Briar Woods High School the Golden Fleece in boundary debate
More 200 people spoke at the final public hearing for the re-zoning debate that's dominated School Board discussions for the past month. The Brambleton families donned orange while Ashburn Village, Ashburn Farm and Broadlands families wore white, adding a visual element as each speaker used his one minute to argue his case.
The two newest plans introduced, Plans 11 and 12, composed the brunt of the discussion.
Jill Turgeon (Blue Ridge) and Brenda Sheridan (Sterling) proposed Plan 11 based on a draft from a community member while Kevin Kuesters (Broad Run) and Jeff Morse (Dulles) proposed Plan 12.
Both plans offer split feeds and are largely similar in the northern sections, with the exception of DN7a (at HS-8 under Plan 11 and at Broad Run under Plan 12), DNs 22, 23, 24.1 and 24a (at Broad Run under Plan 11 and at HS-6 under Plan 12) and DN43 (at HS-6 under Plan 11 and at Broad Run under Plan 12).
The southern portion of the plans differ significantly, however, with Plan 11 keeping all of Brambleton at Briar Woods but moving all the Broadlands to HS-6, forcing Broadlands families to drive through areas zoned for Briar Woods en route to the new school.
“Its rationale is keeping the communities together and stable” Turgeon said. “HS-6 would be built out of communities that are stable and largely built out.”
Under Plan 12, a small portion of Brambleton remains at Briar Woods, but the majority moves over to HS-6, with the Broadlands remaining at Briar Woods.
“It was a combination of different pieces of other plans” Morse said. “I think the most important thing we were addressing is long-term stability. The idea that people get moved to one school and then moved back out was a big concern to us.”
Brambleton expressed support for Plan 11, while the Broadlands leaned toward Plan 12.
“I oppose Plan 11, which turns the Broadlands into an unwanted islands of misfit toys,” Broadslands resident Cindy Mayer said.
A smaller contingency of Belmont Country Club parents came out to speak out against remaining at Belmont Ridge Middle School, rather than be located at the new Trailside Middle School.
One new middle school and two new high schools have forced the School Board to redraw boundaries in the Dulles North and Ashburn areas, a move that can affect as many as six middle schools and six high schools. The new schools are Trailside Middle School (opening fall 2014 next to Newton-Lee Elementary), HS-6 (opening fall 2014 in Louduon Valley Estates) and HS-8 (opening fall 2015 in Lansdowne).
Thus far, 12 School Board plans and one school administration plan have been proposed, including four proposed last week during the April 9 School Board meeting.
Currently, only plans 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 remain, with plans 1 through 4 scrapped last week. In order for plans to be considered, they must have a written rationale in addition to a map.
The final day School Board members can submit plans is April 18. The final boundaries will be voted on at the April 23 School Board meeting.
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