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Parents defend attendance zones before School Board

photoTimes-Mirror Staff Photo/Aaron Koepper. Chairman Eric Hornberger (front) talks with parents after the School Board attendance zone meeting Wednesday night.

School Board members at Wednesday’s night attendance zoning meeting heard one message again and again from more than 60 speakers: keep our communities together.

Parents and residents reacted to six different plans for attendance zones that would change with the opening of Discovery and Moorefield Station elementary schools in the 2013-2014 school year. 

School Board members developed six separate plans for attendance zones to complement the school system’s “base plan”.

Plans 1 and 2 were proposed by chairman Eric Hornberger (Ashburn), Plan 3 by Kevin Kuesters (Broad Run), Plan 4 and 6 by Jill Turgeon (Blue Ridge) and Plan 5 from the community, sponsored by Thomas Reed (at large).

“On about 12 of the schools we’re gonna have universal agreement,” Reid said, describing his plan. “It’s really on three of the schools we’re going to have to work hard on it.”

Turgeon said several plans were being proposed throughout the process to increase transparency and give residents the ability to voice opinions long before the votes for the new zones were cast.

“It puts the ideas in our heads out so the public can see,” Turgeon said. “We’re trying to avoid as much as possible putting things out at the last minute.”

She called the process difficult because it’s hard to anticipate how many neighborhoods will be built in areas anticipated to grow. Her plans focus more heavily on the western edges of the planning area, which is her district.

“I didn’t like that issues people felt were important weren’t being addressed,” Turgeon said.

She also kept DN32 going to Mill Run Elementary School and DN39 at its current school, Newton Lee Elementary.

Parents in the DN09a district used their two-minute public comment periods to read through an entire PowerPoint presentation about why their neighborhoods, which sit just outside Belmont Country Club, should not be redistricted from Newton Lee Elementary to Belmont Station Elementary.

“It’s not appropriate to kick one person out of a community for the sake of another one,” said Michelle LoPresti, leader of the parents who put together the PowerPoint.

Cynthia Singleton, in the neighborhood of Alexander’s Grove in what would be DN09a, argued that community school boundaries shouldn’t be defined by homeowners associations.

“This stance is not about emotion or about an us vs. them mentality,” Singleton said. “It concerns me that we’re considering plans that don’t follow the bylaws and deciding which students should attend a school by HOA country club status alone.”

The DN09 parents who followed argued that Newton Lee’s population would continue to drop as the community was built out and that sending DN09a’s students to another school would waste buses when the students could be walking.

“Their roads tie into our roads,” parent Chris Jackson said. “There is no way for DN09 to get to Newton Lee without passing through DN09a or going around it completely.”

The most shuffled district in the plans is DN39, which is zoned to three different elementary schools over the course of seven different plans.

In the base plan, the district, inside the Belmont Country Club, is moved to Cedar Lane Elementary School. In plans 1,2,4 and 6 it is kept at Newton Lee and in Plan 3 it is moved to Belmont Station Elementary School.

Kellie Paris, a DN39 parent, asked for the zone not to be removed from Newton Lee.

“To remove us from the school effectively removes us from two communities, our neighborhood community and our school community,” Paris told the School Board. “In my opinion a decision to remove DN39 is totally opposite of what the School Board’s charter is and orphans a neighbor with no sense of belonging anyplace in the LCPS system.”

Still more turned out to argue against the splitting of DN13 into DN13 and DN13a, the latter of which would be zoned out of Belmont Station into Cedar’s Lane.

Tu Le, the owner of Top Kick Martial Arts, said that changing DN’s in Belmont Station Elementary would endanger his business because the school buses students to Top Kick after school.

“I don’t know if we can sit and tell a student that they can’t home to Top Kick anymore because we cannot afford to buy a school bus that will cost about $60,000,” Le said.

The School Board will not review plans again until their regular meting on Nov. 27.


enuf, you asked, “How do you think kids that attend private schools handle not going to school with their neighbors?”

Why didn’t ask whose choice that should be? Perhaps you feel it is perfectly fine for the government to force someone else’s child to change schools. But no one forces a child to attend a private school. If the parents of children in private schools decided that was best for their kids, that was their choice to make, not yours, and not the school board’s.

OpenMic - There is more at stake than keeping neighborhoods together. For instance I am in the Mill Run zone and in danger of being forced out. That school was built for my neighborhood and is the best grade school in Loudoun and some want to force me out in favor of another neighborhood that was built later and was not planned to be at Mill Run. We are fighting for the best resources for our kids.

Beyond that some of the plans make no sense. Busing kids in that live next to another school while kicking kids out of a school in walking distance of them.

The Broadlands and Belmont Country Club should remain while because one it makes sense and two because the schools by them were built for them; move the kids on the communities that came later that those schools were not built for.

I highly doubt OpenMic had/has any kids. As for School board, use common sense, build bigger schools if needed. This one size fits all might sound good, but having to move boundary lines everytime there’s a new school is idiotic.

It always amazes me how parents feel so tied to their elementary schools….it almost makes a taxpayer think we shouldn’t build anymore schools because of all the drama over boundaries.  OpenMic is correct——the kids will adapt.  How do you think kids that attend private schools handle not going to school with their neighbors…just fine has been my observation.

OpenMic, believe that about your kids if you want to, but it’s not your place to tell others about their own children. And, if there’s any intransigence here, I see more of it in your anonymous dismissal of my neighbors, than I do in their efforts to work together to accomplish something.

Parental intransigence creates suffering fools for children. This is elementary Ed for gods sake. Your children are resilient, and will easily suffer the indignities of being ripped asunder from their Play Groups. Make New Friends!

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