Staff Recommends Boundaries

Staff Recommends Boundaries

Most elementary schools will experience a drop in enrollment under the proposed plan.

Loudoun County public schools planning staff has made its recommendation on the new elementary school boundaries in Ashburn and Dulles south.

The recommendations take into account the three new elementary schools opening next fall in the area: Legacy, in Brambleton, Newton-Lee, by Belmont Country Club and Pinebrook, in Aldie's Kirkpatrick Farms. A fourth school will replace Arcola Elementary School by 2007, further alleviating overcrowding in nearby schools.

According to the staff recommendation, all of the 11 elementary schools in Ashburn and Dulles south will experience a drop in enrollment, with two exceptions: Belmont Station's projected 2005-2006 enrollment will increase by 28 to 622, and Cedar Lane's will increase by 45 to 768.

Legacy, Newton-Lee and Pinebrook will open with 804, 600 and 679 students, respectively.

The area's largest elementary school, Mill Run, will experience a significant loss of students. Currently at 1,117 students, the school would have an estimated 1,370 students in 2005 if no changes were made. If the planning staff's recommendation is approved, however, Mill Run will open with 868 students in the fall of 2005.

That's not good enough for some parents.

"I'm not particularly pleased," said Cliff Keirce, who has two children at Mill Run. "It still starts Mill Run over capacity and doesn't address what they will do next year."

Keirce was also displeased that Farmwell Hunt, a community with three elementary schools within a closer distance, is still sending children to Mill Run under the staff recommendation.

"This still places Farmwell Hunt in Mill Run," he said. "That problem is that's what put it over."

Susan Doran, a Broadlands resident with a kindergartner at Mill Run, worried about her daughter's future at an overcrowded school.

"Who is paying the price? Our kids are," she said.

MILL RUN PRINCIPAL Paul Vickers, however, is concerned less with the issue of overcrowding than the fact that the school may lose many of the families that have become part of Mill Run.

"It's going to be a loss," he said.

According to Vickers, among the neighborhoods slated to send children to Legacy under the proposed plan are West Wind, Croson Lane, Forest Ridge, Bellaterra, Loudoun Valley Estates, Quail Pond and Vantage Park.

"I know they'll be in wonderful hands at Legacy," Vickers said.

He expressed confidence that children will adjust to their new situation.

"Once the children are acclimated to the new school, they quickly adopt an allegiance to the new school," he said.

The School Board will hold two public hearings on the planning staff's boundary recommendations: one on Nov. 22 at 6:30 p.m. at Arcola Elementary School, and one on Nov. 29 at 6:30 p.m. at Broad Run High School.