Fairfax school officials are considering changes in school attendance boundaries which, if approved, will affect nearly 2,400 Fairfax students attending 15 county schools. The changes would be effective next fall.
Most of the proposed changes would affect schools in the Reston and McLean areas.
The school board is expected to approve new school boundaries March 23. In the meantime, the board and school personnel will hold a series of meetings with residents affected by the proposed changes. In the past, boundary changes recommended by school staff have been approved by the school board with few variations, a school spokesman said.
The boundary changes, an annual occurrence, are being made to relieve crowded conditions in some schools and bring enrollments in other schools closer to capacity, school officials said. In other cases, boundaries are being moved to shift students into new schools scheduled to open in September.
"Every year we take a look at the school population and the outlook for the following year," said school spokesman George Hamel. "The boundaries are adjusted according to the enrollments, to keep a school from overcrowding or closing or to fill a new school."
Hamel said boundary changes proposed for the next school year are fewer than he has seen in the past, except for the Reston area. There, the proposed changes are far more extensive than elsewhere in the county because of the construction of two new schools.
Fairfax County schools are divided into four geographic administrative areas, each with a superintendent who reports directly to Superintendent S. John Davis. Reston is in Area III, which stretches across the northern portion of the county, bordering Arlington County on the east and Loudoun County on the west. The area, spanning 112 square miles, is characterized by rapid growth in the west, which includes the Reston, Herndon and Great Falls areas, and stable school populations in the east, which includes the McLean and Langley areas.
About 2,000 students would be transferred in this area. The largest single shift would involve 512 students at Terraset Elementary, who would be moved to the new Reston 6 Elementary School to be off Cross School Road. Terraset now has 100 more pupils that its capacity, school figures show.
Another large shift would involve moving 451 students at Herndon Intermediate to the new South Lakes High School scheduled to open in Reston in September. A total of 1,485 students would be moved from four schools into South Lakes, which will open with only seventh, eighth, ninth and 10th grades. South Lakes would draw 422 students from Herndon High School, 327 from Lanier Intermediate School and 285 from as far away as Oakton High School in Vienna. Some students from Reston have had to attend Oakton High School because of lack of space at Herndon High School, the high school closest to Reston.
In the McLean area, 71 eighth graders from the Chesterbrook Elementary School area north of Old Dominion Drive would attend McLean High School in September, rather than Langley High School which they are scheduled to attend now, if proposed boundary changes are approved. This change in attendance area also would affect 40 current sixth graders in the Chesterbrook school area now scheduled to attend Cooper Intermediate School. These students would attend Longfellow Intermediate.
These changes are being made to relieve crowding at Langley High School, with expects more students from nearby home construction, and [WORD ILLEGIBLE] available space at McLean High School, according to Wayne Chester, an administrator for Area III schools.
"We are expecting a lot of growth in the Great Falls area near Langley," Chester said. "While at the same time growth has stablized around McLean High, where there is easily enough room for more students."
At the opposite end of the county, in the southeastern portion encompassing the Groveton and Mt. Vernon areas, 177 students at Hybla Valley Elementary School would be transferred to Fort Hunt Elementary School. This change also is being made to relieve crowding at Hybla Valley, according to Dr. Heerman A. Howard, superintendent of Area I schools.
The boundary change resulting in this transfer also would affect 20 current sixth graders scheduled to attend Whitman Intermediate School and 23 current eight graders scheduled to attend Mount Vernon High. The Whitman students would attend Foster Intermediate School next year and the Mount Vernon Students would attend Fort Hung High School.
Other boundary changes, include readjusting attendance areas for Glen Forest and parkiawn elementary schools in the eastern section of the county near Arlington County to accommodate students expected to come from townhouses under construction. No students currently attending these schools would be affected by the change.
No boundary changes are being proposed for next year in the fast growing southern portion of the county.
The changes in boundaries were kept to a minimum this year, partly to await recommendations from a countywide task force on criteria the school board should use to determine schools to close in the future.
Several meetings have been scheduled among members of the school board, school staff and affected communities. Each area headquarters has a schedule of the meetings, which will seek public comment on the proposed changes. Another public hearing on the proposed changes will be held prior to the March 9 school board meeting.
The following is a list of Fairfax County Schools involved in school boundary changes being proposed for next fall: Area I
Hybla Valley Elementary: Lose 177 students to Fort Hunt Elementary (125 from Woodlawn Village Apts. and 52 from Colchester Towne Condominiums).
Fort Hunt Elementary: Receive 177 students from Hybla Valley Elementary.
Whitman Intermediate: Lose 29 students to Foster Intermediate (seventh graders from Hybla Valley Elementary who live in Woodlawn Village and Colchester Towne).
Foster Intermediate: Receive 29 students from Whitman Intermediate.
Mount Vernon High School: Lose 23 students to Fort Hunt High School (current eighth graders from Hybla Valley Elementary who live in Woodlawn Village and Colchester Towne).
Fort Hung High School: Receive 23 students from Mount Vernon High School. Area II
Giles Forest Elementary: Five students expected from townhouses under [WORD ILLEGIBLE] nearby would go to Parklawn Elementary.
Parklawn Elementary: Receive five students from Glen Forest Elementary. Area III
Terraset Elementary: Lost 512 students to Reston 6 Elementary (Chestnut Grove Apts., Island Walk Apts., Weatherfield, Hampton Meadows, Boston Ridge, Winterport, Sunrise Valley, Hawk Ridge, Lawyer Road area and Hunter Station Road area).
Reston 6 Elementary: Receive 512 students from Terraset Elementary.
Franklin Sherman Elementary: Lose one student to Chesterbrook Elementary (1300-1358 Kirby Road, both sides of the road).
Haycock Elementary: Lose one student to Chesterbrook Elementary (N. Nottingham St. and Virginia Ave. area).
Chesterbrook Elementary: Receive two students from Franklin Sherman and Haycock elementary schools.
Navy Elementary: Lose three students to Floris Elementary (from the Vale Valley Farms area) and 63 students to Flint Hill Elementary (80 from Stuart Mill Road area, and 13 from the 2900 to 026 block of Fox Mill Road and Paradise Lane. Another 20 students are expected from new growth.
Floris Elementary: Receive three students from Navy Elementary.
Flint Hill Elementary: Receive 63 students from Navy Elementary.
Herndon Intermediate: Lose 451 seventh and eighth graders to South Lakes Intermediate (194 students from the Dogwood area and 257 from the Hunters Woods area).
Lanier Intermediate: Lose 327 seventh and eighth graders to South Lakes (37 students from Hunters Woods area and 290 from the Terraset area).
South Lake Intermediate: Receive 451 students from Herndon Intermediate and 327 students from Lanier Intermediate.
Cooper Intermediate: Lose 40 current sixth graders to Longfellow Intermediate (students from the Chesterbrook Elementary School area north of Old Dominion Drive and the Franklin Sherman Elementary School area along both sides of Kirby Road).
Longfellow Intermediate: Receive 40 current 6th graders from Cooper Intermediate.
Herndon High School: Lose 422 ninth and 10 graders to South Lakes High School (178 students from the Dogwood area and 244 students from the Hunters Woods area).
Oakton High School: Lose 285 ninth and 10th graders to South Lakes High School (39 students from the Hunters Woods Elementary Schools area and 246 from the Terraset Elementary School area).
South Lakes High School: Receive 422 ninth and 10th graders from Herndon High School and 265 ninth and 10th graders from Oakton High School.
Langley High School: Loss 71 eighth fraders scheduled to attend Langley in September to McLean High School (students from the Chesterbrook Elementary school area north of Old Dominion Drive; future high students from the Franklin Sherman Elementary School area along both sides of Kirby Road would also be redistricted to McLean High.)
McLean High School: Receive 71 eighth gradepreviously scheduled to attend Langley High School.