School Board members took the first steps Thursday to redraw the attendance boundary lines for eight elementary schools.
Several hundred elementary students are expected to be reassigned schools to make room for Waxpool Elementary School, which will open along Belmont Ridge Road next fall. The attendance changes will also free up space at the county’s most crowded schools, including Madison’s Trust Elementary which is housing 1,201 students this year—235 more than the building was designed to hold. Planners say that another 200 students would show up to that school next fall if the attendance lines are not redrawn.
“Our goal is to provide relief for some of those schools,” Director of Planning Beverly Tate told School Board members at a meeting Thursday.
Students in seven schools in the Dulles North planning area could be asked to attend a different school next year. Those elementary schools are Creightons Corner, Hillside, Madison’s Trust, Legacy, Mill Run, Moorefield Station, and Rosa Lee Carter, and dot the planning area northeast of Dulles Airport. Tate stressed that the attendance changes do not affect the middle or high schools.
During Thursday’s work session, she presented the board with two proposed boundary maps that her team drafted, after taking input from the Instruction Department and the Transportation Department.
“We did not create these plans in a vacuum of just the planning staff,” Tate said, referring to the input her team took from other departments. “Our primary goal was, of course, to establish an attendance zone for Waxpool Elementary, but we really worked to relieve overcrowding at Creightons Corner and Madison’s Trust.”
Both Plan 1A and Plan 1B take into account that another elementary school, referred to as ES-23, is slated to open in the fall of 2021 at the Arcola Center site south of Evergreen Mill Road. With that in mind, the plans attempt to not move students who live near that future school site this time around, knowing they’ll be reassigned again in 2021.
“We wanted to maintain as much continuity as we could,” Tate said.
Plan 1A would still keep Madison’s Trust with 300 students more than its building capacity, but Tate said that Principal David Stewart has already worked to add more staff to accommodate that school’s more than 1,200 students.
“In talking with the Instruction Department, we were going to reduce Madison’s Trust even more, but they said they have the team already there. Mr. Stewart has staffed up, so he’d have to de-staff and then staff up again as enrollment grows,” Tate said.
Plan 1B would move more students but more evenly spread out the enrollment surge in that area. It would leave all eight of the schools with enrollments close to or below their building capacities next year.
Tate acknowledged that, to accomplish those lower enrollment numbers at all of the schools, it would require moving students next year who will be reassigned again in 2021 when ES-23 opens. One of those areas is planning zone DS11, which surrounds the Arcola Center site where ES-23 is under construction.
“There are certainly faults with both of these plans, but we thought they both have merits worth putting forth,” Tate said.
School Board Chairman Jeff Morse (Dulles) said that one of the board’s goals is to reduce the number of moves students are asked to make. He asked Tate to bring a map to the next meeting that shows how many school assignments each neighborhood has undergone to help guide the board as they redraw the attendance lines.
The School Board will hold several work sessions and public hearings on the changes ahead of adopting a final attendance map Dec. 11. Public hearings are planned for: Monday, Oct. 22; Monday, Nov. 5; and Tuesday, Dec. 4. All of the meetings begin at 6:30 p.m. and take place the school administration building at 21000 Education Court in Ashburn. Interested speakers can sign up at lcps.org/Page/206863. More information about the plans under review can also be found at that website.