After months of debate and deliberation, the Loudoun County Public School Board voted 7-2 to adopt an amended version of Plan 12 for the new Ashburn and Dulles North secondary school zones.
In an amendment to the original Plan 12, DN-41 is moved from John Champe High School and Mercer Middle School to HS-6 and Stone Hill Middle School. Additionally, DNs 42 and 37, which were sent to Stone Hill for middle school but Briar Woods for high school, were returned to Eagle Ridge. Bill Fox (Leesburg) proposed the amendment.
“Although not everyone got their first choice schools, everyone at least got their first or second choice school, except DN41,” Fox said. “This has corrected that.”
Jeff Morse (Dulles) and Kevin Kuesters (Broad Run) designed Plan 12, which keeps the Broadlands at Briar Woods and a small part of Brambleton at Briar Woods. Under Plan 12, the majority of Brambleton moves to HS-6.
“Brambleton is going to be the largest HOA in Loudoun. It is never going to fit in one high school as long as it grows,” Morse said. “We have built out communities in the east that have moved and moved and moved. They now have the ability to achieve stability.”
Thomas Reed (At large) and Jill Turgeon opposed the plan, with both advocating for Turgeon's proposed Plan 11.
“I'd love for someone to show me another community that is split into three high schools,” Turgeon said. “If Plan 11 doesn't pass, Brambleton will become the most divided community in the county.”
Though there were five plans eligible to be voted on, only Plans 11 and 12 were motioned to vote.
Though Brenda Sheridan co-sponsored Plan 11 and seconded Turgeon's motion to bring it to vote, she ultimately voted for Plan 12.
“I'm going to support Plan 12 as its modified because I think it's partly in the right direction,” Sheridan said. As Sheridan finished speaking, nearly two-thirds of the Brambleton advocates, clad in orange, walked out of the meeting.
Plan 11 advocates, who argued that Briar Woods was on proffered Brambleton land and should be accessible to Brambleton residents, were visibly upset following the vote, with some indicating they plan on fighting the decision.
“My initial reaction is they took nine communities and sacrificed one so that they could fulfill the needs of every other community,” said parent and Brambleton resident Richard Kelsey. “In doing so, they violated the law, they violated the proffers and I think we're going to get it undone.”
Other families, especially those in the Broadlands, were more pleased.
“I really feel it was the best plan for the most of Ashburn,” Broadlands resident Catherine Larco said. “Ashburn Village, Ashburn Farm and Broadlands are built out. Once we're set somewhere, hopefully everyone can stay.”
The board did not decide whether or not certain students will be grandfathered, allowing them to stay at their original schools, when the two new high schools and one middle school open.
HS-6 is slated to open fall of 2014 in Loudoun Valley Estates, HS-8 is scheduled to open fall 2015 in Lansdowne and Trailside Middle School is scheduled to open fall of 2014 next to Newton-Lee Elementary School in Ashburn.