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Votes

Board Approves New Boundaries over Parents' Objections

One by one Willow Springs Elementary School parents pleaded their case before the Fairfax County School Board Thursday, Feb. 24, to keep their community together and send their children to the new southwest middle school.

The proposal before the Board would send part of the community to the new school while keeping the remainder of students at Lanier Middle School in Fairfax.

"Amend the proposal to send all of Willow Springs to the new middle school. Should the new middle school open vastly under capacity and Lanier vastly over capacity?" said Fairfax Hunt resident Susan Pisner. "Our homes are built, send us to the southwest middle school and Centreville Farms, which has yet to be built, to the newly expanded Lanier, when it’s built."

The pleas failed to persuade the School Board, which voted 10-0, with Mason District representative Kaye Kory absent. In addition, the Board approved the boundary changes for Frost and Lanier middle schools and Fairfax and Woodson high schools, and the boundaries for the new Sangster Gifted-and-Talented Center.

<mh>Keep Us Together

<bt>Springfield representative Catherine Belter, whom the parents asked to submit an amendment sending all of Willow Springs to the new school, declined to make such an amendment.

Several parents objected to the boundary change that placed Centreville Farms, a housing development yet to be built, into the new school, while their children, who would live within walking distance of the new school, continue to get bused to Lanier in Fairfax City.

"Our children are jailed in a school we don't even have voting rights in," said Monique Dowd-Kovach, a Willow Springs resident.

The county and Fairfax City have a long-standing arrangement whereas the city builds and maintains schools within the city limits and the county provides the curriculum and personnel. The city has plans to expand Lanier Middle School, pending a bond referendum.

The boundary change is intended to relieve overcrowding at Stone and Rocky Run middle schools by reassigning students to the new southwest middle school.

In order to create an attendance area for the new southwest county middle school, Fairfax County Public Schools staff proposed reassigning students of Stone Middle (located in Centreville) in the areas south of Routes 66 and 29, to the new school, including Lee Overlook, The Meadows, Newgate, Centre Ridge, Old Mill, Willoughby Woods, Clifton Townes, Confederate Ridge, Hanna Estates, Crofton Commons and Trinity Centre, but excluding Gate Post Estates.

In addition, students of Rocky Run (located in Chantilly) from the attendance area south of Route 66 — including Green Trails, Compton Village, Compton Heights, Compton Valley North Hart Run, Heritage Estates, Singleton's Grove, Sunset Ridge, Centreville Green, Little Rocky Run, Sequioa Lea, Cavalier Woods, The Ponds at Centreville, Bent Tree Apartments, Willoughby Woods, Walney Glen, Walney Mills, Centreville Farms, Edglea, Balmoral west of Johnny Moore Creek, Evening Hills and Clifton Crest — will also be reassigned to the new school.

<mh>Yet Again

<bt>Another proposed boundary change drew criticism from fellow Board members. The proposal would reduce Oakview Elementary School from a three-feeder school to a double-feeder school.

While members of the Board said they prefer there be no three-feeder schools, they objected that the proposal was before them after being defeated as recently as last year. In fact, this was the fourth time the proposal has come before the School Board.

"I cannot believe this is before the Board yet again," said Braddock District representative Tessie Wilson. "As far as I can tell, there has been no change in the community … it's still decisive. We were told the 2001 vote was the final vote."

The measure passed 7-3, with chairman Stuart Gibson (Hunter Mill), Wilson, and Christian Braunlich (Lee) opposed.

The approved changes will have students now attending Lanier Middle in Fairfax and Fairfax High in the areas of Popes Head Estates, Colchester Heights, Robey's Meadow, Quiet Brook, Decour Estates, Colchester Meadow, West Ridge Estates, Beech Ridge Estates, The Ridges of Glendilough, Popes Head View, Brecon Ridge Woods, Brecon Ridge, West Hill, North Hill, Braddock Forest, Braddox and Chilton Woods will be reassigned to Frost Middle and Woodson High schools, both in Fairfax.