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Community emerges to save Aldie Elementary

The community of Aldie has started a campaign to save and expand its elementary school in the face of repeated threats to close the small western Loudoun School.

The Village of Aldie has had a school since 1858. It's current building was built in 1928. At one point it was the largest educational school in Loudoun County.

With a student body of 131, the school system is expecting to exceed its capacity in coming years.

To remedy the expected over capacity, the group is proposing a new wing attached to the existing school by a covered walkway.

The two-story addition will add a media center and library, an art and music room, special education room and nurse's office.

Currently, the largest class at the school has 27 students and the smallest class has 19.

A group of parents spoke at the March 25 School Board meeting in support of saving the school.

Kevin Piotter, one of the parents and supporters, spoke about the efficacy of the school.

“Having experienced two other public schools, from my perspective Aldie Elementary is second to none. It is not just the governor's awards and the other awards, but the decades old vision and mission that the school works with each child and partners with parents and cares for the unique needs for each child there,” Piotter said. “Some of these larger schools and more rigid schools is just not the perfect fit for all the kids. The percentage of kids that aren't flourishing in some of these larger schools is growing daily.”

Piotter implored that the School Board not close the school just because it doesn't fit the blueprint of a 900-student facility, citing it's academic foundation and ability to serve as an option for families whose children thrive in a smaller environment.

Laura Tekrony, another parent who spoke before the School Board, outlined the objectives of the campaign to expand the school.

Those objectives include filling the need for a half school in the fast growing Dulles South area, saving the county money by expanding an existing asset and preserving a historic asset.

Tekrony pointed out that expanding Aldie in 2019 will allow the county to postpone the opening and building of ES-28. By doing so the county would temporarily save $40 million a year.

“Adding 300 seats could postpone ES-28 another three years is what we predict,” Tekrony said. “Aldie has had its own school since the Civil War era and the future of the village depends on the school.”


It has been published that closing them would save $2M per year, not just this year.

It may save more, given some of the issues that arise in older buildings, particularly when expansion is considered.  Asbestos?  Perhaps currently contained, but what about during any construction?

Debt service on new schools is not exactly like a 30-year mortgage—some of the schools you may think are still making payments are in fact paid for.

I recall about ten years ago when Lincoln was having its water tested every day, with water being brought in some days.  That never made the news, and I only learned of it when visiting friends in Purcellville, and asked why the water truck was there as we drove past the school.  What did that cost, and what happened that made it necessary?

An accurate assessment should be done, with a breakout cost per seat by each school.

Closing these smaller schools is a net cost, not a net savings. Maybe it takes a couple million off the school board budget this year. But next year, we’ll all be looking at a $30-50 million bond to build a new school when the shuttered schools trigger need. Cost per pupil is not only lower at more of these smaller schools, but their Full Loaded Cost would include any debt service held against the building. To say cost per pupil at Lincoln, for example, is lower than average is true. But it’s MUCH LOWER than average when you factor in debt service against school bonds held at Culbert, for example. Closing these schools may cut a line item from the school board, but it will ultimately cost everyone in this county a bundle in new construction, land costs, and of course we’ll still have to maintain the buildings. As taxpayers we have to look at the whole picture. the school board does not. We have to help them see the big picture and what it means to all members of this community. Closing these small schools COSTS money. Doesn’t save a dime.

@Bobcat, I donated money to several Elementary schools becuase my kids were moved twice. And my current HS doesn’t have turf field. I’ve been in Loudoun over 25 years, doubt you could say the same. All small schools should be closed. They’re a waste of money.

It began over $20M, and was far less than that by the time it went down.

As you recall, one of the arguments that ended up making Lunsford three years late, and Champe one, was that people needed to be able to walk to school (which is why Lenah protests came with demands to build sidewalks throughout the Lenah Run community, as well as provide enhancements to their water through the schools, IF the schools were built at all.  They weren’t.  Yay).  No one will walk to Lunsford in this lifetime, and it will be years before anyone walks to Champe.  The traffic on Braddock has only been enhanced by the MS, too.

I see, and have seen for years, a person who will say and do anything to get what they want, including go to the press and say they are a nonprofit representing the historic Arcola Community Center, and come away with an article about how it’s going on the historic register, because her community needs a center more in keeping with her lifestyle.

Um, the county as owner, should have at least been TOLD she was doing that, right?

Nevermind that the use she was seeking had been grandfathered at the site, was not a permitted use, and would not have been able to be continued there.

I saw red when I read the WaPo article that came along with this one, saying that her group “embraces” the growth in Dulles South because it will save the school.

Since when does she or any of the groups she has appeared as EMBRACE anything about Dulles South, particularly in the matter of roads, schools or ANY service that she personally opposes?

Perhaps the reporter took a bit of license?

I’m sure she cares a great deal that her life is as she prefers;  we all DO.

But I would love to see any success in this matter come accompanied by a signed and notarized promise that the usuals will not be protesting anyone ELSE’s service needs or improvements in future.

I haven’t a lot of sympathy for Ms. TeKrony;  she has a history of actively protesting schools…that her children don’t use.  She helped spearhead the effort that delayed both Lunsford and Champe, protests every road improvement suggested for the “fast growing Dulles South” area, that she herself helped grow by building a new home on old farmland here.

She did not approve of the Dulles South MultiPurpose Center, and tried, on her own, to have the old Arcola Community Center in the village of Arcola placed on the historic register (never mind asking the owner, the County), because THAT village depended on it, and it would be a historic community center more in keeping with the residents who live in what is apparently the right KIND of new houses on old farmland.

She is a resident of neither the village of Arcola nor the village of Aldie, but the Transition Zone east of rte 15, and as a parent whose children were both overcrowded and bused on substandard roads, in part because of her activism efforts, I’m sorry for the kids that their private school experience may come to an end, but it IS a public system, and kids shouldn’t be served based on what kind of house or yard their parents buy.

Can a centrally located K thru middle school be located to house the students from the 4 schools likely to go under?

I bet most of these same parents wanted the BOS to raise the tax rate…. How about you pay for what you want instead of the rest of Loudoun? I donated money and time to all my kids schools for jungle gym sets, turf fields and various other needs that the new schools have and I’ve never been reimbursed. These small schools should have been closed 5 years ago, to be fair to all Loudoun, not just a few. The current and past school board lack integrity(BOS too).

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