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School Board members finalize plan for attendance boundaries

With the rezoning of attendance boundaries entering into its final stages, the Loudoun County School Board went to their constituents Nov. 25 to iron out any concerns about the potential boundaries.

The Nov. 25 public hearing – one of the School Board's last – was held at J. Michael Lunsford Middle School to make the School Board more accessible for community members.

With the distance between the two areas, School Board members wanted to allow Dulles South community members who can't get to Ashburn an opportunity for their concerns to be heard.

Board member Jeff Morse (Dulles) and School Board Chairman Eric Hornberger (Ashburn) proposed a new plan Oct. 29 titled School Plan 1 which seems to have jumped to the forefront of the best plans.

Over the last couple weeks, Hornberger and Morse worked together to make small tweaks and changes to the plan to fit the community's concerns.

Their new plan, School Board Plan 2, was announced at the work session portion of the meeting.

“In the current School Board Plan 1 those students in DS13.6a, specifically the Cedar Hunt community, would be moved to Hutchinson Farm and right now we have that school opening next year at 103 percent capacity,” Morse said. “I believe we need to examine taking DS13.5 and placing it back into Buffalo Trail, where it currently has been. This will do two things. It will bring Hutchinson below the 100 percent threshold and it would also enhance Buffalo Trail, which would only be at 54 percent next year.”

Morse went on to add the reason Buffalo Trail's capacity is so low is because both Hornberger and himself believe it will be the fastest growing area over the next six years.

The ultimate goal of the School Board during this process is to accomplish maximum utilization of all Dulles South elementary schools over a six-year period.

According to a justification document for School Board Plan 2 on the LCPS Planning and Legislative Services website, this plan accomplishes the goal.

“Schools range in enrollment from 87 to 103 percent with the following exceptions: Buffalo Trail starts at 59 percent but increases to 85 percent within two years, and Aldie peaks at 109 percent or 12 students above capacity before declining back to 103 percent,” the document states.

By fully utilizing the schools over the six-year period, the School Board can postpone the construction of ES-28 from 2019 to 2020.

Additionally, the plan increases the number of kids walking to school by more than 200 children.

The deadline for proposing a plan ended Nov. 26, so four plans will be considered by the School Board when they adopt the attendance zones Dec. 10.


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