A concern that brought hundreds of parents and students to public hearings early in the school attendance boundary process has been put to rest.
During a work session Monday, School Board Chairman Eric Hornberger (Ashburn) aimed to put families who live south of Rt. 50 at ease when he said their children will not be reassigned to schools north of Rt. 50, unless something unforeseen happens ahead of the Dec. 13 adoption of a final plan.
“I haven’t heard anyone from the dais support the split in Plan 1, so my thought is that it’s probably not going to move forward,” he said.
Plan 1, a proposal drawn up by the Legislative and Planning Department, would send a few hundred students who live south of Rt. 50 to schools north. The up side of that plan, according to Executive Director of Planning Sam Adamo, is that it would keep enrollment at the middle schools below 1,650.
The board is six weeks into what will be a nine-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 relief to crowded schools in the Dulles area. As the School Board redraws attendance lines, it also is taking into account a high school (HS-11) that will open in Brambleton in 2019 and a high school (HS-9) scheduled to open just south of Rt. 50 in 2021.
Hornberger’s comments Monday followed statements made by four School Board members— Jeff Morse (Dulles), Jill Turgeon (Blue Ridge), Eric DeKenipp (Catoctin) and Tom Marshall (Leesburg)—during last week’s regular board meeting that they would not support Plan 1.
Plan 4 is similar to Hornberger’s Plan 2, except it moves planning zones DN 34.1, DN 34.2, DN 34.3—areas just north of Ryan Road—from Eagle Ridge Middle School/Briar Woods High School to Stone Hill Middle School/Rock Ridge High School. Plan 5 is similar to Plan 3, except reassigns students in those same three planning zones to the Stone Hill/Rock Ridge cluster.
“It’s an attempt to stabilize the zones for Eagle Ridge/Briar Woods and Stone Hill/Rock Ridge, with the hope when we change boundaries again when HS-9 opens in 2020, we wouldn’t be looking at those neighborhoods,” she said.
Plan 6 reassigns planning zones DN 34.2 and DN 34.3 to Stone Hill/Briar Woods, and keeps planning zone DS 11 at Brambleton Middle School instead of Stone Hill. That proposal is meant to lower enrollment at Stone Hill Middle School, leaving space for students who will likely move in with future developments.
See the six plans in detail at lcps.org/page/104704.
The board will hold two more public hearings, Nov. 28 and Dec. 5, ahead of adopting a final boundary plan Dec. 13. 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.