Eagle Ridge Middle School PTO vice president Emily Ciullo describes Eagle Ridge Middle School as a tight-knit community.
Ciullo lives minutes away from Eagle Ridge Middle School, home to students from Broadlands, Brambleton and Loudoun Valley neighborhoods.
"My son plays with just as many Brambleton kids as he does Broadlands kids," she said. "We are one big, happy family."
LOUDOUN COUNTY Public Schools will open a new middle school in September 2007. Stone Hill Middle School, MS-4, is located in Ashburn’s Loudoun Valley Estates II subdivision. The new school will affect the current school attendance areas for Belmont Ridge, Eagle Ridge, Farmwell Station and Mercer middle schools.
"This will affect students because it will take enrollment down, which affects the budget, how much money we get per kid," Ciullo said.
The school system’s Department of Planning and Legislative Services Beverly Tate said projected enrollment for the four middle schools in 2007, without opening Stone Hill Middle School, totals more than 5,000 students.
"Our middle school design is around 1,184 students, so we are overcrowded at a number of them," Tate said. "Farmwell Station and Belmont Ridge middle schools are overcrowded today."
Farmwell Station Middle School PTO president Stacy Moren has mixed emotions about the new school.
"While I'm certain that Stone Hill Middle School will bring the same level of excellence to the families it serves as the existing schools, it will also bring some difficult transitions and adjustments for children who have become familiar with and confident in the Farmwell Station Middle School community," she said. "My biggest concern is that all the kids land safely."
Moren said Loudoun County Public Schools is lucky to be able to afford new schools, but it is a tough age for children to make a big transition like changing schools.
"I have faith that the faculty and families will take all the necessary steps to make this a smooth transition," she said. "I have even greater faith in the resilience of kids to thrive on the heels of change."
Belmont Ridge Middle School’s PTO president Noreen Cochran said she will be directly affected by Stone Hill Middle School. Her son attends Belmont Ridge Middle School, which, she says, is overcrowded.
"Belmont Ridge Middle School should be positively impacted since we are overcrowded right now," she said. "The opening of a new middle school should relieve the overcrowding."
UNLIKE BELMONT RIDGE and Farmwell Station middle schools, Eagle Ridge Middle School is not overcrowded.
In 2001, Eagle Ridge opened with 1,200 students. Its current enrollment is approximately 700 students.
"This will be the second time this has happened to us since we opened," Ciullo said. "It’s not like we’re busting at the seems over here."
The School Board staff has scheduled three community-input meetings: Monday, Feb. 6, at 6:30 p.m., at Belmont Ridge Middle School; Tuesday, Feb. 7, at 6:30 p.m., at Farmwell Station Middle School; and Monday, Feb. 13, at 6:30 p.m., at Eagle Ridge Middle School.
"We hope enrollment at the new middle school will relieve both Farmwell and Belmont Ridge middle schools," Tate said.
For more information, visit the Loudoun County Public Schools Web site, www.loudoun.k12.va.us, or contact the Department of Planning and Legislative Services at firstname.lastname@example.org or 571-252-1050.