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Fairfax School Board OKs continuation of TJ as regional program

© Leesburg Today - 08/29/2015

They probably weren't chewing their nails in nervous anticipation, but school officials from across the region can rest easy -- they will be permitted to send students to Thomas Jefferson High School for Science & Technology for the 2015-16 school year.

Members of the Fairfax County School Board voted earlier this summer to continue  the 30-year policy of allowing students from across Northern Virginia to attend the regional magnet school. The vote was largely pro-forma, as there had been no discussion over the past year in ending a policy that has been in place for three decades.

The vote means that students from Arlington, Loudoun and Prince William counties and the city of Falls Church will be joining with students from Fairfax County when classes resume at Thomas Jefferson on Sept. 8.

The Virginia Department of Education does not require Fairfax County to run Thomas Jefferson as a magnet school -- technically, a Governor's Regional School -- but were Fairfax officials to drop the designation and dump out-of-county students, they stand to lose about $2.7 million in state funding and $4.2 million in tuition payments from participating jurisdictions.

Officials in Arlington and Loudoun counties are considering developing alternatives to sending students to Thomas Jefferson, but have not opted out of the regional effort. Officials in Alexandria do not permit students to attend the school.

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