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School Board to vote on Lucketts expansion

After a year of petitioning the Loudoun School Board to provide relief for overcrowded Lucketts Elementary School, parents and staff have one more opportunity to address the board before it votes on a proposed three-classroom addition.

The School Board is considering the proposal for Lucketts Elementary School and requesting a funds balance transfer from the Board of Supervisors to fund the school expansion and to replace the Lucketts Wastewater Treatment Plant, which serves the elementary school and three nearby county buildings. A funds balance transfer would come from excess funds county’s 2017 budget.

The finance and facilities committee voted unanimously to support the funding request and committee Chairman Jeff Morse (Dulles) and Eric DeKenipp (Catoctin) said they had heard from supervisors and county staff, that the Board of Supervisors is likely to approve the request.

“We had planned several of these--two waves of these additions,” Morse said. “The first wave obviously has been implemented and those schools are reaping the benefits of those starting next year,” he said. “I think what we're trying to do is take advantage of a fund balance with a project the Board of Supervisors, frankly, was interested in.”

Unlike other schools with renovations placed on the Capital Improvement Plan, the Lucketts Elementary School expansion is being considered early because it is a capacity issue.

The school was built in 1972 and is currently over capacity. The requested funds would not be used to fix all of the school's problems, just add the three classrooms, as staff has considered and determined that remedies like boundary adjustments would not fix the capacity problem, DeKenipp said.

Morse said that shifting students to other schools may alleviate overcrowding, but it would not create new classrooms, which Lucketts desperately needs. Lucketts does not have common rooms like art and music rooms or computer labs, which the expansion would address.

“We have the opportunity here to address several issues, one, capacity and, one, full-day kindergarten in an area that doesn't already have it or did have it, doesn't have it now,” Beth Huck (At-Large) said. “We're crossing off needs, goals that we have as a school system.”

The expansion would require $3.1 million from the fund balance. The wastewater treatment plant replacement would require $2.9 million. Though it would make sense to complete both projects at the same time so as to only disturb the school once, DeKenipp said if it came down to choosing only one project, completing the classroom expansion would not require immediate work on the treatment plant.

The School Board will vote on whether to approve the accelerated expansion and request funds from the county to complete the expansion at its Tuesday night meeting.

Comments


Worked long and hard on a budget. Now you see a chance to circumvent the process while busting the school budget behind closed doors, you were caught. Because the BoS overtaxed us does not mean you have to spend it in order to justify next years budget and even though the classrooms are a good use of the money live within your means or get fired. It is not incumbent on the BoS to bail out Williams and the school boards bad planning. How to make Hatrick look good, hire Williams.


I understand that inflation is real with construction costs tending to rise over time but when we (the school board I was part of) built 4 bathroom included classrooms at Seldens Landing it cost about $869k for all four and it was done over the summer. I can’t imagine that 3 classrooms now cost over $1 million EACH! IMHO something doesn’t add up. If LCPS was transparent via a willingness to audit capital decisions such as school locations, land purchase justifications or refusal justifications, renovation justifications and renovation refusal justifications including boundary change justifications I wouldn’t even have to challenge the estimate. 
Bob Ohneiser Esq.

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