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Trying for Stability

The School Board unanimously adopted the boundaries for Arcola Elementary School in Dulles South and Rosa Lee Carter Elementary School in Ashburn during its Dec. 12 business meeting.

The decision brought to a close months of planning for two schools designed to relieve the burden on other area schools when they open in fall 2007. The approved plans are virtually the same plans that were presented to the board by Sam Adamo, the director of Planning and Legislative Services for Loudoun County Public Schools, in November. A majority of parents expressed their support for the boundary recommendations during two separate public hearings later that month.

THE ONLY CHANGE to the boundaries was in a planning zone in Dulles North, known as DN 45. The area is centrally located, between the boundary areas for Mill Run, Legacy and Rosa Lee Carter elementary schools.

In the proposed boundary, the students living in planning zone DN 45 would have been moved from Legacy Elementary to Rosa Lee Carter, Adamo said. Two years ago, when Legacy opened, students living in the planning zone were moved from Mill Run elementary.

"In DN 45, there are about 58 kids at Legacy," Adamo said.

At the meeting, School Board Chairman Robert DuPree (Dulles), moved to allow those students to stay at Legacy.

"The message we got from [those families] was that, when Moorefield Station opened in 2010 that they would be right across the street from it," DuPree said. "They were asking if there was any way we could hold them and skip one move [for their children.]"

DuPree said it was clear to him that those children could stay at Legacy next year at the very least, until a permanent solution comes about with Moorefield Station. He added that it was important to give children as much stability as possible in a county that is growing as quickly as Loudoun.

"Whenever possible I think that’s a good goal," DuPree said. "I am glad we were able to grant their request."

LEAVING THOSE students at Legacy Elementary will not impact overall enrollment numbers, Adamo said. There are 58 students currently living in the DN 45 planning zone.

"The population [of Legacy] will only increase by about 60 students," he said.

Rosa Lee Carter will still open with more than 500 students. Under the original recommendation, Rosa Lee Carter would have opened at 595 students.

Student enrollment at Belmont Station, Cedar Lane, Hillside, Legacy, and Mill Run will see changes under the adopted boundaries for Rosa Lee Carter Elementary. Both Legacy and Mill Run, are experiencing overcrowding this year.

STUDENTS FOR Arcola Elementary will be pulled from Hutchison Farm Elementary, Little River Elementary and Pinebrook Elementary, all of which are experiencing overcrowding this year. Little River, a school built for 817 students has a current enrollment of 975 students.

When he made his recommendation, Adamo said that the opening of another South Riding school next year motivated the planning department to try not to move students who would be affected by 2008 school.

Arcola Elementary is being built to hold 875 students and, under the current recommendation, is expected to open with 524 students. Under the approved boundaries, Pinebrook Elementary’s enrollment would drop from a projected 1,303 for the 2007-08 school year to 779 students.

DuPree said that this year’s adopted boundaries show a commitment to looking toward the future of the county’s school system.

"By looking ahead and planning for more than the immediate move, I think we can provide some stability for these families," he said.