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School Board considering 6 boundary plans for Goshen Post

As School Board members have worked with staff and constituents, four new plans in addition to LCPS’s original two have emerged in the Goshen Post Elementary School boundary adjustment process.

One of the challenges facing the board and LCPS staff is the expected opening of ES-29 in fall 2021, which will once again require boundary changes. Proposed plans attempt to minimize the number of students who would be required to move schools a second time once ES-29 opens.

Goshen Post is set to open in fall 2018 and Arcola, Liberty and Pinebrook Elementary Schools will also have three-classroom additions next school year, increasing the capacity at those three schools.

LCPS staff proposed Plan 1 and Plan 2 and now school board members have come up with four additional plans.

Eric Hornberger (Ashburn) developed Plan 3 and said he wanted to provide long term stability in the area and help relieve overcrowding. Plan 3 would have three planning zones move, DS 14.2 into Little River from Cardinal Ridge, DS 17.5 and DS 19 from Liberty to Arcola.

Then, DS 6.6 and 6.7 from Aldie, DS 17.2 and 17.7 from Acola and 7.2, 7.4, 7.5, 7.8 and 10 from Buffalo Trail to Goshen Post. That moves 883 students into the new school. Combined with the students moving between schools would be just over 1,000. This would be fewer students moving than in Plans 1 and 2, Hornberger said.

“One key element of this is that it’s really important, not only as I said, for things to work right now, but to have the fewest possible moves when ES-29 opens and ES-29 will open in the Buffalo Trail attendance zone,” Hornberger said.

This means, students in the Buffalo Trail attendance zone will likely have to move. “I think as most people already realized, it will be impossible to keep kids from moving this time and next,” Hornberger said.

Plan 3 would have no changes to Pinebrook or Hutchison Farm Elementary Schools.

Chairman Jeff Morse (Dulles) developed Plan 4 and had DS 13.8 split into two different planning zones because he felt no single school could handle the entire population of that zone. The larger part becomes DS 13.13, which is part of the South Riding HOA. This planning zone would move to Hutchison Farm from Liberty. The remaining 25 students in the smaller half of DS 13.8 would stay at Liberty.

Morse said his plan differs from Hornberger’s only slightly in regards to the west, in the balancing of Hutchison and Liberty. Hornberger has future overcrowding in Liberty while Morse’s plan has it in Hutchison because should Hutchison get Futura relief, that would give the school an extra classroom. Hutchison could also see an expansion down the road.

On the other hand, Liberty is already being expanded and plans take into account the extra classroom space, but should Liberty need relief from overcrowding again, it would be more difficult to expand it than Hutchison Farm.

He also has DS 6.4, a zone with only three children, set to stay at Aldie. The three students are at Aldie on special permission but Morse’s plan would permanently add them to the Aldie footprint, putting the school at three students over capacity, but Morse said in the out years, the change makes a negligible difference.

The rest of Morse’s plan has the same planning zones being sent to Goshen Post, but also has DS 17.5 pulled out of Liberty to Arcola, to match the rest of the families in that HOA.

“I think that’s a long term solution for them. I think if we go to relieve Arcola in the out years, which is both in Mr. Hornberger’s plan and in my plan, that the zones that would move from Arcola to either Goshen Post or the new elementary school would be taken from the west, and that makes sense,” Morse said.

Plan 5 and 6 were jointly developed by Jill Turgeon (Blue Ridge) and Beth Huck (At Large). Plan 5 is directly from Plan 3 with two changes — DS 6.6 would stay at Aldie instead of going to Goshen Post and DS 7.3 would move to Goshen Post. The numbers are similar, Turgeon said, but it would keep Aldie’s enrollment up to stabilize the community.

DS 7.3 is set to move in this plan because it is from a similar community, 7.4, that has been assigned to move to Goshen Post. Turgeon said in having them move together, it will keep the community together though the students will likely have to move to Goshen for the next school year and also move to ES-29 once it opens.

“We’re trying to keep some sort of continuity,” Turgeon said.

Plan 6 is similar to Plan 5 except it has three more students in Aldie from the same division Morse moved to Aldie. Both plans by Turgeon and Huck would increase the capacity of Aldie but it would eventually balance out, Turgeon said.

Parents can find in which planning district their family resides by going to the LCPS website, selecting the school attendance boundaries link on the left-hand menu bar, select “Current School Year” once redirected and enter address information.

The board had its last work session Nov. 13 and will review all plans at its Nov. 28 meeting.

Virginia Tech is working with the county to collect data and feedback from area residents to help inform the decision. The Discovery Analytics Center at Virginia Tech is looking to gather additional feedback from Loudoun residents through a program on their website: http://redistrict.cs.vt.edu.

There will be one last public hearing Dec. 5 before the board moves to adopt a plan Dec. 12.

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