The Loudoun County School Board now has six options on the table as it considers how to redraw attendance zone boundaries for elementary schools in the southern end of the county.
School assignments need to be adjusted in that area ahead of the opening of Goshen Post Elementary School next fall and to relieve some of the county’s most crowded schools. The new school is under construction on land next to John Champe High School along Northstar Boulevard.
The attendance changes could impact students at five Dulles South elementary schools: Buffalo Trail, Hutchison Farm, Liberty, Little River and Pinebrook.
The school system’s Legislative and Planning Department offered two potential boundary maps, called Plan 1 and Plan 2. But several board members offered their own options at the board’s final work session on the boundary changes Tuesday.
Eric Hornberger (Ashburn) presented his proposal, called Plan 3, which moves fewer students than either of the staff’s proposal. He said his plan would reassign a total of 1,057 students and make it so fewer families are reassigned a second time when another new elementary school (ES-29) opens in 2023. “It’s really important to set up the fewest possible moves when ES-29 opens,” he said.
His plan would not relocate students who currently attend Hutchison Farm or Pinebrook.
Chairman Jeff Morse (Dulles) drafted a similar proposal, called Plan 4, “but the primary difference is when it comes to the balance between Hutchison Farm and Liberty.”
Plan 3 would leave more students at Liberty, while Plan 4 would leave more students at Hutchison Farm. Morse said he spoke with the principal about how her staff is handling their current enrollment, which is slightly over building capacity. “Right now, they’re at 850 students and she felt comfortable with that number,” he said.
Jill Turgeon (Blue Ridge) and Beth Huck (At Large) drafted Plan 5 and Plan 6. Turgeon said their focus was to stabilize Aldie Elementary by keeping more students there. Plan 6 is similar to Plan 5 except it keeps students in planning zone 6.4 at Aldie Elementary.
Both plans split the Willowsford neighborhood, sending planning zone 7.4 to Goshen Post and planning zone 7.3 to Buffalo Trail. But Turgeon said those will likely both be sent to the new school, ES-29. “So we’re trying to maintain some sort of stability. Even though there is going to be a flip-flop for those neighborhoods, at least they will most likely come back together into one school (ES-29).”
The final public hearing on the boundaries is 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 6, and the board is scheduled to adopt a final attendance map Tuesday, Dec. 12. The meetings are held at the school administration building, 21000 Education Court in Ashburn.