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Loudoun School Board adopts Plan 4 in Dulles South boundary adjustment

After months of work sessions, public input and planning, the Loudoun County School Board has adopted a plan for the attendance boundary for Goshen Post Elementary School, which will open next school year in Dulles South.

Of the four possible plans, the School Board voted 6-2 to adopt Plan 4.

Plan 4 was drafted by Chairman Jeff Morse (Dulles) and would have planning zones 6.6, 7.2, 7.4, 7.5, 7.8, 10 and 17.2 attend Goshen Post.

“It’s essential for us to be able to provide the services and the spaces that allocated and not overcrowd the school,” Morse said. “I believe it’s in the best interest of families and teachers to support Plan 4.”

Jill Turgeon (Blue Ridge) made two substitute motions, one to adopt Plan 7 and a second to adopt Plan 6, both which failed 3-5, with only Turgeon, Eric DeKenipp (Catoctin) and Beth Huck (At-Large) in support and Joy Maloney (Broad Run) absent.

Plans 6 and 7, drafted jointly by Turgeon and Huck, aimed to keep the Willowsford community together, per their request. Plan 6 and 7 would keep the community together and move them to Goshen Post and then to ES-29 in a couple years when the school opens.

Plan 4 would split them in an attempt to reduce the number of times students would have to switch schools.

Morse, Debbie Rose (Algonkian) and Eric Hornberger (Ashburn) expressed reservations about Plans 6 and 7 because it would have Goshen Post overcrowded from its opening and also cause overcrowding at Aldie.

“The overloading at Goshen Post under discussion for Plan 6 and 7 is unprecedented,” Morse said. “I asked staff if we had ever opened an elementary school over capacity and we have never done that.”

Rose said in past boundary discussions, she’s had teachers cry in front of her while telling her of the stress that comes with trying to give students the best education possible while facing conditions from overcrowding. The experience has stayed with her and she said she could not support a plan that opened a school above capacity.

“My primary oath of office is to make sure our students are getting the best education possible,” Rose said.

Morse also said Plans 6 and 7 would cause more de-staffing from Buffalo Trail Elementary School and also put strains on transportation.

Turgeon said that while Goshen Post and Aldie Elementary Schools would be over capacity at first, the populations would stabilize and communities would be kept together, which is why she supported the plans.

Morse, Hornberger and Tom Marshall (Leesburg) still expressed concerns about overcrowding, especially at Aldie. Aldie is a smaller school with limited capacity, Marshall said, and overcrowding it would cause more disruptions to student’s education.

“If there’s other options that we can do to keep the overcrowding from happening, I think that makes sense,” Hornberger said. “Our special education community has repeatedly warned us of the difficulty on special education, special needs kids in overcrowded schools. Why would we create more of an overcrowded school than we need to, both at Goshen Post and in Aldie?”

Plan 4 passed with Maloney absent and Turgeon and DeKenipp in opposition.

Click here to view Plan 4 and here for its rationale.


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