Loudoun County School Board members heard from several parents Monday evening who do not want to see their children reassigned elementary schools.
It was the board’s first public hearing for attendance boundary changes for elementary schools in the southern end of the county. School assignments need to be adjusted in that area to make room Goshen Post Elementary School, set to open next to John Champe High School along North Star Boulevard in fall of 2018, and to relieve some of the county’s most crowded schools.
The changes could impact students at five Dulles South elementary schools: Buffalo Trail, Hutchison Farm, Liberty, Little River, and Pinebrook. Buffalo Trail Elementary is the most crowded, serving 1,599—656 over its building capacity.
Seven parents addressed the board Monday, and all but one of them asked that their children’s elementary assignment go unchanged. Most of the families were from South Riding neighborhoods with children who attend Hutchison Farm Elementary School.
Mary Ann Rutler said her son was moved from Hutchison Farm to Pinebrook Elementary and then, four years later, back to Hutchison Farm. “So as you can imagine, I was quite shocked that our section was up for rezoning again,” she said. “If we are moved again, our kids would have gone to three elementary schools without us even moving one time.”
Ashley Flick, also from South Riding, said her family almost moved homes last year but her son, then a first-grader, was adamant about continuing to attend his school. “We decided to stay put largely because of Hutchison Farm. We really thought we would be at Hutchison Farm for the long haul,” she said.
One of the speakers requested that his children and others in his neighborhood, The Greens of Willowsford, be allowed to attend Goshen Post Elementary. J.T. Wilson said children in his neighborhood are attending Pinebrook Elementary, which sits 3.5 miles from their homes, and the new school is being built just 1 mile away. “Our kids are on the bus for a significant amount of time during the day,” he said. “Going to Goshen Post would help the kids and relieve some of that congestion that we are experiencing now.”
School system staff has proposed two attendance maps, Plan 1 and Plan 2. School Board members will also likely draft their own attendance maps for consideration. The board will dive in on the process at a work session Monday, Oct. 30.
A second public hearing will be held at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 6, with a third and final public hearing Tuesday, Dec. 6. 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.