveport Drive and does not yet have homes built in it, to Stone Hill.
“This plan tries to improve the two areas of Plan 2 that I was looking for further improvement,” Hornberger said.
The board also opened the floor to another public hearing on the boundaries Monday evening. Most of the 25 speakers voiced support for Plan 2, and specifically stressed their opposition to Plan 1, the senior staff’s proposal that would assign students who live in the south to schools north of Rt. 50.
As one 8-year-old, Mia McDonald, put it, “We should be able to go to the schools near our home so that we don’t miss out on important activities and learning opportunities that we love.”
The board will hold a few more work sessions and public hearings ahead of adopting a final boundary plan Dec. 13. The next public hearing is 6:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 28. People can sign up to speak at lcps.org or by calling 571-252-1050. The meetings are held at LCPS School Administration Building, 21000 Education Court in Ashburn.