Fairfax County school administrators have made 29 elementary schools in the eastern section of the county candidates for possible closing because of declining enrollments.
The 29 schools on the list released yesterday are divided into four geographic groups, and Ned Orleans, assistant superintendent of planning services, said it wouldn't be "unreasonable" to assume that closing at least one school in each group may be necessary. The list of candidates for closing is expected to be approved by the County School Board next week.
Yesterday's announcement is expected to trigger heated debate among parents who want to save the schools their children attend -- as has been the case in other local school systems where schools have been closed in recent years.
The ultimate decision on which schools will be closed rests with the County School Board, which is expected to act next May on recommendations it will receive from the school superintendent.
Schools identified for closing studies were: Belleview, Bucknell, Fort Hunt, Hollin Hall, Hollin Hills, Hollin Meadows, Stratford Landing and Waynewood in one Alexandria area cluster.
In a second Alexandria area cluster: Cameron, Clermont, Mount Eagle and Wilton Woods.
In an Annandale area cluster: Annandale Terrace, Braddock, Bren Mar Park, Columbia, Edsall Park, North Springfield and Weyanoke.
The fourth cluster is comprised of schools in the vicinity of Falls Church: Beech Tree, Devonshire, Graham Road, Pine Spring, Shrevewood, Timber Lane, Walnut Hill, Westlawn, Masonville and Woodburn.
Orleans pointed out that five Fairfax County schools have been closed in the past, but this year, the community will play a part in the recommendation.