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Schools Gauge the Future

Schools Expect More Money and More Students

Loudoun County Public Schools Superintendent Edgar B. Hatrick received good news from Richmond days before Christmas.

"We have received $20 million more in state funding than we expected,” Hatrick said. “That is going to make a big difference.”

The proposed operating budget for this year totals $85.1 million and includes renovations to the county’s four oldest middle schools. Blue Ridge, Simpson, Seneca Falls and Sterling middle schools will receive renovations to their classrooms, cafeterias and restrooms. “We are not building any new schools this year,” Hatrick said. “We should be, but we do not have the land. We are getting ready to open six the following year.”

The School Board plans to adopt its operating budget, CIP and CARP budgets Jan. 10. The adopted budget will be presented to the Board of Supervisors in mid-January.

SCHOOL BOARD member J. Warren Geurin (Sterling) said he and fellow School Board members will have to be strong advocates for the Capitol Improvements Plan (CIP) budget in 2006.

The CIP budget includes an $83.5 million high school in Leesburg, $13.8 million in school renovations and a $70 million advanced technology center.

“These are big numbers,” Geurin said. “Hopefully, the voters will approve these bonds in November. That is going to be a real challenge for us.”

In addition, this year Loudoun County Public Schools is expecting to increase its student population by 3,400 students.

“We do not think this growth is going to stop,” Geurin said. “Loudoun County has a high-birth rate, we get more and more kindergarten students each year and most of our students stay through the 12th grade.”

New student growth is not only happening in brand new areas, but older neighborhoods, like Sterling Park and Sugarland Run.

“Renovations are just as important as opening new schools,” Geurin said.

SCHOOL BOARD member Bob Ohneiser (Broad Run) said he would like to see more plans for playing fields in 2006.

“Twenty-five percent of kids in the county live in Ashburn,” Ohneiser said. “We do not have one regional park for kids to use in Ashburn. School playgrounds are not regional parks.”

Over the next seven years, Loudoun County will build 12 new elementary schools, three new middle schools, three new high schools, an advanced technology academy and renovate four existing middle schools and the Monroe Technology Center.