New Brambleton School Attendance Boundaries Delay Major Shuffling—For Now

Thousands of middle and high school students in Brambleton and surrounding neighborhoods will be reassigned schools under the new attendance boundaries adopted by the Loudoun County School Board on Tuesday night.

The changes come ahead of the opening of Brambleton Middle School north of Rt. 50 in August 2017 and the yet-to-be-named high school (HS-11) on the same campus two years later. As School Board members shifted attendance lines, they also accounted for the opening of a middle school (MS-7) in August 2018 and a high school (HS-9), planned to open in August 2021.

The board opted for the boundary map that moves the fewest students, holding off on any major changes to families south of Rt. 50, and leaving the most packed middle schools in the county with enrollments well over their building capacities for another few years.

The county’s most overcrowded school, Mercer Middle School, this fall is projected to have 688 more students than its building was designed, and 1,050 more students by 2017.

Board members who favored the adopted map, Plan 2 amended, said they prefer to redraw the attendance boundaries at the far southern end of the county this fall, when they have new enrollment projections and, hopefully, a site for HS-9, the high school slated to open in 2021. While it will mean tight quarters for some of the schools, it will also mean fewer assignment changes for students in those schools. For example, a middle school student wouldn’t have to be shifted north to Brambleton Middle School in 2017 only to be reassigned to MS-7 when it opens in the following year.

“I do think it’s the right move to wait and gather more information about enrollment projections,” said Chairman Eric Hornberger (Ashburn), who drafted Plan 2.

[See the adopted boundary map here.] The middle school level changes will be implemented in fall of 2017, and the high school changes in fall of 2019.

The alternate plan, Plan 3, drafted by Jeff Morse (Dulles), would have reassigned about 200 students who live south of Rt. 50 to schools north of Rt. 50 to free up space in Mercer Middle School.

Students at Mercer Middle School follow strict traffic patterns to move between classes. (Ali Khaligh/Loudoun Now)
Students at Mercer Middle School follow strict traffic patterns to move between classes. (Ali Khaligh/Loudoun Now)

A visibly upset Morse said he and many community members worked hard to come up with a plan that would provide desperately needed enrollment relief to Mercer and other schools. “Nobody wants to move, but something’s got to give,” he said. “We’re going to have to move some children out of Dulles South up to Stone Hill and Brambleton [middle schools] if enrollment projections don’t change.”

He told Lenah Run residents, who rallied their neighbors to oppose Morse’s plan, that he looks forward to sitting down with them to work on a solution to relieve overcrowded schools in the south this fall.

Joy Maloney (Broad Run), who opposed the adopted plan, said she could not support it because it leaves Eagle Ridge Middle School and Briar Woods High School with too many students and splits the Belle Terra community. “There’s just too many things that went wrong here today,” she said.

3 thoughts on “New Brambleton School Attendance Boundaries Delay Major Shuffling—For Now

  • 2016-05-11 at 4:13 am

    Lost in the discussion was the fact that Hornberger is playing hypocrite again. Contrary to the original staff plan, Plan 2 moves DN 4.1 over 5 miles from well south of Loudoun One past closer several schools to Belmont Ridge/Riverside.

    Hornberger claims he was all about “community schools” and that students should attend the school closest to one’s home when segregating Leesburg’s schools. But when given a chance to bus neighborhoods which have yet to be built (and thus have no say) in order to protect the “untouchable” Ashburn neighborhoods, he jumps at the chance. Let’s remember this move the next time Sterling or Leesburg are rezoned.

    The second item on the agenda that got short shrift was LCSB’s request that the VSBA push to change Virginia’s statutes to allow school boards to sue OTHER government entities without first getting permission from the BOS. Why would a school board want to use taxpayer funds to sue other gov’t agencies without at least getting its county board responsible for raising those funds onboard first? Maybe if the school board plans to file frivolous lawsuits destined to lose in order to cover up its misdeeds? Yep, LCSB is dying to sue VDOE to block the release of SGP data. Their lawyers are too dumb to understand that’s a losing case. LCSB doesn’t trust the even more incompetent lawyers from VEA/LEA. It’s a good thing the VSBA will laugh at this. Not one of LCSB’s requested laws even made the VSBA list last year much less had a snowball’s chance in *#$& of passing the Assembly.

    Here’s to unchecked corruption. It’s your school board, Loudoun.

  • 2016-05-11 at 11:35 am

    Thanks Loudoun Now for staying on top of this. Lenah Run has been the “something’s got to give” for over 12 years now. Lenah Run (DS-10) has sacrificed more than any other Dulles South district. My children attended three different elementary schools in six years. Some in our subdivision had children move through 4 different elementary schools in the same six years (2005; old Arcola ES, 2006-2007; Pinebrook ES, 2008-2009; new Arcola ES, 2010; Buffalo Trail ES). Lenah Run is tired of giving……

  • Pingback:Crowd Management: Loudoun Middle Schools Await for Enrollment Relief – Loudoun Now

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