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School Boundary Options Considered

Parents helping to determine the boundaries of the new northeast Centreville elementary school are working hard to develop the best possible plan. They held their second meeting last Wednesday, Nov. 20, at Rocky Run Middle School.

The school will open in Centreville Farms in September to help ease overcrowding in local elementaries. At the same time, the Fairfax County school system hopes to adjust enrollment at nine other elementaries: Greenbriar East and West, Poplar Tree, Brookfield, Centre Ridge, Centreville, Union Mill, Willow Springs and Providence (in Fairfax City).

Based on the comments parents made at the first meeting, Gary Chevalier and John Bertocchi — with Fairfax County Public Schools' Facilities Planning Services — last week presented parents with three boundary scenarios to evaluate. They are:

* OPTION 1 — Students from these elementary schools and communities would go to the new school:

Greenbriar West Elementary: It would include Walney Glen, Willoughby Woods and Walney Mills, plus the new Fair Crest development currently assigned to Poplar Tree Elementary. Also included would be The Woodlands of Fair Lakes, Fair Lakes Glen, Willow Ponds, Berkshire Woods and — north, along Stringfellow Road — the Fair Lakes area.

Greenbriar East Elementary: It includes the Post Forest Apartments, Random Hills, Dixie Hills, Glen Alden, Fairfax Ridge and the county Government Center area including the Eclipse and Carriage Park.

Providence Elementary: The Government Center area including Westcott Ridge and Ridgetop Commons.

Willow Springs Elementary: Willow Meade and Buckley's Preserve north of Route 29.

Also in this scenario, some neighborhoods move from Poplar Tree Elementary to Greenbriar West Elementary (GBW). This plan uses space at GBW and unites neighborhoods along Northbourne Drive, which are currently split between the two schools. The Cabell's Mill area moves from Poplar Tree to GBW.

Additionally, to better use existing space at Union Mill Elementary, the Little Rocky Run townhouse area — including Sequoia Meadows — near Braddock Road would be moved to Union Mill where residents from Little Rocky Run's single-family homes already attend. Currently, children north of Braddock attend Centre Ridge Elementary, and those south of Braddock go to Centreville Elementary. This plan would unite the entire Little Rocky Run community in one elementary school.

* OPTION 2 — Students from these elementary schools and communities would go to the new school:

Greenbriar West Elementary: Same as Option 1, but would not include the Fair Lakes townhouse and apartment areas along Stringfellow Road.

Greenbriar East Elementary: No students from GBE would go to the new school.

Willow Springs Elementary: The Willow Springs area west of Clifton Road, such as Cavalier Woods, Clifton Forest and Centreville Green, would go to the new school.

Regarding GBW and Poplar Tree, the Hawthorne Forest, Long Meadow and Hidden Creek communities would shift from GBW to Poplar Tree. The Hunters Run and Poplar Tree Woods areas — near the intersection of Poplar Tree and Stringfellow roads — would move from Poplar Tree to GBW.

To use space at GBW, communities along Monument Drive's south side would go from GBE to GBW. This proposal affects sections of Fair Ridge, Cedar Lakes, Fairfield, The Hermitage, Jefferson Oaks, Regan Oaks Apartments and the Fair Lakes area currently attending GBE.

Students in the Government Center area — including Westcott Ridge and Ridgetop Commons — move from Providence Elementary to GBE.

As for Union Mill Elementary, the Balmoral community currently attending Centreville Elementary would be shifted to Union Mill. Also moved to this school would be the Willow Springs area west of Clifton Road (Briarcroft) and south of Twin Lakes, since these neighborhoods have direct access to Union Mill Road.

To help relieve Centre Ridge Elementary and utilize space at Centreville Elementary, this plan splits the Little Rocky Run townhouse area, with streets on the west side of Little Rocky Run Circle (including the newer Deerfield Ridge area) remaining at Centre Ridge. Those on the east side (and the Sequoia Meadows area) move from Centre Ridge to Union Mill.

* OPTION 3 — The differences between this scenario and Option 2 are:

Neighborhoods along Northbourne Drive wouldn't change. Cabell's Mill would stay at Poplar Tree Elementary, and Hawthorne Village, Long Meadow and Hidden Creek would remain at GBW. Instead, Brookfield Elementary is relieved by sending Walney Village Section 1 townhouse residents and the Eagle Chase area along Walney Road to Poplar Tree.

Apartment areas near Fair Oaks would remain at GBE. And the new school's boundary area would extend further east (as in Option 1) to include Dixie Hills, Glen Alden and Fairfax Ridge, plus some of the Government Center area.

Residents of the Bent Tree and Centreville Gables apartments (near Braddock Road and Route 29) would move from Centre Ridge Elementary to the new school. The Willow Springs Elementary area west of Clifton Road would move to Union Mill Elementary, as would Balmoral.

Also in the mix: A new GT center proposed at Oak Hill Elementary could take some of Greenbriar West's GT students. "We estimate 25-50 students would move from GBW to Oak Hill in September 2003," said Bertocchi. Another GT center, proposed for Mosby Woods, could accommodate an estimated 30-60 Willow Springs GT students.

Parents' comments from the Nov. 20 meeting will be posted at www.fcps.edu. Click on "School boundary information — northeast Centreville elementary boundary study, community meeting No. 2."

From them, Facilities Services staff will return, Dec. 12, with one plan incorporating the best and most viable suggestions made by parents at the first two boundary meetings. They'll then discuss that plan's pros and cons.

School system staff will recommend a boundary plan to the School Board on Jan. 23. The public hearing is Feb. 10; the School Board will vote, Feb. 27. Those unable to attend the boundary meetings may e-mail comments or questions to Boundaries@fcps.edu or mail them to Facilities Planning Services, 10640 Page Ave., Fairfax, VA 22030.