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Proposing Boundaries

Sam Adamo, the director of Planning and Legislative Services for Loudoun County Public Schools, presented his department's attendance boundary recommendations for two new eastern Loudoun school during the School Board's Tuesday, Nov. 14, meeting.

Rosa Lee Carter Elementary School and the new Arcola Elementary School are both scheduled to open in the fall of 2007.

Parents with students that could be impacted by the boundary changes, told Adamo about their concerns during several public input sessions held in October. At the top of parents' concerns was the number of times their child would have to switch schools. Adamo said he and his staff took those concerns into account in their recommendations.

"We really want to minimize the number of moves kids have to do," he said.

Following the public input sessions, residents were invited to submit their own boundary recommendations, which, Adamo said, were all considered.

"We looked at the community input plans that we received as well as the current situation of existing schools," he said.

Arcola and Rosa Lee Carter are being opened to relieve overcrowding at existing schools.

BOTH THE Dulles South area, where Arcola Elementary is located, and Ashburn, where Rosa Lee Carter Elementary is, are scheduled to have another school opened in the fall of 2008, something Adamo said was also a factor in making the recommendations he did.

"The School Board buys into the same concept," he said. "We moved areas where we are pretty confident they would not be moved again."

Adamo added, however, that there are no guarantees students would not be moved in the future.

School Board Chairman Robert DuPree (Dulles) said the planning department is aware of the ramifications of school moves on a family.

"They are trying to be very cognizant of the fact that these are children," he said. "They really try to limit the number of moves."

STUDENTS FOR Arcola Elementary are proposed to 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 an enrollment of 975 students.

Arcola Elementary is being built to hold 875 students and, under the current recommendation, is expected to open with 524 students. If the recommendation is approved Pinebrook Elementary's enrollment would drop from a projected 1,303 for the 2007-2008 school year to 779 students.

Students enrolled at Belmont Station, Cedar Lane, Hillside, Legacy, and Mill Run elementaries could see changes under the recommended boundaries for Rosa Lee Carter Elementary. Under the recommendation, Rosa Lee Carter would open at 595 students, relieving both Legacy and Mill Run, which are experiencing overcrowding.

As part of the boundary recommendations, children in the Hillside community will be moved to attend Belmont Station, something Adamo said is insurance for the future.

"There are currently no students there," he said, referring to the Hillside community's current makeup. "It was done to shift a future growth out of Hillside [Elementary.]"

A small portion of Mill Run's enrollment, students living in the Ashbriar community, will be moved to Cedar Lane Elementary, something Adamo said will not cause too much change for families, since the students will still fill into Farmwell Station Middle School and Broad Run High School.

Several parts of Loudoun Valley Estates will be moved into Rosa Lee Carter Elementary as well, Adamo said.

ADAMO ACKNOWLEDGED at Tuesday's meeting that the process for selecting boundaries is not perfect, saying two different communities could use the same criteria to argue their points.

"This is not something we have a perfect equation for," he said.

To select new school boundaries the department of planning looks at natural and geographical features as well as existing communities and demographics of those communities.

Residents had the opportunity to give their opinions on the recommended boundaries during two public hearings, Nov. 20 and Nov. 21. The Arcola Elementary boundaries were debated during Monday's public hearing and Rosa Lee Carter's boundaries were scheduled for Tuesday's hearing.

The School Board is scheduled to adopt the attendance boundaries Dec. 12.