I am writing in response to the letter in the July 25 issue of the Mount Vernon Gazette written by Mr. H. Jay Spiegel [“Postpone Boundary Vote”]. There is indeed an emergency requiring the boundary policy be examined and amended. West Potomac High School currently has 18 trailers and was at 117% capacity for the 2018-2019 school year. Mount Vernon High School was at 82% capacity. The numbers for the 2019-2020 year will be West Potomac at 121% capacity, while Mount Vernon will be at 79% capacity. West Potomac is planning for an enhancement, but that will not address the limited amount of parking, which will not increase, nor the tiny feeder road Quander, that will be serving up to 2800 students plus faculty and staff.
All of this information can be found in the Capital Improvement Program on the FCPS website:
There are several other schools facing this same problem — two neighboring high schools, with one over capacity and one right next door under capacity. This can be addressed in several ways — one of which is a boundary study. (There are currently no boundary changes on the table.)
There is a lot of concern that this isn't a transparent process. I am here to tell you it is. I have been watching school board meetings in person and on YouTube (they are all taped and posted) for anyone who wants to follow along.
There are also many ways to get involved. You can register to speak in front of the school board at a meeting or send in video testimony. You can email your school board members. You can attend the meetings of FPAC (Facility Planning Advisory Council), which is the body that will most likely be charged with providing recommendations on the boundary issue this school year.
I have been appointed to FPAC as the Mount Vernon representative, so I can be certain that the Mount Vernon area has a dedicated person who can advise the necessary updates to not only the boundary policy, but also to the boundaries, which haven't been touched as a whole since the 1980s.
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Scott Brabrand is focusing on this issue as it is an issue for every taxpayer. We should be supporting FCPS's effort to utilize taxpayer dollars in the best way possible. I am very excited to help the school board come up with some concrete criteria for determining school boundaries, and I encourage anyone who has concerns or ideas to get involved in the process.