Amid the Arlington’s schools protests, the Virginia High School League Redistricting and Reclassification Committee ruled in favor of Hayfield moving from the Patriot District to the National District for the 2009-10 school year.
Hayfield Secondary School earned a 10-2 (with one abstention) vote in favor of the Hawks’ appeal, after initially being turned down 10-2 by the same committee in late January.
Northern Region chairman Mike Campbell and Hayfield director of student activities Steve Kewer both spoke on the Hawks’ behalf.
“They went the way things were supposed to go,” Kewer said. “I think that the region backing us overwhelmingly was a big emphasis for them to consider. The R&R committee made the right decision.”
The main issue involving Hayfield was its decreasing enrollment, as the school has lost 40 percent of its students since South County opened three years ago.
Committee members said during discussions that they felt Hayfield fit better in the National District. They also considered a previous 25-4 vote in favor of the move by Northern Region schools. The only snag was that the dissenting schools were all current National District teams — Falls Church, Wakefield, Washington-Lee and Yorktown.
“We just had to show that you had to do what’s right for the region and do what is right for Hayfield instead of protecting those four schools,” Kewer said. “They are trying to protect themselves and that is part of their job. We wanted them to see the bigger picture of how it affects the kids and the region.”
Critics cited the competitive advantage that Hayfield receives now that it moves to the weaker National District. Kewer disagreed with the dissenting opinion.
“We are not trying to gain a competitive advantage by going to the National District — all we’re trying to do is be competitive,” Kewer said.
<b>AS A RESULT</b> of the daylong proceedings at the VHSL headquarters in Charlottesville, Stone Bridge will remain in the AAA Liberty District and the Northern Region by a 7-6 vote, instead of being booted to the Northwest Region.
Meanwhile, Loudoun Valley, which sought to move to the Concorde District after recently competing in the National District, and Heritage also appealed their placement in the Cedar Run District. Both schools were turned down 11-1.
According to the VHSL release, the R&R voted on each of the three Loudoun County schools separately, instead of grouping them together. Committee chairman David Melton was the lone abstention from the vote involving Hayfield.
The VHSL convenes the R&R committee to review school enrollment and geographic shifts every other year. Based on that criteria, district and regional alignments are set to maximize competitive balance and minimize travel.
The R&R Committee's votes will now be passed on to the VHSL Executive Committee, which is scheduled to meet on May 7. The final plan will go into effect July 1, 2009.
—<i>Additional reporting by Paul Frommelt</i>